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The Daily Vertical: Brexit Makes Putin Smile (Transcript)

  • Brian Whitmore

It is worth recalling today that it wasn't that long ago when tens of thousands of Ukrainians gathered on the Maidan waving the flag of the European Union.

And it is worth recalling that it wasn't that long ago when hundreds of those Ukrainians died on the Maidan for the ideals represented by that flag, becoming perhaps the first people in history to give their lives for the idea of Europe.

And it's worth remembering that they are still fighting and dying for that idea on the battlefields of the Donbas.

With the British voting to get out of the EU, the Ukrainians are dying -- quite literally -- to get in.

As the result of the Brexit referendum deals the European Union what many fear could be a death blow, it is worth remembering that the idea of Europe is something people are still willing to give their lives for.

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And it is worth noting that Vladimir Putin's regime finds this deeply disturbing and deeply threatening.

Now only the most wild conspiracy theorist would see the hand of Moscow in the Brexit vote. This was a British affair driven by British political dynamics.

But you would also have to be delusional not to see the Kremlin cheering and egging it on.

And you would have to be delusional not to see the result as a victory for Vladimir Putin and the kind of politics he represents.

The Kremlin sees a united Europe, one that offers an transparent form of governance and a consensual model of integration, as a threat to its autocratic and expansionist kleptocracy.

And therefore anything that divides Europe is going to be cheered in Putin's Moscow.

And the British just gave the Kremlin leader a big reason to smile.

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