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The Daily Vertical: Putin Revives The Brezhnev Doctrine (Transcript)

  • Brian Whitmore

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

Well, don't look now, but Vladimir Putin is channeling Leonid Brezhnev again.

And yeah, yeah, I know. It's already getting cliche and old hat to note the ways that the current occupant of the Kremlin is becoming increasingly similar to the long-ruling Soviet leader.

Brezhnev ruled for 18 years, and next year Putin will pass that milestone.

Brezhnev's economy, like Putin's, was fueled by high oil prices -- and it stagnated when energy prices dropped.

Brezhnev presided over a system in which corruption was endemic and an integral part of politics. Sound familiar?

And now Putin has formally revived the Brezhnev Doctrine, one of the cornerstones of late-Soviet foreign policy.

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The Brezhnev Doctrine came into effect following the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and effectively said that Moscow would intervene militarily in any Warsaw Pact country in which the Soviet puppet regime was threatened.

And this week, Putin said Russia would act to prevent so-called colored revolutions in the countries of the Moscow-led Collective Security Treaty Organization.

The message was unmistakable: any instability or public unrest in Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan would invite Russian intervention.

And given that Russia has already invaded Georgia and Ukraine, and continues to destabilize those two counties, the threat clearly extends to Russia's non-CSTO neighbors as well.

For Brezhnev, Moscow's allies in the Warsaw Pact were not really sovereign countries.

Putin has long had the exact same attitude toward the former Soviet Union.

And now that attitude has been enshrined in official policy. It is now part of the Putin Doctrine.

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