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The Daily Vertical: We're All Russia's Neighbors Now (Transcript)

  • Brian Whitmore

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

So we're all finally learning what life is like for Russia's neighbors.

A decade ago, Estonia learned all about what it felt like to be the target of a Russian cyberattack.

And now Germany, France, and the United States know all about this as well.

Back in 2004, Ukrainians found out the lengths Moscow would go to influence an election.

Now the Americans know this as well. And the Germans, the Dutch, the French, and the Italians are probably about to find out.

For decades, the Baltic states, Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova have lived with an onslaught of disinformation, fake news, and active measures aimed at destabilizing their societies.

And now the West is getting a taste of this bitter medicine as well.

And the lesson we should learn from this is pretty simple: Russia's neighbors are not just far away countries of which we know little.

They're not pawns that can be sacrificed in a geopolitical chess match or bargaining chips to be traded away in some grand bargain to achieve peace in our time.

On the contrary, their security and the West's security are intimately linked.

It the past few years has taught us anything it is that a threat to Russia's neighbors is a harbinger of a threat to the West.

And in this sense, we are all Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Georgians, and Moldovans.

We are all part of Russia's so-called "near abroad."

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