The Atlantic: Democracy’s Front Line

The Daily
Ukraine is battling Russia as its forces close in on Kyiv. Anne Applebaum looks to Ukraine’s turbulent past for insights into the future of global democracy, and our other writers weigh in on the potential for nuclear confrontation and more.
A religious woman holds a cross as she prays on Independence Square in Kyiv.(Daniel Leal / AFP / Getty)

At least 40 Ukrainian soldiers have reportedly been killed in the Russian invasion now under way, and President Joe Biden has announced new sanctions to punish Russia for its aggression. As conversations continue about what America could have done to prevent this and whether Russia can effectively occupy Ukraine, our staff writer Anne Applebaum takes a wider lens, and asks: What does this latest upheaval in the country mean for democracy around the world?

A central part of Ukraine’s identity, Anne writes, is its longstanding determination to join the ranks of other democracies. This makes Ukraine a genuine threat to Vladimir Putin’s power. “If Ukraine were to succeed” in its push for democracy and integration with Europe, she explains, “then Russians might ask: Why not us?”

“The clash that is coming will matter to all of us, in ways that we can’t yet fathom,” Anne continues. “In the centuries-long struggle between autocracy and democracy, between dictatorship and freedom, Ukraine is now the front line—and our front line too.”

Anne Applebaum

(Read the article in full.)

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