See More Hear More Watch More Hear More Get on iTunes
Fresh Air freshair

Crimea's Annexation

According to political scientist Kimberly Marten, Russia's decision to annex Crimea from Ukraine may have changed its relationship with the outside world for many years to come. Marten writes, "The leader of a state that wields a massive strategic nuclear arsenal, controls a significant portion of the world's petroleum and other raw materials, and holds a veto in the U.N. Security Council, has just revealed his willingness to use force on behalf of ethnic nationalism. This was the nightmare that Western policymakers hoped to avoid when the Soviet Union collapsed." Marten is a professor of political science at Barnard College, the deputy director for development at Columbia University's Harriman Institute for Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies, and a faculty member at Columbia's Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies. She joins Fresh Air's Terry Gross to discuss Russian President Vladimir Putin's long-term goals and the history of Russian-Ukrainian relations. Interview Highlights On who Putin sees as his constituency Putin is primarily focused on his domestic audience, not the international audience. He's made it very clear that he doesn't care what the world thinks of him, and he actually takes it as a badge of honor if people think that he's not a nice man. But, domestically, he is very concerned about keeping power, not even so much for the vast majority of the Russian population, because that's not who he cares about the most. He cares about the small group of elites that are in various circles of power in the Kremlin and immediately surrounding the Kremlin. And by his recent actions, he has shown that he no longer cares about the economic internationalists among the elites — the people who were pushing for Russia to join the World Trade Organization, the people who recognize that Russia's economy is in stagnation and that the only way to get it out of stagnation is to diversify beyond its petroleum dependence and to really become a player in the international economy. Putin has chosen, instead, to throw in his lot with ethnic nationalists, who are associated both with conservative elements in the Russian Orthodox Church and with the former KGB. #FullPodcastAvailable #Podcasts


More from