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FSI's Mike McFaul on the 'judo master' in the Kremlin

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Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on May 24, 2014.
Photo credit: 
Reuters

In this week's Politico, David Remnick has written a lengthy piece about former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul's rocky tenure in Moscow, as Vladir Putin came back into power as president and U.S.-Russia relations began to deteriorate.

Michael A. McFaul, a FSI senior fellow and CISAC affiliated faculty member, writes in this Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law that while the U.S. and Europe maintain pressure on Putin through sanctions, the West also needs to get serious about strengthening Ukraine.

"So far, Ukrainians have done more to thwart Mr. Putin than any action by outside powers," says McFaul. "The West can likewise do more to help the Kiev government win hearts and minds in eastern Ukraine."

And in a Politico magazine piece by McFaul earlier this week, he argues that Putin today sees a path to glory that does not involve democratic governance and ignores international norms.

"Putin dreams of comparisons with Peter the Great or the Catherine the Great," writes McFaul, who was ambassador in Moscow from January 2012 until this February, when he returned to Stanford as a political science professor at FSI's New Yorker.

"But if we judge him by his ability to achieve even his own stated goals, his record is not so great. He has achieved some objectives aimed at restoring Russia to the position of global greatness he believes it deserves, but failed at achieving those most important to him. And the future looks even darker."