Putin’s priorities put the Russian people at risk

Spoiler: Recently released data from The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (www.sipri.org), shows that Russia continues to prioritise the military. Russian military expenditures as shares in GDP and total government expenditure exceed most countries’.

Spending so much of a country’s resources on the military would be justifiable if the country faces a threat from other countries. But there is no threat. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, military expenditures in Western Europe decreased significantly and USA withdrew many of its troops, weapons and military equipment from Europe.

But for a president who considers the collapse of the Soviet Union to be a larger geopolitical disaster than the WWII, which cost the lives of at least 20 million Soviet citizens, a strong military is useful for invading one’s neighbouring countries and restore the evil empire.

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The corona virus and democracy

Spoiler: The number of democracies has fallen during the last decade. For the first time since 2002, there are now more autocracies than democracies in the world. The EU now has its first autocracy, Hungary.

The Polish government is following close in the path to autocracy. The governments in Hungary and Poland have systematically attacked the media’s and judiciary’s independence the last years. Without an independent media and judiciary, the regimes’ next step on the road to autocracy is to manipulate the elections.

The corona virus has made it necessary to implement measures restricting the freedom om movement and assembly. While these are justifiable measures which will be revoked in most countries, the Hungarian government wants to use the state of emergency powers in ways that violate civil rights also after the Corona crisis is over.

These developments are deeply worrying. Russia under Putin provides a horrifying example of how autocratic leaders abuse their powers at the expense of human rights.

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