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the hated West is intolerable for Putin. He’s explained at great length why he believes Ukraine has no legitimacy as an independent nation, and his model of a neo-tsarism where elections are fake and opposition leaders die in Arctic prisons would be threatened by a Ukraine that successfully embraced a version of the Western model.

Give Putin this — at least he’s defending what he considers his civilizational birthright of despotism and illiberalism. Any true friend of our own should be appalled.

Rich Lowry is editor of the National Review.

Synd., Inc.

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