Russia faces a watershed decision. The vital question for Russia is whether it will become a quasi-democratic oligarchy with corporatist, criminal characteristics or take the more difficult, painful road to becoming a normal, Western-style democracy with a market economy. Communism is no longer an option. That was settled in the 1996 presidential election.
The solution to the Ukrainian crisis lies in providing international guarantees for both Ukraine’s neutral status and the protection of its Russian-speaking population. The alternative would be far, far worse: Ukraine could well break apart, drawing Russia and the West into another prolonged confrontation.