Kazocins: Putin is afraid of Ukraine scenario playing out in Russia
''Putin sees what is happening in Ukraine as a threat to himself. If this can happen in Ukraine, it can also happen in Russia, thus Putin must thwart the success of the Ukrainian opposition at all costs,'' Kazocins believes.
According to Kazocins, the Western reaction to the events taking place in Ukraine shows that it does not really understand how important Ukraine is to Russia. He said that the Crimea is one of the birthplaces of Russia itself, and there is a reason why Putin says that Ukrainians and Russians are the same people, but just in different countries. Kazocins also believes the West has not taken account how much the events in Kiev's Independence Square was a personal insult to Putin, as the triumph of the demonstrators in Kiev overshadowed the Sochi Olympics.
The former head of the Constitutional Protection Bureau believes that Putin's main goal is to create of Eurasian union, which is not possible without Ukraine. Even a Ukraine that has been split apart is not in Russia's interests, as western Ukraine will most certainly not become a part of such a union, and would be openly hostile towards Russia and could become NATO member, meaning that the military alliance would move closer to Russian borders.
''The situation is very complicated at the moment, as Russia's ambitions means that it does not really have any way back. Furthermore, the West should do everything it can to prevent an military conflict, as it is always easier to start a war than it is to stop one,'' he added.
Asked how safe Latvian can feel in the current situation, Kazocins emphasized that Latvia's membership of many international organizations put it in a completely different situation than Ukraine and Georgia. Speaking about defense capabilities, Kazocins said that in 1938, Latvia's spent 25 percent of its budget on defense, but this still was not enough to counter Russia. ''We must continue to strengthen ties with Western partners, as well as finally increase defense spending to two percent of GDP, so that we demonstrate to our NATO partners that we care about our security,'' he said.