Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine advances a global anti-democratic trend — one that has seen strongmen, some elected, nudge their nations toward dictatorship and ignore once-solid democratic norms.
In doing so, they are collectively pounding at the door of democracy’s always-delicate house. "A watershed moment for the future of global democracy” is what one Russian expert calls the invasion.
So why does Putin bother to invoke democratic principles even as he circumvents them? Experts say this is designed to give him cover as a democratic leader at home while allowing him to do pretty much what he wants elsewhere.
It's a trend playing out all over the world in the early decades of the 21st century.