03/20/2014 04:36 pm ET Updated Dec 02, 2014

The Russian Godfather: A View from Poland

DMITRY ASTAKHOV via Getty Images

From Project Syndicate

Adam Michnik was one of the leaders of Solidarity and the founding editor of Gazeta Wyborcza.

WARSAW -- In invading, occupying and finally annexing Crimea, Vladimir Putin pointed Russia's guns at Ukraine and said: your territorial sovereignty or your life. So far, extortion has worked -- and Putin knows it. Indeed, in his speech announcing the annexation of Crimea, Putin spoke his mind: his regime fears no punishment and will do whatever it pleases. Crimea is just the first step toward realizing his dream of revived Russian greatness.

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