- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 21, 2014

It is time to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ex-KGB regime over Mr. Putin’s audacious actions in Ukraine and the former Soviet republics (“Forsaking friends in Ukraine,” Commentary, Dec. 24). Mr. Putin is employing ruthless KGB tactics and neo-Leninist strategies in his struggle to restore the Russian empire and the Soviet Union.

Many Ukrainians still remember Stalin’s terror and the genocidal famine which, according to former Ukrainain President Viktor Yushchenko, resulted in 10 million deaths caused by the elimination of private farms and property by the Kremlin, ruthlessly enforced by Bolshevik thugs.

Since November 2013, the anti-government protests and scenes from the Ukrainian capital have been spectacular. Spontaneous resistance to Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych’s acceptance of Mr. Putin’s bribes, promised money and power resulted in Lenin’s statue being toppled, thousands of protest signs, blue and yellow flags flying and speeches and meetings followed by police raids on media outlets and opposition parties. By and large, the influence of the European Union and America has prevented the execution of the arrested demonstrators.

The best way for America to help Ukraine, along with Georgia and Moldova, is to take a much tougher stance with Russia. The European Union should freeze Russia’s request for visa-free travel for holders of official passports, and the United States and European Union should also put on hold Russia’s application to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Paris-based good-governance club. The European Union should intensify its scrutiny of Gazprom’s behavior in the European gas market and pursue a pending anti-trust complaint prosecution against the Russian-state-owned giant with increased effort.

Sens. John McCain, Arizona Republican, and Christopher Murphy, Connecticut Democrat, recently returned from Kiev and commented on the crisis situation. A more democratic and free-market Russia can do much more for its people than Mr. Putin’s war economy and politics. President Obama and the White House should help the European Union aid Ukraine to avoid Russian captive-nation status.

LT. COL. DOMINIK GEORGE NARGELE

U.S. Marines (Retired)

Arlington