“Ukraine is doing something no one thought possible: defeating the Russian army and, in doing so, crippling one of America’s most dangerous adversaries. This is primarily a credit to the fortitude, patriotism, and skill of the Ukrainian people. But it’s also something Americans can take pride in — and not just because of our decisive role supplying weaponry and training.

“For decades, Washington has invested in supporting the institutions that enabled Ukraine to take a different path than Russia, a path toward democracy and independence and away from autocracy and subservience, and to tackle corruption to serve citizens instead of fostering kleptocracy to steal from them. As President Volodymyr Zelenskyy put it in his historic address to a joint meeting of Congress, U.S. support for Ukraine “… is not charity, it’s investment in global security and democracy.”

“When Ukraine set about forging its democracy after breaking free from the Soviet empire in 1991, it faced an uphill battle. Nearly 70 years under communism had left Ukraine with weak institutions ill-equipped to manage the transition to the free market. Ukrainians were unfamiliar with democratic processes and norms. As in other former Soviet republics, the mismanaged privatization of state-owned enterprises created an oligarch class that left Ukraine’s government vulnerable to corruption and manipulation by the Kremlin. …”

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