Ukraine is a key country in global geopolitics today and for the future of democracy around the world, according to Francis Fukuyama, professor at Stanford University.

He said this in his video address at the opening of the Special Kyiv Security Forum “Immunity of Eastern Europe: Vaccine of Freedom Against Virus of Oppression.”

“Ukraine is a key country in the global geopolitics today and for the future of democracy around the world. If Ukraine does not succeed in building democratic institutions and in dealing with corruption, then a few other countries in the region will be able to succeed either. On the other hand, Ukraine can become an inspiration and a beacon for other people who want to live in free and democratic societies, like so many do in Belarus today,” Fukuyama said.

According to him, today democracies face several challenges, the first of which is strengthening the positions of authoritarian states, including Russia and China.

“Russia has intervened in the affairs of its neighbors and in the politics of democratic countries, including the United States. It has developed a number of new tools for destabilizing democracies worldwide, like the weaponization of the Internet and a new form of hybrid warfare that has allowed it to send military forces into other countries, and yet denied it is doing so,” the world-famous political scientist and philosopher said.

According to him, Russian President Vladimir Putin does not have a strong foundation on which to build a great power status. Russia’s economy has failed to modernize and it is too heavily dependent on fossil fuels and high energy prices to be viable, he said.

“Putin has taken a weak hand and converted it into political influence by taking enormous risks. He’s invaded Georgian and Ukraine and sent forces as far afield as Venezuela. This high level of risk-taking has made Russia an arbiter of the outcomes in certain regions but it has also come at a high price in terms of international isolation and sanctions by Western countries,” Fukuyama said.

Despite Russia’s actions, the political scientist believes that China poses a greater threat in the global perspective.

“China is a larger long-term threat to global democracy than Russia, though it is a lesser immediate danger to Ukraine. China’s economy is larger and much more dynamic than Russia’s. China’s firms are taking the lead in developing 21st-century technologies, like artificial intelligence and machine learning. The Chinese have powerful tools for expanding their influence, including the ability to build infrastructure under the Belt and Road Initiative. As their power has grown, their ambitions have expanded,” Fukuyama said.