In his comment, Whitmore said it´s importante to remember that at the moment British choose to get out of the European Union until recently Ukranians struggled in Euromaidan for their integration to the continent. He highlighted maybe it has been the firts time in History that people gave their lives for an "idea of Europe", a reference to more than one hundred dead in the protests in 2014, and that they continue to die for the same ideia in the battles in Donbass. At the same time British are voting to get out of the EU, "Ukranians are dying, quite litteraly, to get in". The jornalists highlighted that even with the fear of a block colapse by it´s leaders beacuse of Brexit, the "idea of Europe is something people are still willing to give their lives for".
For Whitmore European Union forms the "idea of Europe". The bloc is the picture to which many people around their eyes, like in Eastern European nations and, particularly, in Ukraine (or at least in part of the country) hoping to be part of what they call "Europe".
The important point in the Whitmore´s comment is the meaning of these events for Vladimir Putin. He said that for his regime the Ukranians actions are "deeply disturbing" and 'deeply threatining", not the acts themselves, but for what they claim. The models of transparent governance and consensual integration are seen by Russian president as threat to his "autocratic expansionist cleptocracy". For the journalist Brexit is a "victory for Vladimir Putin and a kind of politics he represents". Anything that divides Europe would be cheered by his government, said Whitmore, and concluded that with Brexit "the British just gave to the Kremlin leader a big reasoned smile".
The defense that journalist makes for European Union isn´t only a defense for democratic societies of the West, but also for resistence that bloc is for Putin´s Russia. An united Europe under a strong European Union would be the best defense and, consequently, the best fight against Kremlin´s estrategy. The logic is that the more democratic is the continent, most outsiders would be willing to fight for the "idea of Europe" threatening the contrary claims of Russia. This is what part of Ukranians would be doing.
The question I do is: if an united, transparent and democratic Europe is a threath to the Putin´s strategy, then why the same Europe cannott prevent, as so often commented on this blog, the Russian penetration? I agree with Whitmore there was no Russian interference in Brexit, althoug a Moscow ingerence would be possible (during the referendum for Scotland´s independence in 2014 here was a suspicion that Russians observers tried to discredit electoral process). But the most importante point is the emergence of new "brexits" by Kremlin´s allies. The countries exit from European Union isn´t necessarily a bad thing given the sucessives economic crises, hard crisis in Greece (that brought Putin´s allies to power) and the bloc difficulty for reaching a consensus on what to do with two millions refugees from Middle East an Northern Africa, but it will be bad if exit is headed by leaders and pro-Russia movements like Marine Le Pen´s Front National.
Immediately the exit of the British people decrease the European Union´s pressure on Russia´s actions, especially on the country´s involvement in crisis in Ukraine. United Kingdom was one of the main supporters of the economic sanctions imposed by the bloc against Moscow.
I think the main point isn´t the existence of a democratic and transparent Europe, but the values that underpin this same system and that system can´t create. I speak in general on culture, tradition and national sentiment. That´s precisaly the Vladimir Putin´s fight, who in recent years have sought to define a new Russian national identity and insert it into a civilizational struggle. That´s what do Eurasian Movement in acting behind the scenes of Kremlin and fomenting allies in Europe and Asia. It´s goal is to reshape global geopolitics. So declares Alexander Dugin: "An example [of world order] can be found in the Eurasian Project (aka 'multipolar', aka 'great spaces') proposing the alternative model of World Order based on the principle of civilizations and great spaces", cinting including European Union as an formal example of this idea.
Putin has preference for democracy provided for his purposes. His values are other. Brexit is an example of how democratic system can be used based on values that, in essence, will define Europe´s future. Democracy isn´t a strenght in itsfel. It depends on what they do whit it.
* published in Portuguese on June 25th 2016.
** because of my unperfect English, words may not be exactly what Whitmore said in his podcast.