Putin at the Russia Grand Prix: The holding of the Formula One

in Sochi marked eight months since Ukraine's Euromaiden protests

began in Kiev, and President Viktor Yanukovych was toppled.



Eight Months of War: Gains and Losses in 'Ukraine Campaign' (Gazeta, Russia)


"What has Russia gained? Russia, apparently, has gained Crimea. Although formally it will be a very long time before the legitimacy of the annexation is recognized by the world, morally at least - the peninsula is registered as Russia's. The overall economic losses from Russia's rejection of the coup d'etat in Ukraine are significant. Political victory is not yet apparent, although, as we know, in politics, in contrast with the economy, one plays 'the long game.'"




Translated By Egija Mierkalne


October 24, 2014


Gazeta - Russia - Original Article (Russian)

The withdrawal of Russian forces from the Ukrainian border shows, if not the end of campaign, then at least a pause in a hot conflict. This period from Sochi to Sochi (from the Olympics to Formula One) will certainly go down in history: in the first eight months, Russia has radically altered its position in world politics, its relations with brotherly Ukraine and its social contract in the country.


On Oct. 12, Vladimir Putin instructed the minister of defense [Sergey Shoygu] to recall the troops from Ukraine's border, and [Ukraine president] Petro Poroshenko announced a full ceasefire in Donbass three days later.


If this isn't the end of the war, then it is at least a demonstration of peaceful intentions and a transition of both sides toward negotiations. decision to pull back Russian troops was announced while Vladimir Putin was in Sochi to open the first Russian Gran-Prix, the "Formula One." Just eight months ago in the same place and with a far larger grouping of foreign delegations and fans, Vladimir Putin observed the Winter Olympics. Olympians were welcomed from stands by the now fugitive former president of Ukraine - Viktor Yanukovych.


A week later, under circumstances still being investigated, the bloodiest clashes of "Euromaidan" took place and 82 people were shot. After another night, Yanukovych would sign an agreement to settle the political crisis and disappeared, after appearing in public for a series of short speeches from Rostov.


Since then, the speed of events have contributed to a sense that rather than a few months, an entire epoch has passed: the annexation of Crimea, the referendum in the southeast, President Poroshenko, the Malaysian Boeing [MH17], the Minsk Protocol [the agreement signed in Sept. 5 to halt the war in Dunbass, southeast Ukraine].


Eight months after the last public appearance by Viktor Yanukovych - who even in Russia is no longer called the only legitimate president of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin was meeting sportsman in Sochi alone.


If, indeed, Russian leaders have concluded that - if not time to check out, then at least to take a break in the confrontation of the last eight months - it is now possible to sum up the interim results.


What has Russia gained? Russia, apparently, has gained Crimea. Although formally it will be a very long time before the legitimacy of the annexation is recognized by the world, morally at least - the peninsula is registered as Russia's.


In addition to Crimea and part of Donbass - without access to the port in Maripul as was apparently planned - partial recognition of the influence of pro-Russia groups in Ukraine has taken place. The borders of Donetsk and Lugansk [New Russia] now mark a line of demarcation for separate entities within the country, with the right to seriously impact the internal and external policy decisions of Ukrainian authorities. Negotiations on just how serious this influence will be remain to be held, but in any case, the very existence of the enclave complicates any Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine.



A separate question is: who will feed this Abkhazia-like enclave? Economic independence from Ukraine might fill the enclave with joy, but Russia isn't eager to take on such a burden in its budget. The answer to this question should be made during regular discussions between Putin and Poroshenko.


Russia has had to absorb serious Western sanctions that have already negatively affected its economy. For political reasons, the Russian leadership is unlikely to bend to see an easing of sanctions, but neither does it have a desire to see tougher sanctions.


Russia has suffered human losses that hardly anyone would attempt to quantify. Human rights advocates cite figures of up to 4,000 dead - not volunteers [pro-Russia rebels] and not military.


Russia has received a million Ukrainian refugees who will be unable to return for some time to come after military operations destroyed their homes, but on the eve of winter they should all be settled and employed.


In its relations with Ukraine, on the one hand, Russia's project to have Ukraine join the [Eurasian] Customs Union is at an end, and on the other, it has a strong negotiating position on gas supplies. Elections to Parliament will have to demonstrate the capacity of those responsible to make real Russian "soft power" in relations with Ukraine.


In its relations with its own citizens, the government has received massive support for the "Russian national idea" and the concept of a "Russian World" from the population.


The social contract "sausage in exchange for freedom" can be considered terminated: the trend now is not sausage, not freedom - but national identity.



However, depending on the precision of further action, this support may just as well result in discontent with "betrayal," "negotiations with the [Kiev] junta," the sinking of "New Russia," and the long imperial delusion. However, until the battery of discontent goes dead, the military-minded will successfully raise the issue of a mysterious "fifth column."


In relations with the West and this new twist in the "Cold War," the U-turn in East means setting a course toward self-sufficiency and ensuring our own security in the face of the global crisis.


The overall economic losses from Russia's rejection of the coup d'etat in Ukraine are significant. Political victory is not yet apparent, although, as we know, in politics, in contrast with the economy, one plays "the long game." Its possible now after a small amount of bloodshed for a considerable achievement in the form of recognizing Crimea (albeit only moral recognition), it is now time for new policy agreements.


If, however, the dialogue turns out to be impossible, the likelihood is that after Ukraine survives the first winter after the revolution - there will be a new round of conflict.




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Polityka, Poland: Collective Orgasm' Over Crimea Pushes Putin toward Invasion

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Die Welt, Germany: NATO Badly Divided on Deploying Troops in East Europe; Facing Moscow

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Rzeczpospolita, Poland: Obama's Chance to Make Up for Missteps Toward Poles

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Handelsblad, Germany: 'Fissures' in Europe: Putin, Propaganda, and Patriotism

Der Spiegel, Germany: Finance Minister Schauble Says Putin Plan Reminiscent of Hitler

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FAZ, Germany: America and Germany: The 'Axis of Pragmatism'

BelTA, Belarus: Lukashenko Warns: Crimea Sets 'Dangerous Precedent'

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European Press Agencies: European Reaction to Developments in Ukraine

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Cotidianul, Romania:
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Posted By Worldmeets.US October 24, 2014, 10:59pm


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