Ok so Putin grabbed the Crimea because of Cold War Tendencies. Mother Russia has always declared a war water port to be of strategic value and that means Crimea. It’s the only option. Russia was paying some expensive rent for access and now they will not need to. So some short-term olde fashion cost cutting seems to be working in their favour.
The Ukraine and the west will not respond militarily. There are no effective options. So Putin will hang on to it. Public relations disaster not withstanding. In the mean time he has shored up local Russian support because they like their Czars strong. This seems strong.
Putin clearly does not fear Obama or the west on this point. He has the bully attitude of what you gonna do.
Europe is unfortunately reliant on Russian Gas. Germany and Hungry and some of the Eastern European states need to keep warm. So Putin has the blackmail tool well sharpened.
Russia is highly reliant on exports of oil and gas. Europe will feverishly do whatever is necessary to reduce this strategic flaw and protect themselves from geo-political blackmail. LNG facilities and fracking will accelerate and soon Europe will not care what the Russian Bear has to say.
The Russian bear will see its export revenues drop as markets dry up. Western oil companies will not be as keen to improve oil and gas production so properties will decline sooner than they should. Russia has not shown an ability to develop their own technology to enhance petroleum production.
China on the other hand will continue to import oil and gas in exchange for foreign currency. But they will mitigate their risks by establishing other sources of supply. So if the Russian Bear wants to turn off the tap go ahead.
Russia will soon start to suffer more dramatically then they do currently. Putin will talk tough but will not have the wealth to follow through.
North American consumers will see the price of gas go up as gas will be priced globally and not locally.
George Gutowski writes from a caveat emptor perspective.