Ukraine and Putin’s latest gambit take up too much ink in front page news. Russia which has been described as a gas station that thinks its a country by Senator McCain has changed bluster and basically has blinked.
Russia wanted Crimea as a physical possession and essentially annexed it by surprise. Imperialistic tendencies drove Russian behaviour. What they did not calculate is the massive flight of capital from Russia by Russian oligarchs. Russia is doing poorly and the masses have been distracted. The elite know better and are voting with their pocket book.
Putin cannot control the flight of capital. Being a former KGB black ops guy he is used to massive government support and money is no object. Not sure that Putin has truly though through the ramifications of capital flight.
So now he increases the rhetoric about Ukraine’s gas bills and demands up to ten times what may be truly owed. Why? He sees massive Western funds being thrown at Ukraine and he wants most of it. An independent Ukraine on financial life support to the west paying protection money to Moscow will work just fine. Russian speaking interests be damned.
So he will use local dissidents who have been emotionally duped into wanting some kind of union or protection from Moscow as a leverage stick all the while demanding huge ransoms through gas pricing.
The sooner Ukraine and other European countries wean themselves off of Russian Oil and Gas the safer they will be militarily.
My advice frack away big time.
In the mean time if Putin had territorial ambitions he will shelve them in the interests of economic blackmail. BTW the occasional infrastructure problem deep inside Russia would be useful just to change their perspective and get Russians worried about internal security. If you could make Moscow’s lights go out for an hour or two that would be great.
George Gutowski writes from a caveat emptor perspective.