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Why Hopes of Putins Surrender are Futile

Published: July 30, 2014 (Issue # 1822)




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With over a week past the tragic crashing of a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet over eastern Ukraine, it is becoming clear that whatever initial hopes Western leaders might have had that Russias Vladimir Putin can be shamed or coerced into unconditionally throwing the pro-Russian rebels under the bus are futile. There is hope, however, that both the conflicting sides and their supporters will sit down to negotiate a sustainable resolution to the conflict, which threatens the foundations of Europes already fragile system of collective security.

Putin Wont Be Either Shamed

Even before the July 17th tragedy, some of the more eloquent of Western-based Russia watchers claimed that Putin had ditched the pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine. As Iwroteback in May, now that hes sown chaos in Ukraine but uneager to participate in someone elses civil war President Vladimir Putin has thrown the rebels under the bus, Julia Ioffeassuredreaders of The New Republic on July 9th.

The crash of MH17, which Ukrainian and several Western governments claimed was brought down by a surface-to-air missile fired from territory controlled by rebels in eastern Ukraine, increased the number of Western pundits who hold this view exponentially.

For instance, respected and experienced Russia hand Mark Galeotti prophesized in the immediate aftermath of the crash: When the histories are written, this will be deemed the day the insurgency lost because the Kremlin will, for all its immediate and instinctive bluster and spin, have to definitively and overtly withdraw from arming and protecting the rebels.

Another pundit has even gone as far as to imply that the Russian leadership will somehow acquiesce to Western and Ukrainian air forces jointly bombing the rebels into oblivion. Without Russian support, the separatists will be quickly be defeated. The tragic shooting-down of MH17 provides Ukraine and the west with an opportunity to rid Donbass of its separatists by using superior air power, no longer fearing Russian surface-to-air missiles,accordingto Taras Kuzio of the University of Alberta.

Id say anyone who seriously contemplates a scenario in which NATO planes will bomb rebels out of Donetsk must be as divorced from reality as conspiracy theorists who believe some of the MH17 passengers could have been dead days before the ill-fated flight.

I too think that the long-term damage Putins Ukraine policy has done to Russias standing on the international scene in general, and its relations with the West in particular, will be significant, even though it might not be felt in the Kremlin immediately. And I strongly hope those guilty of such a horrendous crime as the downing of a passenger plane (if it was, indeed, brought down by a missile), must be identified and prosecuted regardless of whether they have mistaken it for a warplane or not.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Oct. 2


The celebration of the bicentennial of the birth of Mikhail Lermontov continues with todays free exhibition in the citys Lermontov Library at 19 Liteiny Prospekt. Titled Under the Rustling Wings, the temporary exhibition will feature the costumes and scenery used in the 1917 production of Lermontovs play The Masquerade, which he wrote in 1835 when he was only 21 years old.



Friday, Oct. 3


Learn more about how to manage and evaluate employee performance during SPIBAs Human Resources Committee meeting this morning on Employee Assessment: Global and Local Trends. Starting at 9:30 a.m., the discussion will touch on such topics as the partnership between HR and business, reliable assessment strategies and more, with Tatiana Andrianova, the head of the SHL Russia and CIS branch in St. Petersburg, as the featured guest. Confirm your participation by Oct. 2 by emailing office@spiba.ru or calling 325 9091.


AmChams Procurement Committee Meeting is at 9 a.m. this morning in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center on Ulitsa Yakubovicha.



Saturday, Oct. 4


Wine and cheese lovers will get their chance to revel during Scandinavia Country Club and Spas Wine Market Weekend. Going on today and tomorrow, wining diners can listen to live music, take part in culinary classes and, of course, sample a variety of fine wines from around the world. The cost of admission is 400 rubles ($10.30) for adults and 200 rubles ($5.15) for children.



Sunday, Oct. 5


Look for the latest fall fashions at the Autumn Market today in Freedom Anticafe at 7 Kazanskaya Ulitsa. The minimarket plans to offer clothes more flattering than the puffy jackets that are a staple of the citys cold-weather fashion, while offering the same amount of protection from the biting winds blowing off of the Baltic.



Monday, Oct. 6


SKA St. Petersburg, the citys KHL affiliate, welcomes Slovakian club HC Slovan in a match-up tonight at the Ice Palace near the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. and tickets can be purchased on the clubs website or in person at either the arenas box office or the clubs merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, Oct. 7


Learn more about Russias energy industry at the St. Petersburg Energy Forum that begins today and runs through Oct. 10. Attracting industry experts and political and business representatives, the forum plans to welcome more than 350 plus companies and their representatives to discuss the future of Russias largest economic sector.



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