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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

Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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