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Putin Has Stumbled in Ukraine

Published: August 13, 2014 (Issue # 1824)




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Fifteen years ago onAug. 9, 1999, President Boris Yeltsin stunned Russia with his televised announcement ofVladimir Putins appointment as prime minister, as well as his characterization ofthe new appointee as his successor.

Whatever themotivations behind this choice, it turned out tobe theright one. It was amatter ofhonor forthe second president toshow his personal loyalty andfulfill his obligations tothe first president.

But most importantly, after theupheavals ofthe 1980s and90s, Putin was just thekind ofleader people wanted: not brilliant, but dependable, capable offinally bringing theendless chaos toa close andensuring thereturn ofhope forthe future. Putin, whom few initially considered anappropriate fit forpolitics, consolidated Russian society around theidea ofstability.

Stability inthe 2000s didnt mean stagnation or preservation (there wasnt anything atthat point topreserve); it meant action. Toachieve stability, it was necessary totake aseries ofmeasures torestore themanagement ofthe country, lay afoundation foreconomic development andgive people asense ofpurpose not through abig project (not really Putins forte), but through actively building andimproving their own lives.

But Putin arrived under thebanner ofstability atthe same time that stability was coming toan end inthe world atlarge. He came topower atan uncertain time, against abackdrop ofan eroding world order. This contradiction between internal goals andexternal conditions gradually became more andmore apparent.

TheWest sees Russias president as anenemy ofprogress, asymbol ofoutdated viewpoints andold-fashioned approaches. He, meanwhile, expresses his astonishment atthe policies ofleading nations, which seem tobe almost intentionally adding fuel tothe fire ofinternational conflicts. Faith inthe possibility ofa major deal with theWest, andRussia joining thecircle ofleading nations, has weakened, although Putin did see it as possible when he first took office.

But after Putins return topower in2012, he saw theWest, primarily theUnited States, as themain destabilizing force inthe world. This wasnt due toanti-Russian sentiment inWashington or Brussels (Putin considered that obvious inany case), but tothe Wests thoughtless andarrogant interference inone situation after another, destroying thefoundations ofnational governance.

Many outside observers are sure that Putin is acunning strategist, his actions governed bya larger idea: planned expansion, restoration ofan empire, strengthening theso-called power vertical, areturn tothe Soviet Union, anti-liberal measures, etc.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Oct. 1


The St. Petersburg International Innovation Forum 2014 kicks off today at Lenexpo, where it will be presenting the latest and greatest ideas until Oct. 3. Focusing on economic development and the decisions and measures necessary to encourage development in Russias most important industries, the event is a possibility to discuss the innovations currently available in a variety of fields.


Representatives of the Russian and international media industries arrive in St. Petersburg for the first ever International Media Forum being hosted by the city until Oct. 10. With a variety of events on tap, including workshops, lectures and film screenings, the event plans to reemphasize the citys reputation as the countrys culture capital and as an emerging market and location for the visual arts.



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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