The Kremlin now sees the U.S. goal as the toppling of the Putin regime. That said, expecting Putin to back off betrays a lack of understanding of the gravity of the situation. It is no longer just a struggle for Ukraine, but a battle for Russia.
There are few if any reasons for Russia to worry about an immediate negative impact on trade and economic interests of signing of the AA/DCFTA by Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia. The Russian government’s position is more likely to reflect concerns about the loss of geopolitical influence rather than trade and economic relations.
The first three months of U.S.-led sanctions did not cause yet deep-seated problems for Russian economy. Regardless, the stakes for Russia are very high. Like the proverbial ancient warrior, it is standing at a crossroads now.
The Indian parliamentary election is in full swing. The name of the future prime minister and the party he will represent are not all that important. It is far more important to the voters that the new government be efficient and professional.
Sunday’s events put Ukraine on the brink of civil war. However, there is still a chance to prevent the worst, but it can only be used when those calling political shots inside and outside Ukraine rise to their responsibility.
The seizure of Crimea is Putin’s personal conquest, as well as a dramatic reinforcement of his regime of personal power. For now Putin has succeeded in halting Russia’s social and economic modernization and has pushed Russia to an anti-modernization course.
In Crimea, Putin will face the financial burden which the annexation will incur. Crimea’s case may seem to be manageable at first, but the expenditure will absorb all money and Russia’s already dwindling investment will be brought to nil.