Putin has realized that the expansionist project overextended itself; it is now too dangerous to continue beating the war drum. Or perhaps the Russian president simply lost interest in Novorossiya. He has a different game to play now—that of Russia’s “pivot to the East.”
There is sobering news for the EU in two new polls from Georgia and Moldova, showing that public support for the European project is faltering.
The Ukraine crisis was not just about Ukraine, or even Europe. It was about the global order, which promises a long competition with a yet-unforeseen result.
Ukrainian society—particularly sectors that pushed for greater accountability and transparency during the EuroMaidan Revolution—and Western governments, particularly the United States, are pushing Poroshenko to rein in the oligarchs.
The conflict in Ukraine is anything but frozen. The dynamics of this conflict are driven as much by Ukrainian domestic affairs and local commanders’ decisions in the conflict zone as they are by any Cold War-style stand-off between East and West.
Old totalitarian practices can reemerge with new symbols, from new directions. And a struggle against the symbols of past unfreedom isn’t enough to protect against a lack of liberty in its latest incarnation.
The tensions in Russian-Western relations will not lead to a direct collision between Russia and NATO. The current surge of mutual psychosis has no relation to the military security.
The fact that the process of prisoner exchanges is still incomplete after months of fits and starts volumes about the messiness of the situation in eastern Ukraine.
Civil society now plays an outsized role in Ukrainian politics.
To avoid a dangerous meltdown in Ukraine, the West must lean hard on Kiev in support of economic and political reform.