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Monday, January 12, 2015

Want The Truth? Why Not Talk To Those Who Shot Down MH17?

The alleged criminals and accomplices identified in this piece will never be questioned. The Kremlin will not allow this to happen. Western diplomacy probably prefers for the truth not to be clearly spelled out, but the victims cannot be ignored. They need to be told the truth, and the guilty party must admit guilt and be prepared to pay for their incalculable losses.

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2015: 2015. Mr. Putin's No Good Rotten Year

I have a strong feeling that the tables have turned. Ukraine has a real chance but Russia does not as long as Putin remains at the top of his power vertical. Will 2015 be another year of “anyone but Putin”?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Russia’s Natural Gas Sales Plummet: Is Russia Captive To European Buyers?

The received wisdom is that Europe cannot offend Russia because it depends so much on Russian natural gas. We have this backwards. It should be: Russia cannot offend Europe because it depends too much on sales of natural gas sales to Europe. Despite efforts to conceal the decline, Gazprom’s 3rd quarter sales to Europe declined 15 percent and fell to zero for Ukraine. Cash-strapped Russia can ill afford such losses.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

1 AM December 16. Russia Became A Banana Republic

Russia’s central bank waited until the early morning hours to raise its interest rate from 10.5 to a whopping 17 percent to encourage citizens to hold rubles and foreigners to buy rubles. Rather than building confidence, markets interpreted the move as panic. By late afternoon, it took an unprecedented 80 rubles to buy one dollar. Despite its vaunted reserves, the mighty Russia gives the appearance of a Latin American banana republic, dependent on one product, with a collapsing economy and declining living standards that can no longer support Vladimir Putin’s expensive foreign adventures or keep alive his social compact with the Russian people.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

The Battle For The German Soul: The Russia/Ukraine Narrative

Putin’s propaganda machine is fighting a desperate PR battle, at home and abroad, for control of the narrative of its war against Ukraine. The Republican victory in the U.S. mid terms has consolidated America’s anti-Russian narrative as evidenced by the Senate’s passage of the Ukraine Freedom Support Act, which supplies lethal weapons to Ukraine. Even more ominous is the finding of the Levada Center that only 5-6 percent of Russians are prepared to sacrifice for Putin’s Ukraine ventures. If anyone is to shoulder a burden, it should be Putin and Company, Russians say. These setbacks make the battle for German public opinion even more crucial, a battle that is now being conducted on the front pages of the German press.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Naïve, Dangerous, And Ill-Informed Proposal: Peace In Ukraine By Appeasing Putin

Two Washington policy wonks propose an appeasement policy that would doom Ukraine and give Putin a huge victory over the West, while offering no tangible benefits. Their “win-win-win” policy is based on a fundamental lack of understanding of the Kremlin.