Keep in mind that Russia does not want the occupied Donbass territories as part of Russia. Rather, Putin wants the self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk to be independent provinces within a unitary Ukraine that exercises veto power over major domestic and foreign policy decisions. Such an arrangement would spell the end of Ukraine as a state independent of Russia. Hopes for a peaceful settlement coming out of the Minsk negotiations are therefore futile, with no ground for compromise. Russia does not want the Donbass, and Ukraine will not accept a Donbass under rebel control. It’s that simple–although Europe’s peacemakers have trouble accepting that fact.
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My colleague, Marianna Yarovskaya, sent me these images of a typical Moscow bookstore. Books on Stalin are everywhere. This is part of an official campaign to glorify Stalin's image as a strong and decisive leader who was up to all challenges.
|photo courtesy of Marianna Yarovskaya|