Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Residents Of Donbass Tell Separatists To Leave: A Glimmer Of Hope?

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.

go to forbes,com

Monday, June 8, 2015

Deconstructing Putin's Approval Ratings: One Thousand Casualties For Every Point

Vladimir Putin stakes his claim to leadership on approval ratings that would be the envy of any democratic politician. Skeptics, however, question the meaning of approval ratings when a dictator appoints all political positions and ensures that rivals are distrusted by the electorate. A dictator who controls the media and devotes enormous resources to propaganda can manipulate approval ratings with extraordinary measures, offsetting fundamentals that would otherwise push the favorability rating down. But what does someone like Putin do when he runs out of diversions during a period of prolonged economic stagnation? We’ll perhaps know the answer soon.

go to

Monday, June 1, 2015

Books About Stalin Everywhere in Moscow

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