People/Vladimir Putin

  • Is Putin Getting Ready to Exit the Donbas?

    For the second time in less than a month, a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine was agreed to. The pause in shooting was to have gone into effect just after midnight Thursday, March 29.

    That’s not particularly unusual; many ceasefires have been declared since the conflict began in the spring of 2014. And like the others, it failed to hold. The previous ceasefire started on March 5, and within hours the two sides began firing at each other.

    However, recent trends suggest that the intensive cycles of violent firing following a ceasefire are declining.

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  • The Direction of Russian Politics and the Putin Factor

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  • Nimmo Quoted in VICE News on Russian Indictments


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  • Cohen Quoted in USA Today on Treasury Department Report


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  • What Lavrov's Lies Mean for Ukraine

    Voltaire reportedly said that those who can persuade one to believe absurdities will lead one to commit atrocities. In contemporary politics Russia’s stance on Ukraine represents a cardinal example of the enduring validity of his remark. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recently restated three lies: there are no Russian troops in the Donbas, the conflict in eastern Ukraine is a civil war, not a Russian invasion, and the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in July 2014 had nothing to do with Russian forces. All of these are bold-face lies. No amount of prevarication can obscure fact, although the Kremlin has tried mightily. (For an in-depth look at how Russia has changed its MH17 narrative, Aric Toler’s analysis is first-rate.)

    Lavrov’s and his government’s continuing mendacity are so relentless...

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  • Why Is Hungary Blocking Ukraine’s Western Integration?

    For the first time since the Maidan revolution, Ukraine’s road to the transatlantic community is being actively blocked not only by Russia but by an EU and NATO member state as well: Hungary. While Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has been a vocal critic of sanctions and is one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strongest allies within the EU, Hungary has generally followed the NATO and EU mainstream in supporting Ukraine politically. That has changed, however, since the adoption of a controversial education act in Ukraine this autumn, which Orbán’s government objects to—but his argument seems more of a pretext to cover up the real cause.
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  • History as a Weapon in Russia's War on Ukraine

    The international media will embrace all things Bolshevik this autumn as the world marks the centenary of the Russian Revolution. Audiences can expect everything from gushing feature articles about early Soviet cinematography to edgy op-eds on the place of propaganda posters in twentieth century art. Amid this deluge of Communist kitsch, we are unlikely to see a serious analysis of Ukraine’s 1917-21 statehood bid and its considerable relevance to the geopolitical tensions of today. Instead, the Ukrainian independence struggle looks set to be airbrushed out of the Bolshevik spectacular, much as it has been for the past hundred years. Ukrainian history will remain the great unknown of the European narrative.

    This is both an error and a missed opportunity. It is an error because events in Ukraine decisively shaped the outcome of the Russian Revolution. The Ukrainian theater played a central role in the fighting that engulfed the Russian Empire after 1917, while Bolshevik...

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  • Vershbow in The Hill: Real Peacekeeping in the Donbas Will Put Putin to the Test


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  • Why Arming Ukraine Would End the Deadlock in the Donbas

    Signals from the Trump administration are beginning to indicate a new direction in the United States’ support of Ukraine. At the end of August, Secretary of Defense James Mattis stated that the Pentagon is “actively reviewing” the issue of defensive weapons, rightly noting that “defensive weapons are not provocative unless you are an aggressor, and clearly Ukraine is not an aggressor since it is their own territory where the fighting is happening.”

    Arming Ukraine would enable the United States to directly support an independent Ukraine and add to the overall security of Europe. Yet it goes without saying that such a move needs to be done intelligently and with the specific aim of improving the situation.

    Clearly, the United States and its allies in Europe do not want a military confrontation with Russia, especially with a possible conflict with North Korea looming on the horizon. And here lies the most important point in providing defensive weapons to Ukraine:...

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  • What Do Russians Think of Ukrainians, and Vice Versa?

    Vladimir Putin’s decade long media campaigns turned Russians against Ukrainians and the Ukrainian state prior to his 2014 annexation of Crimea. The divorce between Russia and Ukraine which began with the disintegration of the USSR gained momentum after the 2004 Orange Revolution.

    Putin’s authoritarian and great power nationalistic regime fanned ethnic Russian nationalism, turning Russians against both the Ukraine state and Ukrainians as a people. Meanwhile, Putin’s repeated claim that Ukrainians and Russians are “one people” left no room for a Ukrainian identity other than that of “little Russians” in his Eurasian Union. Putin’s total control of the Russian media mobilized anti-Ukrainian hysteria among Russians in the decade leading up to the Kremlin’s 2014 aggression.

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