Moscow is putting on a full-court press—using energy exports, information warfare, trade, arms sales, and efforts to obtain military bases in Cyprus, Montenegro and Serbia—to subvert the process of European integration, undermine democratic values and institutions, and erode the independence of Balkan states. Moscow also seeks to maintain and perpetuate the ethnic tensions that tore Yugoslavia apart in the 1990s, even as the states that emerged from that bloody chaos stand poised to move on to a new era.
On April 7 the government challenged billionaire Rinat Akhmetov’s grip on energy companies. Some parliamentarians are pushing to curb the power of Dmytro Firtash, another tycoon whose empire expanded under Viktor Yanukovych.
“The key issue is the ‘de-oligarchization’ of the country. We are trying to bring order to the government, whereas the oligarchs want chaos,” Poroshenko recently told ICTV.
Former Putin advisor says they will not, advocates stronger responseWestern sanctions on Russia are not working and a proposal to provide defensive weapons to Ukrainian security forces will not deter the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine, according to Andrei Illarionov, a former advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“For those few people who are there [on the sanctions list], yes, it is rather painful,” but otherwise sanctions are “barely seen” in Russia, Illarionov said at the Atlantic Council on April 7.
After Putin’s disappearance on March 5, the Russian media and the blogosphere dealt with little else.
However, the main “Putin event” was not the resurfacing of the Russian President at a meeting on March 16, but the airing of a documentary commemorating the first anniversary of the annexation of Crimea the day before.