• Putin Declares Crimea Annexed; So How Best Now to Fight for Ukraine?

    Russian President Vladimir Putin’s declared annexation of Crimea today changes the power struggle in Eastern Europe. The United States and its allies, which have been warning against that step, immediately must focus on the wider dangers of Putin’s likely next move. Putin aims to reclaim greater Russian influence – and if possible, control – over the russified former edges of the Russian and Soviet empires. In Ukraine, he seeks, as a minimum, a federalized state that loosens Kyiv’s hold on heavily ethnic-Russian eastern Ukraine enough to let Moscow dominate it, economically and in security terms. (Putin has spoken that ambition in plain Russian, referring to Ukraine as “Little Russia,” and telling President George W. Bush in 2008 that, as recounted by Kommersant, “You don’t understand, George, Ukraine is not even a state!”)

    While Putin would rather achieve his goal without militarily invading eastern Ukraine, he has shown that he might – so the West must work to deter that move. And it must discourage Russia’s use of Crimea as a precedent to formally annex the 20 percent of Georgia and the 12 percent of Moldova that its forces occupy. Russia’s renewed drive for its old borderlands is regional, so countering it will require strengthening democracies and states from the Transcaucasus to Poland. But to focus for now on the center of the fight, here are a few steps the West should take – and avoid – in Ukraine.

    Read More
  • Carstei: Russia Sanctions "Not Enough"

    Energy & Environment Program Acting Director Mihaela Carstei joins CCTV to discuss the long- and short-term impacts of sanctions on Russia:

    Read More
  • France Offers to Halt Russian Ship Sale if UK Hits Oligarchs

    France says it could suspend its controversial deal to sell helicopter assault ships to Russia if more sanctions are adopted against Moscow over Ukraine – but only if Britain also takes action against Russian oligarchs in London.
    Read More
  • Following Developments in Ukraine on Social Media

    VOA is compiling an interesting Storify board on developments in Ukraine and Crimea.

    Read More
  • Russia's Foreign Policy Reflects Domestic Dysfunction

    Vladimir Putin appears well on his way to reclaiming the Crimea for Russia, restoring the peninsula to a status forfeited by Nikita Khrushchev’s Soviet Union in 1954. But this territorial achievement may provide only temporary distraction for Russia’s 140 million people who have seen their quality of life deteriorate dramatically since Putin took power in 1999.

    In an important new book “Russians, The People Behind the Power,” former NPR Moscow correspondent Gregory Feifer depicts a society with a thin crony capitalist veneer that is increasingly afflicted by corruption, alcoholism and other social ills. While none of these are new for Russia, what is surprising is that they have gotten so much worse under Putin.

    Read More
  • Analysts: As Crimea Vote Is Declared, Putin Is Reaching for Lands Beyond

    Sunday’s referendum in Crimea produced the expected result. That vote – and steps by the Russian parliament, the Duma – lay the groundwork not only for Russia’s annexation by Crimea, but for a more formal takeover of lands beyond, say Atlantic Council Senior Fellow Adrian Karatnycky and other analysts. Like many, Karatnycky  begins by noting the flaws that undermined any notion of a democratic, free choice in the vote. “It had all the characteristics of a totalitarian plebiscite, . . . with large numbers of vigilantes and local militias projecting intimidation, and with pro-Russia propaganda dominating the airwaves.”

    Here is a sampling of analyst opinion:

    Read More
  • Moscow’s Move to Absorb Seized Territories Detours Russia Further from Rule of Law

    Every language contains words which say more than those who use them intend or even recognize.  One such word or better suffix in Russia is “podobny” which means “like” or “analogous to.”  Thus, Russians sometimes speak of something being “science-like” -- that is, something that looks like science but really isn’t.

    That suffix should be applied to three measures now before the Duma which are intended to look like laws but are in fact something else because if they are approved in their current forms, they push Russia even further away from the modern, law-based state its leaders declare it to be, and some of its well-wishers often assume it already is.

    Read More
  • VIDEO PLAYLIST: Ukraine Crisis

    Read More
  • US Issues Targeted Sanctions on Russian Elites

    The US and EU rejected Crimea's referendum Sunday, issuing statements and new sanctions outlining the West's overwhelming disapproval of Russian activities in Crimea.
    Read More
  • White House List of Russian and Ukrainian Individuals Under US Sanctions

    President Obama today issued a new Executive Order (E.O.) under the national emergency with respect to Ukraine that finds that the actions and policies of the Russian government with respect to Ukraine -– including through the deployment of Russian military forces in the Crimea region of Ukraine –- undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets.
    Read More