Maintaining Russian Power: How Putin Outfoxed the West

Putin’s ability to ‘outfox’ the West also comes from strong-arm tactics and both a combination of an incompetent American leadership, as well as arguably complicit — hence, more ‘flexibility’ from Obama in his second term.

In one of his many foreign-policy successes this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin has used power politics and blackmail to bring Ukraine back into Russia’s sphere of influence. But what is the Kremlin leader’s secret to success?

“We know,” Kirill said, launching into a hymn of praise for Putin, “that you, more than anyone else since the end of the 20th century, are helping Russia become more powerful and regain its old positions, as a country that respects itself and enjoys the respect of all others.” Continue reading

Struggle for the Ukraine

BERLIN/KIEV/MOSCOW (Own report) – The struggle between Berlin and Brussels, on the one side, and Moscow, on the other, for the predominating influence in the Ukraine is growing sharper. Since the end of 2012, the German RWE company has been systematically expanding its natural gas deliveries to this East European country. Its objective is to break Kiev’s dependence on Russian natural gas, by reversing the flow in the pipelines already in place, to deliver large quantities of the gas from the West. However, these efforts – also being supported by the German EU Energy Commissioner, Günter Oettinger – are not advancing rapidly enough. According to reports, pro-western circles in the Ukraine are complaining that Slovakia – without whose pipelines, a breakthrough would hardly be possible – is opposing the project. Brussels, therefore, should exert pressure on that country, because time is running out. The Ukrainian government signed a memorandum last week, which is considered an important step toward its integration in the Russian-dominated EurAsian Economic Community, about to be established. In Berlin, Ukrainian participation in this community is perceived as incompatible with Kiev’s integration into EU structures. This conflict, which in principle, has been going on for twenty years, is being fueled by this new accentuation. Continue reading