Is Putin Winning?

Russian and Eurasian Politics

photo chess

by Gordon M. Hahn

In a way he is. Increasingly, grudgingly, gradually and as quietly as possible, the Barack Obama Administration and Europe are accommodating Moscow and pressuring Kiev to do the same with regard to many of Moscow’s key positions on the Ukraine crisis. The West is pressuring President Petro Poroshenko to grant the Donbass significant political and economic autonomy. At the May 6th Minsk 2 contact group meeting, Kiev was successfully nudged to agree to begin negotiating directly with the Donbass rebels on this as well as other issues. Kiev’s recent, failed albeit, efforts to rein in its neo-fascists from groups like Right Sector suggest similar Western efforts on this front. The U.S., British and other military training missions to Kiev have raised the costs of allowing the neo-fascists to continue their lawlessness too high for the West in PR terms. In addition, the West has ceased…

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