May 25, 2014
THE UR STUMBLES INTO ANOTHER WIN:
On eve of vote, separatist drive faltering (Trudy Rubin, 5/25/14, Philadelphia Inquirer)
Posted by Orrin Judd at May 25, 2014 6:12 AMEven Vladimir Putin appears to recognize that his project to annex Ukraine's south and east, or install friendly separatists there, is failing. Putin calls this region (known as the Donbass) Novorossiya, a term used when the czars conquered the area at the end of the 18th century. Putin wanted it as a land bridge to Crimea, which Russia has already seized and annexed.Yet things didn't go as he expected. Putin has been forced in the last few days to step back from the new Cold War he started over Ukraine. His efforts to foment civil war in eastern Ukraine - while blaming everything on Kiev - have boomeranged, causing serious economic damage to Russia and to his business cronies.The people on whom the Kremlin relied to stir up trouble - nobodies like Pushilin, cronies of deposed President Viktor Yanukovych, rootless youths, and petty criminals - are falling out with one another, and alienating the locals, even supporters of Russia. Putin's pledge on Friday to recognize Sunday's presidential elections - which he had loudly denounced - shows he wants to cut his losses.In Donetsk, you can see why.The Russian leader clearly misunderstood Ukraine.