I went to a UK paper to read a columnist of theirs, and was struck to see rational and thoughtful analysis about the situation in a different article by Mary Dejevsky.
From the Kremlin, the picture, and the options, will look very different. A common view from abroad is that Putin runs Russia single-handed, as a latter-day tsar, and indulges his own caprices. As a footnote, it has been suggested that the success - or at least non-failure - of Sochi might have emboldened him to show (even) more assertiveness in the neighbourhood. Such views disregard both the continuing weakness of central power in Russia and the extent to which any Russian leader now must take account of public opinion.
Within Russia, the popular pressure on Putin will not be for restraint, but for action. His stance reflects a domestic consensus that, while Ukraine may be independent, its natural place is within Russia's orbit and Moscow cannot just stand by while the West conspires to snatch it away. "Who lost Ukraine?" is a question that has real potential to erode Putin's power.
Which is why, more remarkable than Putin's current threat to use force was the relative calm with which he initially responded to the Kiev protests and the collapse of the Ukrainian administration. He even sent an envoy to join the EU foreign ministers brokering a deal between Yanukovych and the opposition, and looked ready to accept the outcome.Share