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Putin Has Stumbled in Ukraine

Published: August 13, 2014 (Issue # 1824)




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Fifteen years ago onAug. 9, 1999, President Boris Yeltsin stunned Russia with his televised announcement ofVladimir Putins appointment as prime minister, as well as his characterization ofthe new appointee as his successor.

Whatever themotivations behind this choice, it turned out tobe theright one. It was amatter ofhonor forthe second president toshow his personal loyalty andfulfill his obligations tothe first president.

But most importantly, after theupheavals ofthe 1980s and90s, Putin was just thekind ofleader people wanted: not brilliant, but dependable, capable offinally bringing theendless chaos toa close andensuring thereturn ofhope forthe future. Putin, whom few initially considered anappropriate fit forpolitics, consolidated Russian society around theidea ofstability.

Stability inthe 2000s didnt mean stagnation or preservation (there wasnt anything atthat point topreserve); it meant action. Toachieve stability, it was necessary totake aseries ofmeasures torestore themanagement ofthe country, lay afoundation foreconomic development andgive people asense ofpurpose not through abig project (not really Putins forte), but through actively building andimproving their own lives.

But Putin arrived under thebanner ofstability atthe same time that stability was coming toan end inthe world atlarge. He came topower atan uncertain time, against abackdrop ofan eroding world order. This contradiction between internal goals andexternal conditions gradually became more andmore apparent.

TheWest sees Russias president as anenemy ofprogress, asymbol ofoutdated viewpoints andold-fashioned approaches. He, meanwhile, expresses his astonishment atthe policies ofleading nations, which seem tobe almost intentionally adding fuel tothe fire ofinternational conflicts. Faith inthe possibility ofa major deal with theWest, andRussia joining thecircle ofleading nations, has weakened, although Putin did see it as possible when he first took office.

But after Putins return topower in2012, he saw theWest, primarily theUnited States, as themain destabilizing force inthe world. This wasnt due toanti-Russian sentiment inWashington or Brussels (Putin considered that obvious inany case), but tothe Wests thoughtless andarrogant interference inone situation after another, destroying thefoundations ofnational governance.

Many outside observers are sure that Putin is acunning strategist, his actions governed bya larger idea: planned expansion, restoration ofan empire, strengthening theso-called power vertical, areturn tothe Soviet Union, anti-liberal measures, etc.

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Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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