A vote has been held and Crimea has tentatively voted to return to being part of Russia. The final tally of the votes should be available later this week. Our government and certain European governments have been critical of Putin and Russia, vowing sanctions and other punishments for going into the Ukraine. Putin has basically laughed at these threats, saying that if sanctions are applied, he will retaliate.
In turn, Obama and Kerry have tried to smack Putin on the nose with a rolled up newspaper. Naturally, he was not impressed. A Kremlin backed journalist has clearly stated that Russia has the power to reduce the United States to “radioactive ash.”
In the overall Russia versus the rest of the world scenario, Russia is one constant player who never changes its spots, remaining the same today, yesterday and tomorrow. They took their lumps when The Wall came down, as they were unable to sustain their economic and social situation. They were willing to get outside help and the world praised them and came to their rescue with business advice and the needed foreign aid. Investments were made, trade exchanged and a new generation of young people have come of age. All the while, Russia licked its wounds and bided its time. It healed the land, the people and the army. It said yes, but meant no. It smiled and waved, pretending to be a kinder, gentler Kremlin.
Then Putin came into power, twice as president and once as prime minister. Prior to his entry into politics, he was an officer in the KGB, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He has been in Russian politics and power in one form or another since 1999. During his terms, he significantly raised the standard of living in Russia. He brought down unemployment and increased the GDP by 72 %. He instilled large-scale police and military reform and he encouraged foreign investment. He is considered a powerful political icon in Russia with his “he man,” and “super hero” image, named by Forbes as “one of the worlds’ most powerful people”. He is one of the world’s richest billionaires and for some reason he has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Putin is also still the jackboot KGB officer where he began his career.
Russia is constant. It is still the Russia that caused General George Patton to declare, “The Russians are Mongols. They are Slavs and a lot of them used to be ruled by the ancient Byzantium. From Genghis Khan to Stalin, they have not changed. They never will and we will never learn, at least, not until it is too late.” We carried on a Cold War with Russia from the 1950s to the day the Reagan declared, “Take down this wall.” Jimmy Carter chastised the Russians on their invasion of Afghanistan to no avail.
Putin is a master of stealth. He says things that make him seem to be a modern, diplomatic leader. His quotes are just the thing that people want to hear; he is highly manipulative and very intelligent, but make no mistake–his agenda is not the same as ours.