On the assumption that somehow Putin hijacked the proceedings, it seems to me that Francesco makes excellent points. Putin should have pocketed Crimea and moved on. The West would have done nothing, proven by the fact that it in fact did nothing. In the medium- and long-term encouraging SMEs, entrepreneurs, innovation and economic opening in general would be very much in Russia’s interest is beyond doubt. I think this answers David’s question. However, in the short term, Putin is vaunting Russia’s “relevance” (in the sense used by Clinton after his disastrous Congressional election defeat) in the contemporary world. And indeed it is relevant, given the unbelievably feckless behavior of the Europeans and the Americans. He is not a free market liberal or political democrat. He is a great Russian nationalist and as such he is operating successfully in a power vacuum.
Norman Bailey: Putin is a Russian nationalist operating in a power vacuum
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