Opinion – Ukraine As we can see in Putin’s own words in a recent Op-Ed in the New York Times, Vladimir Putin is nothing but a dictatorial hypocrite who wants to show power and grab land. Unfortunately I don’t believe he has intentions in stopping in Crimea. Even IF this vote is to take place in Crimea, the vote will be rigged in favor of Crimea joining the Russian Federation under Putin’s rule. So 6 months after this Op-Ed, we have Mr. Putin himself doing exactly what he has told America not to do regarding Syria by invading or forcing military intervention in Ukraine. Yes those “Know It All” pundits will state that there was “No invasion as the troops were already there,” but they just don’t get it. Yes the Russian and Ukrainian militaries have had joint bases in the port city of Sevastopol for some time; but make no mistake, those Russian troops are under new orders and they have seized the Crimea region which extends far beyond Sevastopol. Putin has additional reasons, as petty as they may seem, because the coastal city of Yalta is one of his top vacation destinations. Simferopol is key to this, as he flies from Moscow to Simferopol and takes the scenic route from Simferopol to Yalta. You can think of Yalta as an Eastern European wannabe Monaco, which is perfect for Putin’s bloated ego. Having been to this region several times I can assure you that the road to Yalta from Simferopol is the most maintained and most worked on road in the Crimea region and Putin is the reason. The sad reality here is the Russian speaking people who live in Crimea and who technically hate Ukrainian speaking people, feel that going back to Mother Russia is a great idea. Unfortunately these people have not looked at the bigger picture and what it will mean for them, their families, and their businesses. This is even more ominous given the friction now that exists between Putin and the West. Before it was easy for me to jump on a plane in Kiev down to Simferopol as I was within the borders of Ukraine. If Putin wins his incursion and takes control of Crimea, then the game has changed. This will mean not only an international flight, but you will need a Russian Visa. I for one who has been involved with Ukraine for over 10 years and who has traveled there a number of times will avoid this scenario completely. So for all those people who rely on Western tourist for their success in a resort area, will see an immediate impact. Sure they will get tourists from Russia, but there will be no fudging on an Exchange rate from the Dollar or Pound or Euro… After all, it will all be the same currency… Rubbles.