Perhaps Vladimir Putin would be better served feeding his bloated ego in other ways other than invading and annexing parts of other countries. Vladimir Putin is nothing but a Tyrant and a short sighted Tyrant at best. He has filled the airwaves in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine with Propaganda for as long as he has been in power on how Ukraine and the Ukrainian people are trying to “Ukrainianize” ethnic Russian speaking citizens living in Ukraine. Nothing can be further from the truth. Unfortunately, history has shown how the weak minded can be convinced that a “perceived” issue can be turned into a battle cry for those masses, even when it is against their best interest. “Never Underestimate The Power Of Stupid People In Large Groups…” Ukraine Elections – Issue One Ever since Ukraine’s independence there has been this back and forth tug of war for Political Power in Ukraine. On the one side you have the true Ukrainian people who are predominately in the North and West and the Ethnic Russian Speaking “Ukrainians” in the South and East. So the previous President in Ukraine came from the Ukrainian side along with the PM Yulia Tymoshenko who was viewed by the Russian Ethnics as corrupt and bad. I saw this first hand when I was in Crimea the last few times. When I mentioned about it being bad for Yulia to be in prison, I got the look of daggers and the comment that Yulia belonged in prison because she was a corrupt politician. All politicians are corrupt and that is just a fact of life. But if Yulia Tymoshenko was corrupt, then what can be said about the unbelievable Corruption of Viktor Yanukovych? From my view he is far worse. Now that Putin has successfully pulled the Ethnic Russian Crimea under the wing of Russia, he has tipped the balance of the voting power in Ukraine to be more pro Ukrainian and pro West/European Union, and this is something he has feared for a long time and yet by his own hands he has forced the remaining part of Ukraine to the West and NATO. Well Done Mr. Putin! A Bigger Mother Russia – Issue Two The Russian Federation is the largest country in the Eastern Hemisphere and it spans 11 physical time zones on this planet. Conversely, the USA spans a meager 4 time zones. Given that, the Russian Federation’s economy is still in fragile states, taking on the annexation of the Crimea Peninsula and all the people who live there WILL be a strain on that already fragile Russian economy. Additionally there is nothing in Crimea that brings money in to help pay the way and offset those additional costs. Traditionally, the economic pull for Crimea has been the tourism for people who want to vacation on the Black Sea. The biggest draws would be Sevastopol, Yalta, and Alushta. Towards the North East is Feodosiya, and then Kerch on the channel joining the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. There is a small district South East of Sevastopol that is a high tourist area called Balaklavskyi and it has the makings of a small Italian coastal town where the quaint bay is protected from the Black Sea and the little fishing boats line the harbor and where shops and restaurants are springing up all along the waterfront. It is quite nice there and the food is very good. Unfortunately with Crimea becoming part of Russia, the tourism will dry up, as Ukrainian’s to the North will now just go to Odessa and make it their new destination. Certainly Odessa is not small and quaint like the places on Crimea just mentioned, but it is on the Black Sea. Additionally the flow of Western tourism will stop, as you don’t want to board a plane in Kiev headed for Simferopol and realize that you will now need a Russian Visa before landing and that you will in fact be in a more tightly controlled and policed Russia and not Ukraine. I’ve been to Crimea twice, and I will now never return due to the fact it is now under Russian control. Isolation And Removal from the G8 – Issue Three In July of 2006 Russia hosted its first ever G8 Summit in St. Petersburg Russia. This was the first time Russia served as host nation for a G8 summit; and the nation’s status as a full member of the G8 was confirmed. This was a shining moment for Vladimir Putin. Now with the cancellation of the G8 which was to be held in the Olympic City of Sochi Russia has turned Russia’s addition into the G8 and now removal, a huge black eye; as Putin has lost all that he fought for to be admitted in 2006 to just be kicked to the curb by the remaining G7. I had a friend in St. Petersburg who acted as a translator for the media because she was fluent in English. I recall how she said that this was so huge for Russia and Putin and for her city, and it was clear from our conversations what a pivotal moment this was for Russia and Putin. So Vladimir Putin can down play this all he wants, but at the end of the day, this is a huge blow to him. Putin can also play down the coming sanctions all he wants, but again, Russia cannot counter with anything. If he stops selling his oil and coal to the EU in retaliation to Western sanctions, the only one he is hurting is Russia. After all, if he is not selling his energy goods, how is he going to make money to now pay for that expensive annexation of Crimea which has virtually a zero income for the state? In the End… Clearly when egotistical, high strung tyrants make stupid decisions without thinking through the long term impacts of their decisions, they bury themselves eventually. This is exactly what Vladimir Putin has done. He has made an emotional decision devoid of logic and reason looking for short term glory and a reason to rattle his pathetic rusted sabre. Well done Mr. Putin! Do you have an encore that will put you into an even more difficult position? In the West we have a saying… “Go For It!” The question is… Are you stupid enough to do it?