Russian President Vladimir Putin has been riding high for most of 2014.
Vladimir Putin is hoping to get away with murder. Last week a civilian airliner was shot down over eastern Ukraine by a sophisticated anti-aircraft missile system, and 298 innocent people died as a result. Simple logic and all the early evidence to point to Russia as the guilty party, but Putin smugly believes that he will get off scot-free. And he has good reasons to think so.
Today is May 9, which is the date Russia celebrates the defeat of Nazi Germany (in Europe and America, May 8 is considered the date that marks the end of the war, but because of the time difference, German commanders signed the surrender documents on May 9 Moscow time).
In a rare triumph for common sense in Washington, it is being reported that the Justice Department intends to allow “tactical leeway” to the FBI to use ethnic profiling. This is welcome news for the security of our country. Profiling and stereotyping are a fact of life.
In his fourteen years in power, Vladimir Putin has now made three successful land grabs. In 2008 he de facto annexed South Ossetia and Abkhazia, two miniscule and impoverished provinces in the former Soviet republic of Georgia.
On Thursday, the 193-member General Assembly of the United Nations voted 100 to 11 to denounce the Crimean referendum - a balloting that paved the way for the absorption of the peninsula into Russia - as illegal. Another 58 countries abstained, while the remaining 24 did not vote.
Russia's imposition this week of its own "sanctions" against nine U.S. Senators and administration figures reveals its true weakness. Of course, being banned from visiting Russia is hardly a hardship at all, most people would not willingly want to visit that dreary country anyway.
The Kremlin is showing its true colors. If there were any doubts, they should have been removed by one starkly threatening pronouncement on Russia state television. On prime time TV, Dmitry Kiselyov menacingly stated to his audience that “Russia is the only country in the world capable of turning the United States to radioactive ash.”
“Maidan” means public square in Ukrainian, it was on Independence Square in Kiev where the thuggish and corrupt regime of ex-President Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown.
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