The Great Debate

On Ukraine battlefield, one act of mercy becomes an Internet meme

By Lucian Kim
January 29, 2015
Chaban_russian_tank

Alexey Chaban stands in front of the Russian tank he damaged and then commandeered. REUTERS/Courtesy of Alexey Chaban

Ukraine’s ceasefire has become a farce, with Vladimir Putin the author

By Lucian Kim
January 23, 2015
Members of the armed forces of the separatist self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic drive a tank on the outskirts of Donetsk

Members of the armed forces of the separatist self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic drive a tank on the outskirts of Donetsk, Jan. 22, 2015. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

Vladimir Putin and Benjamin Netanyahu in the top 10 most admired in U.S. Why?

By Neal Gabler
January 9, 2015

Vladimir Putin rides with enthusiasts during his visit to a bike festival in the southern Russian city of Novorossiisk

When Gallup issued its annual poll of the men Americans most admired in 2014, it featured two improbable names at No. 10: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. All things considered, 2014 wasn’t a terribly good year for either.

Vladimir Putin’s economic plan: Bread and vodka

By William E. Pomeranz
January 7, 2015

Russia's President Putin gestures as he watches the launch of the newest heavy-class Angara-A5 rocket at Plesetsk cosmodrome in Arkhangelsk region

President Vladimir Putin needs two years to fix Russia’s current economic mess. At least that is what he gave himself at his December end-of-year news conference.

U.S. sanctions fail two-thirds of the time. And allies are often to blame

By Bryan Early
January 5, 2015
Handout photo of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guiding the multiple-rocket launching drill of women's sub-units under KPA Unit 851

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guides a multiple-rocket launching drill in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, Dec. 30, 2014. REUTERS/KCNA

Navalny is a thorn in Putin’s side, but silencing him won’t be easy

By Lucian Kim
December 31, 2014

nav.jpg

In Russia, August is commonly believed to be the month of bad surprises, when planes fall out of the sky and economic crises begin. But from the point of the view of the Kremlin, the last days of December are preferable for shock announcements. On Christmas Day 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as the first and last president of the Soviet Union; eight years later, on New Year’s Eve, Boris Yeltsin handed over the Russian presidency to an unknown former secret police chief named Vladimir Putin.

from Breakingviews:

Ukraine crisis forced into suspended animation for 2015

December 29, 2014

By Pierre Briançon

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Vladimir Putin in jeopardy on all sides as Russia’s economy stumbles

By John Lloyd
December 18, 2014

Russian President Putin is seen on a screen during his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow

MOSCOW – What a difference a plunging ruble makes. A few short days ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin was a strategic genius, outplaying Western leaders everywhere – in the Middle East, in China, and especially in Ukraine. Today, he’s the destroyer of his country and his political life could be in jeopardy.

Strong or weak, bully or buffoon? Will the real Russia please stand up?

By Michael Kofman
December 17, 2014

Russia's President Putin speaks during a commemoration of the Hermitage's 250th anniversary at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg

The West has been unable to develop a coherent strategic policy toward Russia. There is little agreement on what Russia is and how to deal with it, too much speculation about what President Vladimir Putin will or will not do.

In 2015, Vladimir Putin may witness his empire’s death knell

By Strobe Talbott
December 16, 2014

Russia's President Putin chairs a meeting at the Bocharov Ruchei state residence in Sochi

The year ahead could see the outbreak of the third Chechen war, which, in turn, could be the death knell of the Russian Federation in its current borders.