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Mar 7, 2014
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What Putin wants matters less than what he doesn’t

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By Pierre Briançon

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

The Western governments wondering what Vladimir Putin wants in Ukraine should start by focusing on what he doesn’t. That has become a little clearer after the Russian president’s rambling press conference earlier this week, during which glimpses of rationality appeared amidst a long, disingenuous rant against the new authorities in Kiev. Putin doesn’t want Crimea – which is only a pawn in his Ukrainian game. He is not ready to take the risk of a Western-style democracy in the former Soviet republic. And he fears the disruption of the economic and financial ties that bind Russia and Ukraine.

Mar 3, 2014
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West can hurt Russia – if there’s a will

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By Pierre Briançon

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

Western powers seem to consider that Crimea is gone, that Russia is there to stay, and that their main option is to increase the “cost” – Barack Obama’s word – that Vladimir Putin must pay for his actions in the Ukrainian territory.

Mar 3, 2014
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West can hurt Russia – if there’s a will

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By Pierre Briançon

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

Western powers seem to consider that Crimea is gone, that Russia is there to stay, and that their main option is to increase the “cost” – Barack Obama’s word – that Vladimir Putin must pay for his actions in the Ukrainian territory.

Feb 24, 2014
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Ukraine, the bailout Europe cannot shirk

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By Pierre Briançon

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

The European Union brokered the deal that triggered the end of the Yanukovich regime. With Russia angry and the United States absent, it must now lead the rescue of Ukraine’s bankrupt economy – and first decide when to act, and how.

Feb 24, 2014
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Ukraine, the bailout Europe cannot shirk

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By Pierre Briançon

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

The European Union brokered the deal that triggered the end of the Yanukovich regime. With Russia angry and the United States absent, it must now lead the rescue of Ukraine’s bankrupt economy – and first decide when to act, and how.

Feb 11, 2014
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Nestle selldown leaves L’Oreal more a family group

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By Pierre Briançon 

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

Nestle’s sale of an 8 percent stake in L’Oreal to the French cosmetics group marks a fundamental reset of the duo’s relations. The French get more freedom; the Swiss, cash and some assets. Nestle may describe its reduced holding as “strategic”, yet looks, long term, like a seller of more. But keeping a 23 percent investment gives it the option to reverse course if it wishes.

Feb 7, 2014
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Welcome to Sochi, Putin’s Potemkin village

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By Pierre Briançon

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

Sochi may become a metaphor for modern-day Russia, but not the one Vladimir Putin was thinking of. The Russian president made the Winter Olympics a personal project, designed to showcase his country’s ability to compete in prestige with the world’s major powers. It has not worked out as he wished.

Jan 29, 2014
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Turkish central bank in “whatever it takes” moment

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By Pierre Briançon

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

The Turkish central bank has gone for shock and awe. After a messy week of blunders, it has opted for a massive increase of interest rates that will soothe concerns about the institution’s independence. The country may be mired in a political crisis and ruled by an unpredictable prime minister, but at least it still has a central bank doing what central bankers are supposed to do – mind the currency.

Jan 15, 2014
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Hollande finally gets it. Can he do it?

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By Pierre Briançon

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

Not that long ago a French socialist president talking about the need for supply-side reforms would have represented an intellectual revolution. After six years of financial crisis, the euro zone’s near-death experience and with the French economy stalling, it simply sounded like a long-overdue admission of reality when it came from François Hollande at his Jan. 14 press conference. Still, the slow learning doesn’t take anything from the intention to “accelerate,” as he chose to put it, economic reform.

Jan 8, 2014
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Draghi is playing with fire on deflation risk

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By Pierre Briançon

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

Mario Draghi is playing with fire. The European Central Bank accepts that the euro zone has entered a long period of low inflation – but its president sees no need to act on it. If Draghi keeps hesitating, he risks the institution’s credibility, squandering the gains of his 2012 promise to do “everything it takes” to preserve the euro.

    • About Pierre

      "Pierre Briançon is Reuters Breakingviews' Paris correspondent. He joined Breakingviews.com in 2006, after heading the Dow Jones Newswires Paris Bureau Chief for three years. Previously, he had been: business editor of Libération, then the newspaper's Moscow and Washington correspondent; deputy editor of L’Expansion; and a producer/columnist for French radio and TV. He is also the author of Messier Story (2002), on the fall of Vivendi’s former chief executive, Héritiers du désastre (1992) on the collapse of the Soviet Union, and San Quentin Jazz Band (2008)."
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