Thursday, October 09, 2014

Russia and Ukraine conflict worrisomely quiet?

Have Ebola and Isis pushed the Ukraine and Russia conflict off of the front pages or is there in fact a decline in the conflict. While, despite a supposed cease fire, the conflict over Eastern Ukraine remains active.  What is different now is that Putin has been quiet on this issue in the last few weeks.  His bellicose comments that make news have been few, and movements of his troops in the area have been unremarkable.

Eastern Ukraine remains a war zone between separatists and the Ukraine army, but it seems to be more a guerrilla war of terror and hooliganism than a politically motivated effort.  In the NYT today one observer was quoted as saying that separatists were terrorizing the population while another said "there is a total breakdown of order."  All observers say that both sides are at times are indiscriminately bombing population centers.

Putin is obviously focused now on the sanctions from the West, but from his own personal perspective of retaliation and protecting, or compensating, the elites rather any concern about the general population.  That is the concern.  If the general population does begin to feel the pinch, will he choose to take actions that continue the rise of or maintenance of nationalistic fervor, giving the masses pride of country rather than any economic relief.

Will he go back to further intimidating Ukraine and irritating the Baltic states?  Would he really do something aggressive in those areas?  He would certainly talk big and his completely controlled media would do their job.

For now though, the situation in Ukraine is out of the spotlight.  Is that a reason for worry as Nato and the U.S. put all of their attention on the middle east.  Will Putin get jealous?


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