All Eyes on Ukraine

RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - Report 06 Mar 2014 by Alexey Dolinskiy

The Russian leadership has been considering every option to keep Ukraine in the orbit of its influence for both rational and emotional reasons. However, a lack of real expertise or structured approach towards a Ukraine policy in Russia has resulted in over half a dozen government officials’ participating, without any of them directly responsible for designing and implementing a national strategy. Because of their lack of coordination, Moscow’s approach towards Ukraine has become very hectic and overall ineffective.

Increased pressure on opposition protesters is being exerted to prevent even the slightest possibility of protests similar to those that took place in Ukraine. Although there have been no direct orders from the Presidential Administration, the law enforcement system has chosen a more restrictive strategy by itself.

The Olympic Games in Sochi were a popularity booster for Vladimir Putin because they were well organized and the Russian national team performed well in most sports events. A large-scale project initiated and successfully carried out under presidential leadership, the Games became a source of national pride despite the economic slowdown.

Russians increasingly believe there is a military threat to their country, but at the same time they seem confident that the national armed forces are in their best shape since the end of the Soviet Union.

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