News / Europe

Analysis: Putin’s Next Move

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hands at the presentation ceremony of the top military brass in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, March 28, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hands at the presentation ceremony of the top military brass in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, March 28, 2014
Catherine Maddux
With Russian troops amassed on the Ukraine border, some observers are worrying about what is being called a “post-Crimea crisis.”
 
And as the West awaits Russia’s next moves, analysts are examining Russian President Vladimir Putin’s public statements for clues as to whether he plans to build on his successful land grab of Crimea by going after other territories with large Russian-speaking populations. 

Think Transnistria: the breakaway majority Russian enclave in neighboring Moldova that already has a minor Russian peacekeeping force on the ground.
 
“The readout from the Putin to [Barack] Obama call last week, from the White House, was a focus on trying to find a way to a political, diplomatic solution,” said one former NATO official,  Ambassador Ivo H. Daalder, now president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
 
“The same phone call was read out by the Kremlin, emphasizing the dangers of quote ‘extremists in Ukraine,’ and that President Putin's worry as expressed to Obama about events in Transdinistria,” he said.
 
That leads to the inevitable question: does Putin have the military might to roll into other Russian-speaking regions, such as the Baltic States, and annex more territory?
 
The answer is a firm yes, said Admiral James G. Stavridis, dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts University and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe.
 
“They [the Russians] certainly can do it… they will begin to incur real costs and there will be a real fight,” he said.
 
“From a military perspective, the more territory you try and hold onto, the more complex your challenges become,” Stavridis said. “All of a sudden, 20,000 troops, 30,000 troops don't look like enough. Again, I think it's an unlikely move, but not an impossible one.”
 
NATO meted out its punishment to Putin during a meeting of its foreign ministers in Brussels this week, declaring that its cooperation with Moscow was over.  The alliance also said it was reviewing options to reassure NATO allies, particularly those who border Russia in Eastern Europe.
 
There were signs of hope when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei in Paris in recent days, offering a ray of hope that Moscow was open to a political solution. But there have been little hints since of possible resolution.
 
But  it’s hard to know if Putin is serious about pursuing diplomacy with the West, said Strobe Talbott, President of the Brookings Institution and a former deputy secretary of state in the Clinton administration.
 
“It could turn out to be a sham on the Russian side – a distraction – but it’s also conceivable that it might produce some agreements that would calm down a situation that is extremely unpredictable and dangerous,” he said.
 
Meanwhile, after Russia’s formal annexation of Crimea, the situation is far from stable even though a large majority of population is pro-Russian and supports joining the Russian Federation.
 
Crimea is also home to a sizable Ukrainian minority, along with Muslim Crimean Tatars, who may feel threatened by Moscow and the nationalistic sentiment in the region. 
 
The situation is so unsure that some are leaving, said Vice News Correspondent Simon Ostrovsky, who spent nearly a month filing video reports from Crimea – before and after its annexation.
 
“I think some people are playing this wait and see game,” he said. “I know at least one Crimean Tatar woman who has gone to western Ukraine and has remained there for the whole period of the conflict with her children. I know ordinary Russians and Ukrainians as well – I’ve just overheard conversations while I was there – them saying they are going to take their children out… and sort of anecdotally I heard [that] a lot of Ukrainians feel pressure to leave,” Ostrovsky said. “Whether that’s imagined pressure or actual pressure, I’m not sure."
 
Analysts say It remains to be seen what Putin’s next move will be – and how the United States and European Union will respond.
 
“There is no question that the Russian strategy going forward is going to be to weaken the now rump Ukrainian state as much as possible, make as much mischief there as possible… simply to roil the situation with hopes that there will not be calm, there will not be stability… there will not be genuine democracy and constitutional government,” said Talbott.
 
And that plays into Moscow’s overall strategy, he said, “which is to be surrounded by states that are in one of two categories: either they are vassal states or they are basket cases.”

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sunny Enwerem from: Lagos Nigeria
April 07, 2014 9:30 PM
Like I have always said, Putin's Russia should be challenged militarily as a means of deterrence if not Crimea is just the first of more Ukrainen region to be lost to Russia and until Ukraine joins NATO and becomes a nuclear power state Russia will keep up the bully.

by: Artur from: Kyiv
April 06, 2014 6:44 AM
Frankly speaking, I disappointed by the West and how it conducts this issue with Russia. Ukraine made its choice in favor of EU and USA,but you don't help us to concrete our commitment to be with you. You won't defend us when Russia would kill us.
In Response

by: Vladimir from: Moscow
April 07, 2014 2:44 PM
Don't cry Artur! You are like kids. Big brother didn't help to his little friends. You have to make choose and strive to do all that possible for your independence. But If half of your compatriots on one side and half on the other, and your government can't nothing to do with that, you have to sit very quietly and wait when someone make decision for you in favor of the one part. You have to take it. If it's your side you are lucky. It merely funny to read articles like this that Russia going to occupy Baltic countries etc. Please try to find out about Russian history. How do you study the history in America now? As I see you study history as a Russian people studied history and other subjects during USSR - only what is necessary for the "right" direction of the party and government. Who need YOUR democracy? Iran ? Syria? Afgan? etc. The list is endless.

by: clinton werner from: Tokyo , Japan
April 05, 2014 11:55 PM
We don`t want to be caught off guard this time waiting for Putin`s move. This time we have to have our forces there , there has been great cooridination in NATO & The EU but we need to act more swiftly.
I admire the Ukrainians for their Magnificent Stance In Maidan
Square , a reminder of just how Precious Liberty Is & This Is Now A Critical Test For The Free World!
Let`s Win This !!!

by: Eastariel Noneofyo-bizniss
April 05, 2014 2:40 PM
~ GAME OF PHONES ~
Please pardon our USA, President Putin. But I think we've been over-doing it on the whole "Game of Thrones" spiel. We've been trying to limit Barack's TV consumption to more appropriate family-friendly specials, like Spiderman (not spickerman), The Simpsons (not simpletons), and Cosmos (not sos-woes). I wouldn't object to you pre-reminding our CIA Daycare to be a little more discerning with Barack's media diet.

by: Ed Hamilton from: Colorado, USA
April 05, 2014 12:54 PM
I think this is a big time, serious issue for USA foreign policy.
Our USA is living the big lie -- that is, these histories are kept out of sight of the people.
"The Public Be Suckered"
http://patrick.net/forum/?p=1230886
I suppose that this status quo provides sizable leverage to Putin -- who has the continuing option to speak out.

Note again that the foregoing postulates CONTINUING disadvantage to the USA of the status quo.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs