Tuesday, November 30, 2004


Ukrainian Gamesmanship

Eastern Ukraine has suddenly "decided" that if the fraudulent Ukrainian elections are to be re-held, they may secede instead. In fact, it's almost as if a talking point was circulated among Putin's team and distributed from there.

the weeklong standoff in which tens of thousands of opposition supporters have blocked official buildings in the capital and eastern provinces are threatening to seek autonomy
Suddenly, Putin has an excuse to cancel the re-do of the election, in the interests of "peace" and "stability," of course. Think that's just a coincidence?

Putin will probably talk tough, first, to see if he can scare off the EU - a reasonable tactic, given their recent track record vs bullies - thereby weakening the position of the US and the Ukraine at the pivotal moment. Trying the tough-guy route is also a low-cost option for him; he can always back down later in return for a minor concession or two.