The Russian stock market is down seventy percent this week from its high in May and the speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament said on Thursday that Russia could resume a naval presence in Yemen. With a severe recession in the offing and oil prices halved, will Putin's Russia become more pleasant?
Although I am sure we can rest assured that Vladimir will be impressed with Obama's coolness.
The Axis of Moscow
It's lonely out there for Vladimir Putin.
Where would Russia be without Daniel Ortega? Even more isolated than the Kremlin now finds itself after its August adventure in Georgia.
Wall Street Journal
Two months after the war in the Caucasus, Mr. Ortega's Nicaragua is the lone country to follow Moscow's recognition of the "independence" -- in effect, Russian annexation -- of Georgia's South Ossetia and Abkhazia provinces. Given Russia's serious diplomatic onslaught, that's an embarrassing outcome for Vladimir Putin.
Consider the rogue's gallery that refused to go along: Hugo Chávez's Venezuela, the Castros' Cuba, Bolivia, Iran and Syria. The club of seven authoritarian former Soviet republics known as the Collective Security Treaty Organization also demurred. Even Moscow's puppet autocrat in Belarus, Aleksander Lukashenko, deferred to his toothless parliament; in other words, nyet, for now. Russia was rebuffed by China and India at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
There is of course a long line of goons happy to take military, energy or economic handouts from the Kremlin, though the dramatic drop in oil prices and Russian stocks will limit its ability to buy people off. Mr. Lukashenko could well be holding out his support for cheaper natural gas. But Russia's erratic and aggressive behavior in the Caucasus has apparently given even him pause about its possible intentions against Belarus.
In addition to Mr. Ortega, Russia did manage recognition by Hamas, Hezbollah and the Moldovan regions of Gaugazia and Trans-Dniester. But that is little solace for a Kremlin whose bigger goal in the war was to declare a Monroe-ski Doctrine for its "near abroad" and lead a new anti-American block. Fyodor Lukyanov, the editor of Russia in Global Affairs, summed up the strategy: "Our long effort to become part of the West is over. The aim now is to be an independent power in a multipolar world in which Russia is a major player."
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