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Putin, king of parody

Posted May. 19, 2014 00:45,   


The Ukraine crisis is getting out of hand. As a sweeping majority of votes agreed on the separation and independence of the east region from Ukraine in the local referendum after Russia’s annexation of the Crimea, Ukraine is at the risk of division and possible civil war. However, western countries have been failing to take effective measures that can stop Russian President Vladimir Putin showing off his charismatic power toward the post-Soviet states.

It seems that the Ukraine crisis has been prepared since February this year when the Sochi Winter Olympics was taking place. Russia showed off its cultural excellence around the world through a big-ticket opening ceremony, and awarded a gold medal to a Russian athlete at the women’s single figure skating, which is dubbed as the cream of the crop in winter Olympics. The Russian president nicknamed “tsar of modern times” probably wanted the revival of “powerful Russia.” Even before finishing the Winter Paralympics in Sochi, the president had Russian troops without their badges invade the Crimea and seized the area. What Russia delivered to the world through the Sochi Winter Olympics, which cost about 50 billion U.S. dollars was not the message of world peace, but reviving the glory of the former Soviet Union.

In the geopolitical game with the Western world, Putin has pursued a consistent strategy. He has “copied” and “parodied” his enemies that he has denounced. The protests by segregationists in masks who occupied public offices in the south east of Ukraine were the parody of the Euromaidan protest that ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych from the Ukraine capital of Kiev in February this year. Putin criticized the Euromaidan protesters who occupied the government office by defining it as “an illegal coup supported by the West. However, he questions why it is wrong for the pro-Russian people in the southeast region of Ukraine to protest to achieve independence. When Russia invaded Georgia in 2008, Putin brought up the U.S. invasion of Iraq. In addition, he used the NATO’s intervention in the Kosovo conflict as justification for Russia’s annexation of the Crimea.

Although U.S. President Barack Obama describes Putin as a person obsessed with the old ideology of the Cold War era in the 20th century, some say that Putin has shown the essence of non-linear war in the 21st century. As a former KGB agency, he offered negotiations at one end and organized a militia at the other. He shakes the public opinion by using the global media while avoiding sanctions of the West by lobbying multinational corporations such as BP, Exxon Mobil and BASF. Western countries, which have tried to besiege Russia by expanding their alliance blocs such as NATO and EU, seem to be bound by the paradigm of the 20th century.

Confrontations in the “new cold war era” are expected to be more complicated. Putin is not a post-communist. He protects the cozy relations between politics and business in capitalism represented by Oligarch. Not all international powers close to the Kremlin are left-leaning. The extreme nationalists such as France’s National Front and Hungary`s Jobbik party unite with Russia to pursue anti-EU policies and extreme leftists in Europe justify its union with Russia with their fight against the U.S. hegemony. Besides, Putin joins hands with religious conservatives only because he opposes homosexuality. He shows a wide spectrum of “non-linear” unions.

Russia’s annexation of the Crimea, which Putin planned to recover his nation’s past glory, is the first crisis in the 21st century where a powerful nation artificially changed national territories. Some call the crisis the “European version of 9/11. The division of Ukraine may affect the situation on the Korean Peninsula by influencing responses of the surrounding countries such as China and Russia to sudden changes in North Korea. Moreover, it is concerning that Western countries are so lethargic to the rise of nationalistic fascism.