Re: Don't be daft!@ All names Taken
After he won the competition for Ukraine to join his customs union...[snip]...he saw his victory stolen.
If that really is a valid version of the Russian government's opinion then they need to grow the fuck up.
Firstly it's not a game. Secondly democracy isn't about elections. It's about legitimacy. It's about creating enough trust in the system that the losing side is willing to accept the result of their loss, and to accept the winning side as legitimate. The Ukranian government failed in this, due to being monumentally corrupt and incompetent. They also didn't help by using machineguns and snipers on (mostly) peaceful protesters.
Putin may not understand this, as it's what he probably would have done. But earlier in his rule (in his first terms as President), he was a lot more subtle about weilding power than he now is. He played more at being the democrat, and found it easier to rig the system. Probably because he was genuinely incredibly popular back then. Which I suspect he isn't any more.
The lot who are in power in Ukraine now would possibly have made the same mistakes, leading to Eastern Ukraine and Crimea splitting off anyway. But we may never know now, as Russia invaded first.
A lot of Putin's victories are pyrrhic though. Maybe he's happy if he destroys Ukraine, but when they have to default on the $30-odd bilion they owe Russia, he may be less happy. It'll probobably also take out a couple of big Russian banks - plus even more Russian money will flee to Cyprus, London, NY etc. Russia needs the West. Sure we may need their gas, but their economy collapses if they don't sell it. Equally their own population don't trust their economy, and won't leave their savings in it, and foreign investors are becoming increasingly less willing to get involved, as they keep seeing their money stolen. The Russian Central Bank has been going through about $7 billion of reserves a week, trying to keep the ruble from collapsing and causing massive inflation. That's probably going to get worse now. Remember Putin was popular for 2 reasons. Firstly that he stood for stability and growth in the once chaotic economy. And secondly for being a tough-guy nationalist. I rather suspect the second will look less peachy if it fucks up the first. As Clinton said, "It's the economy stoopid."