Putin's Week of Muscle-Flexing

Redheart

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What a week for Vladimir Putin, flexing muscles at West - CNN.com

When Vladimir Putin makes a move, the world sits up and takes notice.

And this week, he's been particularly busy, making decisions on internal and international matters that have ramifications far beyond Russia's borders.

Nongovernmental organizations in Russia awoke Sunday to a new reality -- that they operate now under a law Putin signed allowing the government to prosecute them on the grounds they are 'undesirable.' Russians working for them could wander behind bars for up to six years.

Why it matters:

The U.S. State Department and human rights guardians see the law as a tool to repress internal political opponents. In the past, a few of them -- and critical journalists -- have ended up dead or in jail.

Tanya Lokshina, Russia program director for Human Rights Watch, said the new law had "the potential to severely damage our work in Russia."

But she was more concerned about Russian citizens, fearing that even those retweeting "undesirable" NGOs posts could land in jail.

Moscow deployed 12,000 troops, 250 combat planes and helicopters and 689 units of "various weapons and military equipment" in its northwest corner for unannounced military exercises, Russian state media announced Monday.

It may have been a show of strength in response to a long-planned European fighter jet drill led by Norway, called the Arctic Challenge Exercise. The Russian exercises have dwarfed the NATO members' 4,000 participants.

And it involves cruise missiles aimed at an "imaginary enemy," the TASS news agency reported.

Why it matters:

Huge Russian drills make NATO particularly nervous. The alliance says past ones were used to deploy troops to annex Crimea and support Russian separatists fighting the government in Ukraine.

NATO also did not like that the Russian drill was unannounced.

On Wednesday, he incurred the wrath of the White House. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden got his fill of tensions between Russia and the West, and he let loose on Putin. He said the White House is still mulling sending arms and equipment to besieged Ukrainian troops fighting Russia-backed rebels.

Biden criticized Putin for what he called "brutal aggression" in Ukraine, and said the Russian president was also responsible for "aggressive repression at home."

Why it matters:

Top military brass, including Defense Secretary Ash Carter and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, have expressed support for transferring more weapons to Ukraine as it battles Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country.

President Barack Obama, faced with skepticism from European partners, has so far resisted supplying Ukrainians with lethal aid.

For years, the tally of Russian troops who died at war has been a state secret. Now, Putin says his government won't reveal the number of military deaths during peacetime either -- particularly during special operations.

Why it matters:

"Not only is this decree a blatant attack on freedom of expression, it also has sinister undertones that will intensify speculation President Putin has something to hide," said Amnesty International director John Dalhuisen.

A Kremlin spokesman denied any connection to Ukraine, saying it's just to protect national interests in general.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is a popular but polarizing figure who has dominated Russian politics for more than a decade.
 

Corzhens

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When I was young, there was a cold war between the US and the USSR. Now it is the same scenario - US versus Russia. But come to think of it, Putin is civil towards America. That flexing of muscle is bravado that leaders of a powerful country should show. Bravado means only for show.
 

Rowe992

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Putin just needs to relax himself and focus on developing Russia's economy and the welfare of its citizens. Russia must be really stupid not to learn from the history of Germany and what happened when they tried to control Europe militarily.
 

vegito12

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I reckon that Putin should try and fix the problems which are occurring in his own country, as there are quite a lot of people unhappy with what he is doing and also the economy is a problem too. I think that the president has done quite a lot in a short time and has shown the world he means business when he says something and does it too and does not want foreign countries interfering in what he does. I think he needs to be careful otherwise could get too prideful and have an ego and once broken will have bigger problems which may be hard to fix in the end.
 
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Ynur66

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Vladimir Putin is the only world leader that has the guts to stand up to the united states. His fearless and he does anything he wants because he knows the west can't touch him.
 

orangesunset

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Putin knows how to entertain a crowd, and to give them what he wants. The Russia/USA thing is basically a mexican standoff. Both USA and Russia have a gun pointed at each others head, if one guy pulls the trigger, the other guy will do the same thing and both will end up dead. Both USA and Russia know this. USA does have a bigger gun, but even if you get shot with Russia's smaller gun you will get hurt.

Putin meanwhile is getting the better of the exchange since Obama just sits there like a dummy, meanwhile Putin is shooting off his mouth. Putin's macho methods keep the Russians and other Eastern countries amused. Obama meanwhile just looks like a wimp.
 

Redheart

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Vladimir Putin is the only world leader that has the guts to stand up to the united states. His fearless and he does anything he wants because he knows the west can't touch him.
Putin isn't fearless. He is smart. The sanctions have hurt Russia's economy and he needs to distract the Russian's attention from their woes. By making the Russians believe that each move he makes is to the Russians' advantage they won't be too mad at him.
 

orangesunset

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Putin isn't fearless. He is smart. The sanctions have hurt Russia's economy and he needs to distract the Russian's attention from their woes. By making the Russians believe that each move he makes is to the Russians' advantage they won't be too mad at him.
Exactly, Putin is smart and he is a good poker player. You never know if he is serious or is he bluffing. So with the 911 evidence he is threatening to release, in my opinion he is bluffing, but the problem is you don't know. A good poker player makes you think he is bluffing so you call his hand.

Initially the sanctions and low price of oil hurt the Russian economy, but again Putin played it smart he managed to get a blank cheque from China. China is a huge importer of oil, the lower price of oil benefits China, when the price of oil eventually recovers Putin will pay China back. After the Crimea fiasco, the Russian stock market dropped by 30%, but now it has recovered.

Most importantly Putin knows how to play to his audience, which is Russia, India and China. These are still male oriented countries, while Obama looks like a wimp hanging up curtains in the white house, Putin is punching out polar bears with his bare fists. Obama looks like a wimp.

What Putin does in public and what he does in private are two different things. For all we know in private Putin does needle point and reads poetry.
 

LilAnn

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Exactly, Putin is smart and he is a good poker player. You never know if he is serious or is he bluffing. So with the 911 evidence he is threatening to release, in my opinion he is bluffing, but the problem is you don't know. A good poker player makes you think he is bluffing so you call his hand.

Initially the sanctions and low price of oil hurt the Russian economy, but again Putin played it smart he managed to get a blank cheque from China. China is a huge importer of oil, the lower price of oil benefits China, when the price of oil eventually recovers Putin will pay China back. After the Crimea fiasco, the Russian stock market dropped by 30%, but now it has recovered.

Most importantly Putin knows how to play to his audience, which is Russia, India and China. These are still male oriented countries, while Obama looks like a wimp hanging up curtains in the white house, Putin is punching out polar bears with his bare fists. Obama looks like a wimp.

What Putin does in public and what he does in private are two different things. For all we know in private Putin does needle point and reads poetry.
Im sorry, but I'm going to have to disagree on one key point:
Hanging curtains can require someone to stand on a chair or a stool. He could fall.
 
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