FORBES - MAY 20, 2014
By Mark Adomanis
It’s always dangerous to declare the crisis in Ukraine over. Every time it seems as if the situation has “de-escalated,” something awful happens: a building is burned down in Odessa, Ukrainian soldiers are ambushed outside of Slovyansk, a mayor is shot, or a journalist is kidnapped. These provocations have usually, but not always, been at the instigation of pro-Russian separatists, and have promptly caused a renewed spiraling of tensions and violence. It’s been clear that the Russian authorities have been trying their utmost to maximize the chaos in Ukraine in order to prevent the post-Yanukovych government from consolidating its hold on power, and they have done little or nothing to ameliorate, and quite a lot to incite, increasingly dangerous East-West cleavages. Nonetheless, the most recent overtures from Moscow have been decidedly less antagonistic than before. While far from certain, it at least appears possible that the Kremlin is backing down having realized that it overplayed its hand. I’ve been harshly critical of the Kremlin’s efforts to destabilize Ukraine, and if these efforts really have failed then we should all be grateful. Russia has perfectly legitimate concerns regarding the composition of the new government in Kiev, but its behavior over the past three months has been as dangerous as it is indefensible.