The ongoing crises in Ukraine and the setbacks it has suffered in recent weeks have necessitated Western observers to get into the head of Vladimir Putin, and understand his Ukrainian strategies and plans. Putin has been improvising his strategies through the present crisis. It implies that the showdown in Ukraine is murkier and more dangerous than is commonly perceived. President Putin has all along been experimenting with approaches, strategies, and concepts all for gaining short term advantages.
Angel Merkel, German Chancellor, has in a meeting with President Obama reportedly referred Putin as living “in another world”. Putin has used his strategy of keeping his opponents guessing and on tenterhooks as if it is an end in itself. Many Putinologists and political analysts have been trying to understand the thinking of a man who seems to be bent upon to drag the world into a fresh term of cold war. Much like Kremlinologists, they try to explain Moscow’s intentions based on Russian leaders’ utterances, speeches, and photos. They also try to figure out the thinking of Russia by studying the private lives of its leaders, the state propaganda, and even through meetings in which they are invited once in a year to know how things look from Moscow.
It is widely believed that Putin’s anti-Americanism and confrontational stance against the West are the extensions of his career in the KGB. His assertion that he has the right to protect Russian speaking people and ethnic Russians beyond the borders of Russia has dismayed many in the world, and explains his bloody meddling in countries of Baltics and in Kazakistan. His ways are more intriguing when he tries to gloss over a crisis by complicating it all the more. The give and take or consensus oriented style of functioning that commonly was seen during his previous two terms in office, is painfully missing during his present tenure.
President Putin’s winging goes on and on. Only a few weeks ago, he reached out to German Chancellor, Merkel, and French President, Francois Hollande ostensibly to de-escalate the delicate situation in the Eastern Ukraine. The summit meeting and the shuttle diplomacy concluded in Minsk with Putin and Poroshenko agreeing to a new cease-fire. However, President Putin instead escalated the conflict, and intense fighting followed the Minsk meeting. The conflict caused huge loss of military and civilian lives. His highly personalized and erratic approach towards the conflict in Ukraine is indicative of a highly dangerous trend, not suited to a peaceful world.