Putin’s Zugzwang: The Russia-Ukraine Standoff

 

International

Putin has twisted himself into policy as well as rhetorical knots as a result of his absurd insistence that Ukraine’s post-Yanukovych government is unconstitutional. Thus, even though Ukraine’s two unreservedly
 pro-Russian parties, the unreformed (formerly ruling) Party of Regions and the Communists, fielded candidates for the May 25th presidential ballot, Moscow declared the elections illegitimate well in advance and, with its sponsorship of terrorism in eastern Ukraine, indicated that
it would do all it could to sabotage them. But wouldn’t fair and free elections diminish the existential threat Putin claims Russians face in Ukraine? And wouldn’t unfair and unfree elections just prove his point that the Kyiv government is illegitimate? Even more illogically, Moscow demands constitutional reform from Kyiv, while continuing to insist the government is unconstitutional. But how can an unconstitutional government implement constitutionally valid constitutional change?

 

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