(PHOTO: Vera Donskaya-Khilko, Wrestling, 2011, oil on canvas, 80 x 100 cm.)
(3-25-14) Bloomberg reports "Putin Clears Crimea Annexation as Ukraine Signs EU Pact" - even though last week he said that Russia would not annex Crimea. What he's doing is he's testing the limits...
What Putin does is he says he won't do X and then a week later he does X -- and then he waits for the Western response to see how much the West wants to escalate something.
What he saw in the Western response to annexation is that the West collectively -- the European Union, the United States, etc. -- went out and put sanctions on some of his pals and tried to freeze some of their money only to discover that his chums led by billionaire Gennady Timchenko, who bought part of the Swiss oil trading company Gunvor Group Ltd., had already sold all of their interest, including real estate they had outside of Russia the day before the sanctions were imposed.
The Russians knew exactly what the timing was and how long it would take to impose these sanctions and put the legal mechanisms in place to freeze their accounts.