Putin’s Game of Chess, by Lori Perkovich

For those who are unaware, and there are probably many, I will be conducting research in Moscow for a short period — early summer 2014. This is my first piece for the official NYU Center for Global Affairs 2014 Global Field Intensive to Moscow, blog. Putin’s Game of Chess focuses on the presence of the Russian Army in Ukraine and how it links to the United State and the European Union. Happy reading…

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A slow simmering conflict has festered just below the surface in Ukraine for some time, as deeply divided citizens and political parties weighed whether the country should align itself with the European Union and the United States or remain closely tied to Russia. Three months ago, these groups began to clash in protests that quickly turned violent.

At first the Russian stance on the protests and violence in the Ukraine appeared more posturing than an inevitable invasion on its neighbor, but a rapid series of unfolding events from the past few days perhaps tells a different story. Impeached Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych (whom the Ukrainian government placed on an international wanted list for mass murder) turned up in Moscow earlier in the week allegedly asking for protection, to which the Russian government agreed as it still views Yanukovych as the legitimate President. Then Russian troops appeared at the Russian-Ukrainian border…

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