I planned to examine Russia last on my tour through Asia as presented in my novel, Chita Quest, but the events of the past couple months are simply breathtaking, almost unprecedented, and simply cannot be ignored any longer.

Okay, I’ll say it….Vladimir Putin is a Stalinist thug. There, it’s out on the table. My opinion. Perhaps it is fitting for me to post about Putin right after writing about Genghis Khan. The difference is that I admire Genghis.

So, I’ll start with the most recent atrocities committed by Russian leaders in the Crimea and Ukraine. Most of this post will be a re-hash of articles you have seen in the media. I will address the geographical, historical, and economics in later posts.

Russia is on the move, asserting itself and expanding. Surprise. An interesting tie in with my previous post is that the Rus, the forebears of today’s Russians, have been on the move expanding since the death of Genghis. His armies reached what is now Ukraine and pushed the Rus back towards their capital at Kiev. After the demise of Genghis, his empire began to shrink around the edges. In the early 1800s, the Frenchman, Alexis de Tocqueville, compared the attitudes of the Rus expanding east and the Anglo-Americans expanding westward, both cultures creating a myth of expansion into their frontiers as they strove towards their destinies.

So now, Putin is on the move. First in Georgia, now in Ukraine. By using surrogates and “rebels,” Putin is playing a risky game and may lose control of his puppets. He will be blamed for their propensity to commit atrocities. Not to mention breaking the fragile ceasefire. Nobody knows how this will play out but Putin has certainly changed the world’s perception of Russia. How the West holds up will be a function of leadership. In my not-so-humble opinion, Germany’s Angela Merkel has shown herself to be the most courageous and outspoken of Western leaders.

Here is what’s happening on the sanctions front:

Another finger in Putin’s eye, the approval of the trade agreement of Ukraine with the EU that started this whole invasion…

And now, even some of the Russian people are starting to object to Putin’s (mis)adventures:

This in from our English friends:

NATO knows what it will do but does Putin understand?

Why is Putin doing this?

Given Putin’s actions, here is a potpurri of opinions, both pro-West and pro-Russia:

And finally, once again, the media does its best to make matters worse:

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