The Worst Week of Vladimir Putin’s Life

PutinshameJust. Wow!

What a truly appalling week Vladimir Putin just had.

He started out the week being booted out of the FIFA tournament in Brazil, which Russia will host in four years. His team only managed to score two goals in three matches despite being fortunately placed in one of the weakest groups in the tournament. Only three teams in the entire tournament scored less, and his hated rival the USA, hardly a world soccer power, advanced to the knockout round.  To add to Russia’s shame, its coach (highest paid in the world, and not Russian) tried to blame the debacle on a laser pointer.

Then Pooty watched as not just Ukraine but also Georgia and Moldova signed a formal treaty with the European Union, something Putin has been furiously struggling throughout his presidency to avoid.  Not one but three important pieces of post-Soviet space permanently severed their relations with Russia, vastly diminishing Russia’s prestige and influence in the region and vastly increasing the power of the West.  Putting the boot in, a newly swaggering Europe actually began issuing ultimatums to Putin.

And then to round things out, more spectacular disaster in space.  First Putin’s much-ballyhooed new rocket program, which was supposed to allow Russia to send missiles into space without need of Kazakhstan, using a base on Russian soil, humiliatingly failed to function.  And then one of Russia’s last early-warning military satellite simply stopped working while in orbit.

It’s impossible to imagine a worse week for Putin, and when you combine it with the increasingly bleak prospects of the Russian economy you have what well may be the worst week of Putin’s life.

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Good News for Russia!

Every once in a while we come across some good news out of Russia, which we are only too pleased to report in order to break the monotony of relentless failure and decline that might otherwise lead to bleak depression. So it is with pleasure that we make note that both of the singles juniors champions at this year’s French Open tournament at Roland Garros in Paris were Russians. Darya Kasatkina took the girl’s title and the interestingly named Andrei Rublev took the boy’s title. The “other” Andrei Rublev was, you may know, the most famous painter of religious icons in Russian history.

Darya Kasatkina, French Open Girls Champion 2014

Darya Kasatkina, French Open Girls Champion 2014

Kasatkina’s victory was the more impressive, since she gutted out a tough three-set match against the number one tournament seed. Kasatkina was seeded #8, and lost the first set in a close tiebreaker but came back to win the next two.

Andrei Rublev, French Open Boy's Champ;ion 2014

Andrei Rublev, French Open Boy’s Champ;ion 2014

Rublev was expected to win his match against a lower-seeded opponent and decisively did so in straight sets.

The icing on this cake for Russia was that Maria Sharapova collected her second French Open title in the ladies’ main draw.  Although Sharapova’s victory was rather hollow since she did not have to face any of the four best players in the world ( Serena Williams, Li Na, Agnieska Radwanska or Victoria Azarenka) in order to take the title and treated fans to her usual festival of unforced errors compensated for by dumb luck (to say nothing of her intolerable shrieking), Sharapova did gut out  a tough three-set match in the finals against the world #4 (albeit a player who had never before appeared in a grand-slam final). It’ wasn’t pretty, though. She struck more double faults and many more unforced errors in the finals than in any prior round. She had 52 unforced errors and 12 double faults in the finals match alone, 211 total unforced errors and 43 total double faults in the tournament, and her diminutive finals opponent broke the giant Russian’s serve seven times.

So we say “formidable!” and “felicitations!” to Russian tennis fans for their multiple triumphs on the red clay! Hopefully they will take inspiration from these victories to consider the possibility that Russia may be capable of something better than Vladimir Putin.

 

Has Russia gone Rogue?

Over on the powerful and influential American Thinker blog, LR publisher and founder Kim Zigfeld shows how Russia is hypocritically embracing exceptionalism even as it condemns that same attitude among Americans, and using racism and military aggression to prove to the world how very exceptional Russia really is by attacking and seeking to subjugate its neighbors just as Hitler tried once to do.