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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Another Day, Another Spectacular Russian Disaster

Remember when Vladimir Putin told you that the Russian economy was an “island” and a “sanctuary” from the failure of Western economic policies?  Remember how, shortly after that, in 2008, the Russian economy was the worst performer during the global economic downturn, which saw the Russian stock market lose three-quarters of its value?

Keep that in mind as you remember how Putin told you that the Russian space program would leave the West in its dust, serving as the reliable conduit into space as the U.S. space shuttle program was shuttered.  That claim was just as false as Putin’s lie about the economy, as the latest in a long string of spectacular Russian space disasters has just shown.

Now, keep all that in mind as you reflect on Putin’s promise to keep the 2014 Olympics safe from terrorism, because rebel leader Doku Umarov has just announced total war on those games.