Summing up for the New years eve… Putin has not been very good for Russia this time… or for the world.. And oil prices down 40% should add a lot of weight to his troubles…
People should stop calling him a big strategist and a chess player… this is backwards and unproductive leadership..
Militarily, Putin has had a mixed year: a clean and quick military victory in Crimea on the upside, but an ongoing military quagmire in eastern Ukraine on the downside.
Diplomatically, though, it’s been an endless succession of bad news. Ukraine is more firmly allied to the West than ever. Finland is wondering if it might not be such a bad idea to join NATO after all. The Baltic states, along with just about every other Russian neighbor, are desperate to reinforce their borders—and their NATO commitments. Russia has been dumped from the G7 and Putin himself was brutally snubbed by practically every other world leader at the G20 meeting in Brisbane. Economic sanctions are wreaking havoc with the Russian economy. China took advantage of all this to drive a harder bargain in negotiations over the long-planned Siberian gas pipeline. Even Angela Merkel has finally turned on Putin. Diplomatically, this year has been a disaster for Russia.