Friday, April 25, 2014
To the editor:
I write to make known a petition I began online in an effort to help with Russia and Ukraine. One may wonder what signing could accomplish; in this instance, I would hope, at least, not to harm.
We have a complex situation, with insufficient information to size up all the players.
It does seem pretty clear that the Russian government is engaging in some faux democracy, and bears responsibility in rendering what would be a delicate situation for a country of different constituencies holding together into the very volatile and dangerous scenario that we see today. President Putin makes no secret, and is consistent in wanting Ukraine to be virtually a part of Russia, if not so in fact.
Professor Kimberly Martin of Barnard College and Columbia University points to a part of the picture that outsiders can miss, in stressing the importance of government outlays for Russia’s Olympic venue.
Sochi has become a huge resort that people will not come to for reasons of security.
The expenditures of some $50 billion were in the form of loans to Putin’s friends that will not be repaid. Professor Martin opines that the threat of scandal has brought Putin to launch a diversionary war.
It is hard for me to assess if Putin would be in trouble over $50 billion.
I do see that where, in the collapse of the Soviet Union, our country’s representatives trumpeted the ascendancy of capitalism, what we might want more for our neighbors in Russia is honesty and fair dealing.
The petition I have started requests that.
I will try to send this information to any one who writes to email@example.com with “send link” in the subject line.