|1 May 2014
President Putin is not going to invade Ukraine, and he uses the military forces at the border and diversions in Ukraine to achieve the recognition of Russia's authority over Crimea, payback of Ukraine's gas debt, granting official status to the Russian language and constitutional changes in Ukraine, - stated Mikhail Kasyanov speaking at the Atlantic Council, Washington D.C.
In Kasyanov's opinion, the West should not make concessions to Russia. He urged the EU states and the US to help Ukraine hold elections to the highest standard, provide it with significant financial help and moral support and help diversify its energy sources.
Mikhail Kasyanov also urged to expand the list of people targeted by individual sanctions, decrease the dependency on Russia's gas and support common Russians. The former prime minister warned against sectoral sanctions on Russia, as ordinary people must not be responsible for the president.s actions.
"The Russian people are under intense propaganda. It is very sophisticated, very cynical and very powerful", - Kasyanov explained to the American audience. He also added that Putin's failure in Ukraine would be the failure of his propaganda too.
And Kasyanov has no doubt that it will happen, sooner rather than later. He pointed out that the current regime in Russia is on its way to death. The economy has already been in poor state, but due to the sanctions and the decrease in trust of investors and creditors its collapse is not long ahead.
The GDP has been declining for two months in a row, big companies have huge debts which they will have trouble to refinance under the current circumstances. Even if Russia's Stabilization Fund appears to be large, it will prove insufficient to sustain the current standard of living in the country so much depending on imports.
"Right now Putin is bluffing, thinking that you are not consistent enough and will not pursue this policy. He was shocked when he knew that the European Union adopted those sanctions. He was absolutely sure that German industry would never allow its government to adopt such sanctions", - stated Mikhail Kasyanov.
After Mikhail Kasyanov, these and related issues were also brought up at the Atlantic Council by Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden.
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