Reuters says, “Russia’s Putin not blinking in ‘last chance saloon’ ” Suppose he finally has religion, and wants to do the right thing. Some of the problems in doing this are discussed in “Putin, rodeo bull rider“, and “Putin’s paramilitary problem“.
Putin cannot seal the border by standing there with a gun. He has to find people who are willing to do this. The Russian soldiers now there have exchanged bear hugs and Russian kisses with their comrades in arms, the paramilitaries. So, as far as this task, their loyalty to Putin, as opposed to the romantic, nationalistic “Russian People”, is questionable.
So while Putin appears to be doing nothing, it is entirely possible that he is already asking around for individuals who would be willing to clean up this situation in return for some money. Putin’s billions come in handy. Of course, he would like to get the job done as cheaply as possible.
The shoot-down of MH-17 provides an important sales point to prospective recruits to this duty. They are saving Russia’s honor, not betraying her, by isolating paramilitaries who are now identified, to use a favorite Soviet expression, as “renegades”. But there is still an organizational task. Individuals enticed to this duty must be formed into units, promises made for future rewards, a command hierarchy formed, transport arranged, and the existing Russian Army units must be moved out of the way.
As discretely as this may be accomplished (or not), the impact on political liberties will be severe for years to come. The affair defies burying by state propaganda. Containing the threat to Putin’s legitimacy will severely impact the social media climate. The Ukraine will periodically resurface like the unwelcome dead of Tiananmen_Square.