Christian Carlysle has a good analysis of the grimness of Putin's victory again in Russia.
Unfortunately, the snarks at Foreign Policy (of which there are no shortage), set up this article with a tag line to click on -- "Putin Won, Get Over It" -- which isn't exactly in the spirit of what Christian Carlysle usually says about Russia. It implies that we are naive bunnies who opposed Putin and backed his opponents out of bourgeois neoliberalism...or something. Instead of principles.
So no, it's not about "getting over it" as if somehow the mendacious malice of and sheer bantom-weight thuggishness of Vladimir Putin have to be conceded and never opposed. If anything, now that the "spring," is over, which never really was a spring, cold is in order.
Here's my answer:
Christian, the question isn't whether your analysis of the situation is right. It is. We all get that. I've been the first to say that I didn't believe the demonstrations were very deep or wide and I didn't think they'd have an impact against the Kremlin's very malicious security state. People will keep trying; they will keep getting beat up.
But it's one thing to explain the realities of the situation, and it's another then to justify RealPolitik as the way to address the situation (which you aren't doing, but many reading your column *are* doing).
Given this formidable enemy -- yes, the Kremlin has made us its enemy because we represent a deterrent on its goals -- should we just be "engaging" and playing ball with this dictator? Or should we be doing lots of other things to continue deterring, containing, offsetting?
We need an offset, not a reset. It's not about poor relations for which we are to blame or a lack of good will. It's about Russian nastiness, and we need to concede that, as you do, but act then to deter it.
And that means passing the Magnitsky Accountability Act. It means dismantling this ineffective Russian-American commission on civil society and other subjects, where the same Minister of Justice who presides over injustices and failure to prosecute them then becomes a partner in "reform" and "dialogue". We don't need to form structures with the Russian government to raise human rights concerns publicly or privately.
There are other things we can do without necessarily engaging in military provocations. Refusing to endorse or participate in the summer Olympics in Sochi, for example. When you are dealing with a cynical petro-state, the answer it not to give it any legitimacy in these ways.
Russia needs to feel a reciprocal chill for the chill it has put on the world with its cynical arming of Syria, failure to cooperate on Iran, and mistreatment of its own people.