MOSCOW, Ukraine -- Russian and Ukrainian analysts were astonished last Friday at Vladimir Putin’s proposal of merging energy giants Gazprom (Russia) and Naftogaz (Ukraine).
In light of the recent agreement between the two countries to allow Russia’s Black Sea Fleet into Crimea for the next 32 years, Ukrainian opposition leaders declared their fear of the “destruction of Ukraine”.
There is nothing to suggest that Russia has an elusive and elaborate plan to take over Ukraine and annex it to become part of the Russian Federation, as some have unrealistically suspected.
It is more reasonable to believe that Russia sees an opportunity to gain an important regional ally back into its sphere of influence while building up the economy of a vital economic partner.
Russian authorities perfectly understand that a stable, economically viable, friendly and happy Ukraine will yield an array of benefits for Russia.
Russia sees an opportunity in power politics and is taking it.