What can we expect next from Vladimir Putin?

December 9, 2014 6:31 PM

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One of the things that made Ukraine vulnerable to Russian pressure is two decades of neglected reform since the country's independence in 1991. Ukraine remains an economic basket case: Growth is down 5 percent, inflation's risen above 14 percent and public debt has spiraled upward toward the IMF's "high risk" level. President Petro Poroshenko's government, which came to power in June, will be under great pressure in the next year to stamp out corruption, lift the economy out of the doldrums and ease the country's energy shortages.

The Russian public traditionally responds well to a strong leader and nationalistic appeals.

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