Divorce can be fairly expensive, but for Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev, the split from his wife will cost him a massive $4.5 billion dollars. The settlement decision was handed down from a Swiss court, where Rybolovlev and his ex-wife owned two chalets.
There have been many legitimate comparisons to Vladimir Putin’s recent actions in Ukraine and his statements that he’s “merely protecting ethnic Russians and Russian speakers” in former Soviet republics to Hitler’s flimsy excuses at the beginning of WWII that he was just protecting ethnic Germans in Czechoslovakia and Poland. It’s not just shallow Godwinning either, like when Republicans compare Obama to Hitler over pretty much anything— Putin hasn’t really made it much of a secret that he thinks the breakup of the USSR was the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century and he’d really like to rebuild it. Despite Russia’s actions being relatively quiet after the annexation of Crimea and secession votes in eastern Ukraine, Putin is far from being done. Instead of rolling from one country to another, it now seems he’s busy quietly trying to rally pro-Russian supporters in places like Moldova, Kazakhstan, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine and rumors that they might be stirring the pot in other former Soviet republics such as Moldova and Azerbaijan isn’t just bad for international politics, it’s also bad for space exploration. After being a leader in international space cooperation and research aboard the International Space Station, this week, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin announced it would no longer cooperate with the US on the ISS past 2020. Yay for peace.
Eastern Ukraine set to vote on whether to secede. This situation isn’t getting better any time soon.
After weeks and weeks of violent clashes between the Ukranian military and pro-Russian separatists in the eastern half of the country, with government buildings, institutions and cities falling out of the grasp of the Ukranian government, it’s starting to look like full out civil war. And now, it looks like eastern Ukraine is ready to launch a referendum of its own to vote on whether it wants to split the country in two. It was reported that residents in Crimea voted 97% in favor of joining Russia, but it now looks very certain those results were (surprise) total b.s., so it will be interesting to see how eastern Ukraine “votes”.
In 1998, in an effort to integrate post Cold War into the Western world, the member nations of the G7 pact— the US, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Japan and Italy, invited Russia to their little club making it the G8. But with Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the world leaders of the G7 countries voted to kick Russia out.
Under military occupation, with Ukrainian TV stations shut down on the peninsula and no debate on the matter, Crimean voters yesterday voted nearly 97% in favor of leaving Ukraine and joining Mother Russia. Democracy in action.
For centuries, nearly anyone with any wealth or political power in the Mediterranean region has conquered the small Crimean peninsula, since its location on the Black Sea has provided someone with some sort of advantage. The Greeks, Venetians, Huns, Goths, Romans, Turks, Mongols and Tartars have all planted their flags there. So when Russia rolled in a couple weeks ago, taking over the semiautonomous region with the claim it was protecting Russian citizens, it was another event in the long history of conquering Crimea. Shortly after it had Ukranian military bases surrounded, Russia said they were going to let Crimeans vote on their future— but as it turns out, that vote doesn’t have a “Russia, nyet” option.