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Leonid Bershidsky

Merkel Is Playing Long Ball With Putin

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has dug in for the long haul, hoping Vladimir Putin's regime in Russia will collapse under economic pressure. But she's also looking for a quicker solution to the Ukraine crisis.
Photographer: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

I wrote a post yesterday that said the contemptuous treatment of President Vladimir Putin at the Group of 20 meeting was juvenile and counterproductive. I knew I would get a reaction. I have received dozens of e-mails stating that Putin got what he deserved and decrying what the writers saw as my support for appeasement. There also have been messages from people who agreed with me for the wrong reasons: These correspondents see Putin as leading a righteous fight against U.S. imperialism.

As a Russian who, thanks to Putin's policies, can't imagine a future in Russia, I take these e-mails to heart. I would like Putin's regime to fall and be replaced with a liberal, pro-European government that would put Russia on a convergence path with the European Union. I don't condone Putin's actions in Ukraine, starting with the annexation of Crimea and continuing with his support for separatist goons in Donetsk and Luhansk.