By the end of the Cold War, the West has gotten to know a voice of sanity from Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, or "Gorby" as West Germans tenderly called. He was a smart politician, a politician indeed rather than a supreme ruler of the second most powerful superpower equipped with the deadliest weapons of mass destruction.
The first step should be for the European Union to follow US policy in putting Igor Sechin on the sanctions list of individuals subject to travel bans and asset freezes. The US included Sechin on its list because of the immense influence he has exerted during Russia's lurch towards authoritarian nationalism.
I have always admired the expressiveness of the Russian language. Popular turns of phrase that have become enshrined in everyday language reveal quite colourfully Russians' attitudes towards themselves and ongoing events. In particular I am struck by the way Russians reflect on failure with easy humour, as captured in the phrase 'they hoped for better, but it turned out as usual'.
Putin may win permanent control over the Crimea, but at the cost of abandoning his hard-earned cover of non-interventionism that has coloured Russia's image in the international community, revealing an attitude of pure self-interest that cannot be reconciled with UN values of international peace and cooperation.