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  • Smart takes    March 4 
Maybe Ukraine should hope Russia keeps Crimea
Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images
Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images

Crimea is a beautiful, verdant, beach-ringed peninsula with strategic importance as a Black Sea port. But if Russia plans to keep Crimea, Ukraine may want to let Russian President Vladimir Putin keep his "expensive, Pyrrhic victory," says NYU professor Mark Galeotti in his blog, In Moscow's Shadows. Galeotti explains:

Strictly from a coldly logical position (and I am not advocating this, I should add), in many ways it is in Kiev's interests for Moscow to steal Crimea, and turn it into some pseudo-state or new part of the Russian Federation. Ukraine loses a sunny peninsula, but also a distinct drain on the state's coffers (the Crimean economy is not great, and the region receives net subsidies from the center). It sheds the most troublesome and Russophile of its regions, one which has been a turbulent locus of trouble for Kiev for most of post-Soviet Ukraine's history. It also gets concrete proof of the threat it faces from Russian bullying and probably accelerated and solicitous assistance from the U.S., EU, NATO, etc. It also validates every Ukrainian fear about Russia. [In Moscow's Shadow]

Galeotti further argues that the best weapons against Putin are measures to freeze the assets and ban the travel of Russian elites. "Putin is nowhere near as powerful at home, within the elite, as before," he adds. Sometimes the bold move isn't the smart one.

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