Michael Weiss

Russia Is an Arsonist, Pretending to Be a Fire Safety Inspector

The Moscow playbook: predict chaos in Ukraine, then unleash it.

For Yuriy Sergeyev, the Ukrainian ambassador to the United Nations, the last 72 hours of Russia's stage-managed separatist ferment in Ukraine's eastern and southern regions don't remind him of Moscow's invasion and annexation of Crimea in March. That's because the diplomat's memory goes back much further than that. "The Soviet Union organized separatist movements, and these movements organized pseudo-referenda and immediately demanded military support," Sergeyev said. "It happened in all three Baltic states in the 1930s. The Soviets also tried to do the same in Finland. They failed. It's why they launched a war and tried to occupy all of Finland."

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Who Speaks for Crimea's Tatars?

FP talks to Mustapha Dzhemilev about his besieged people and bizarre conversation with Vladimir Putin.

The former chairman of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, or regional parliament, Mustapha Dzhemilev is still considered to be the father of the Crimean Tatar cause. His community, which he refers to as the only truly "indigenous people" of the Ukrainian peninsula which was invaded and annexed by Russia in February, numbers a mere 300,000 out of a population of 2.35 million, owing to the forced population transfers of the Tatars to Siberia and Central Asia ordered by Josef Stalin in 1944, an act the Mejlis consider to be a modern genocide. (Many Tatars were allowed back into Crimea during the glasnost period of the Soviet Union, but millions more remain as part of a far-flung diaspora.)

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The Russians Are Coming

10 very good reasons not to believe Vladimir Putin when he says he's totally not going to invade eastern Ukraine.

Late on Friday afternoon, news broke that Russian President Vladimir Putin had called President Barack Obama to discuss the possibility of a diplomatic resolution to the crisis in Crimea. The two agreed to dispatch their chief emissaries to talk details about how to diffuse the situation. But while a settlement might now be a possibility, United States and NATO intelligence assessments agree that the likelihood of Russian troops crossing the border into eastern (and possibly northern and southern) Ukraine grows by the hour. So, is this another Putin psych-out? It may well be.

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Married to the Ukrainian Mob

Meet Dmytro Firtash, the shady billionaire at the heart of Russia’s energy stranglehold over Kiev.

Buried in the news of Russia's invasion, and now annexation, of the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea was the second most important event to affect the new Ukrainian government last week -- and it happened in Austria. On the evening of March 12, one of the most notorious Ukrainian oligarchs, Dmytro Firtash, whose fortune has been estimated at anywhere from $673 million to the tens of billions, was arrested in Vienna, right outside of one of his offices in the Margareten district. Neither he nor his bodyguards put up a struggle, according to press reports, although Group DF, the massive international holding company Firtash owns, has said in a statement that the whole thing was a "misunderstanding" which would be "resolved in the very near term."

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The 750 Million Dollar Man

How a Swiss commodities giant used shell companies to make an Angolan general three-quarters of a billion dollars richer.

Revolutionary communist regimes have a strange habit of transforming themselves into corrupt crony capitalist ones and Angola -- with its massive oil reserves and budding crop of billionaires -- has proved no exception.

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