"Certainly the organization formerly known as the KGB has some expertise in destabilizing foreign countries, particularly through the use of provokatsiya. One of those non-Slavic words that nevertheless appear in every Slavic language—prowokacja in Polish,provokace in Czech—a provokatsiya is technically a 'provocation.' But it has a narrower meaning as well: a political event or action that the authorities, through their secret services, create to serve their own purposes," writes Anne Applebaum in the Washington Post.
"The Kremlin is testing the Western response as much as Ukraine's. Mr. Putin saw that Washington and Europe did little to help Georgia when Russia invaded in 2008 and were phlegmatic during Ukraine's three months of protests. This week's moves suggest he is now contemplating a territorial carve up of Ukraine, which is one way to ensure it stays out of the EU and NATO," the Wall Street Journal writes in an editorial.
The Russian government under the rule of President Vladimir Putin has suppressed dissent, persecuted LGBT citizens, allowed killing and torture by police, and committed other human rights violations, according to a U.S. State Department report.