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Egypts military chief Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, second left, and Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, left, are escorted by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, right, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as they enter a hall for their two-plus-two talks in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014.
Egypts military chief Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, second left, and Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, left, are escorted by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, right, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as they enter a hall for their two-plus-two talks in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014.
(Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP)

Mark MacKinnon

Sochi has given Putin back his geopolitical swagger

There was an unmistakably satisfied grin on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s face as he presided over the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics 10 days ago.

Why not? After a long decline on the international stage, quite a lot is going Russia’s way.

Moscow matters again. And, to the consternation of leaders in the West, Russia under Mr. Putin sees its interests – on almost every major file, from Egypt to Syria to Ukraine – as being the opposite of whatever the United States and European Union want.