The past week has been nothing but a string of bad news for Russian President Vladimir Putin. In the wake of the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, almost certainly by Russia-backed and Russian-led insurgents in Eastern Ukraine, the United States and the European Union have mustered the will to impose sanctions that have some real bite. Meanwhile, there is widespread agreement that Putin stumbled badly with his plans for "Novorossiya"—the archaic, Tsarist-era term for Eastern Ukraine that he and his propagandists have dusted off.
As Putin learned the hard way, "Novorossiya" is no Crimea, writes Cathy Young. There are many signs that Putin's billionaire pals are already chafing at the costs of his adventurism. Today's Russian elite, unlike the Soviet-era nomenklatura with its home-based dachas and luxury foods, has a lot to lose in the West. Putin's patriotic and imperialist fever may prove to be the start of his final crisis, Young argues.