Her disenchantment with him has shaped an increasingly firm crisis response after initial hesitancy. German willingness to reduce energy dependency on Russia will be the yardstick of how far the rest of the EU goes. Merkel is also the relationship manager with the volatile Yulia Tymoshenko, whose presidential bid may heighten tension in Ukraine.
7) EU united: The European Union has been reunited, at least for now, by the return of a common external threat. This may have helped EU leaders overcome some long-running disputes.
Greens European Parliament member Rebecca Harms joked that it was too early to nominate Putin for the annual Charlemagne prize for services to European unity, "but in the face of a new threat of war in Europe, EU states have indeed agreed on a joint strategy towards Russia."
Some EU diplomats say Poland may speed up slow-motion moves to join the euro, seeking sanctuary in Europe's inner core as the Baltic states have done.
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Polish entry would hasten the spread of the single currency to almost all EU countries, including Denmark, though probably not Sweden or Britain.
8) Contest for Central Asia: both Putin and the West are wooing central Asian autocrats in energy-rich Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan,Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, drawing a discreet veil over their human rights records. If Russia weakens economically, they will want at least a foot in the Western camp.
9) U.S.-Russian cooperation: some cooperation on global security issues will continue because Moscow has an interest in keeping it on track to avoid greater isolation. But tensions are possible over Syria, Iran, Afghanistan or North Korea, and Moscow has levers it could activate such as contracts to supply S300 air defence missiles to Damascus or Tehran.
10) Putin's future: Russia's leader is near the peak of his popularity, riding a wave of nationalist pride over Crimea. However, instability may grow if he comes under pressure from magnates angry at losing value on their businesses, forfeiting foreign investment in Russia and facing travel restrictions and asset freezes in the West. Most are 150 percent loyal for now, but things may look different in six months' time.
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