Wow, I think today will go down in Russian history, filed under "bizarre."
From Julia Ioffe in The Nation
Slouching in a fancy chair in front of a dozen reporters, Putin squirmed and rambled. And rambled and rambled. He was a rainbow of emotion: Serious! angry! bemused! flustered! confused! So confused. Victor Yanukovich is still the acting president of Ukraine, but he can't talk to Ukraine because Ukraine has no president. Ukraine needs elections, but you can't have elections because there is already a president. And no elections will be valid given that there is terrorism in the streets of Ukraine. And how are you going to let just anyone run for president? What if some nationalist punk just pops out like a jack-in-the-box? An anti-Semite? Look at how peaceful the Crimea is, probably thanks to those guys with guns holding it down. Who are they, by the way?
. . . Today's Putin was nervous, angry, cornered, and paranoid, periodically illuminated by flashes of his own righteousness. Here was an authoritarian dancing uncomfortably in his new dictator shoes, squirming in his throne.
Obama: Mr. Putin threw a lot of words out there but right now facts on ground indicate he's not abiding by intl law #Ukraine— Security Clearance (@natlsecuritycnn) March 4, 2014
Putin: "Regarding the use of force, at the moment there is no need for that, but there is a possibility."— Pedro da Costa (@pdacosta) March 4, 2014
I do love that Putin is acting like he hasn't already deployed forces into #Crimea— Bradley P. Moss, Esq (@BradMossEsq) March 4, 2014
Putin asked about unidentified armed men in Crimea. Are they Russian. "Go to any shop and you can buy such uniforms." Off you go reporters.— Kevin O'Flynn (@oflynnkevin) March 4, 2014
This is a brilliant defense we need to use more often. Invasion of Iraq? That was guys dressed from surplus stores. https://t.co/7o2nFwOG58— Andrew Exum (@abumuqawama) March 4, 2014
@abumuqawama Oh, clearly. And here I thought that all but the first 300 landed on military transport aircraft.— Herb Carmen (@HerbCarmen) March 4, 2014
#Putin to a journalist: “It looks as if you’re not hearing me.” Well, this can’t be good.— N. Ó Paloff (@n_paloff) March 4, 2014
Putin to Western countries backing Kiev government: "Why are you destabilizing the country? What are you doing?!"— max seddon (@maxseddon) March 4, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin says he does not understand why West "wanted to bring chaos and anarchy to Ukraine"— James Franey (@jamesfraney) March 4, 2014
Putin seems to think the Russian reporters aren't listening closely enough & he expresses frustration they are confused by his positions.— Laura Rozen (@lrozen) March 4, 2014
Putin gives off the vibe of an exasperated teacher.— Joseph Weisenthal (@TheStalwart) March 4, 2014
Putin welcomes Tymoshenko to Moscow. In other words, that's his endorsement for who should run #ukraine— Matthew Kaminski (@KaminskiMK) March 4, 2014
Putin says troops not Russian - but apparently unconcerned that well-armed unknown force roaming around near Russian bases in Crimea.— Tony Halpin (@tonyhalpin) March 4, 2014
Putin's press conference reveals that we may have reached the weird moment when the dictator believes his own propaganda— Anne Applebaum (@anneapplebaum) March 4, 2014