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Moscow is changing tactics against Ukrainian political prisoners. Earlier Putin rigidly denied the fact that Russia keeps Ukrainian political prisoners; after an exchange of Nadia Savchenko, something has dramatically changed: three political prisoners has been already released, and another two are preparing to be released: Mykola Karpyuk and Stanislav Klykh, and perhaps the next VIP hostage, Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov.
The biggest intrigue is whether the release of Ukrainian hostages is the result of pressure from the West and the sanctions that were imposed against the Russian Federation in 2014. I believe that Putin cannot just act without a certain reason. The great change in the Kremlin's tactics means that Putin is always cynically using phantoms and complexes of both Europeans and Ukrainians in his own interests.
In this case, the change of attitude towards political prisoners means that Putin is trying to make the West lift the sanctions imposed after Russia annexed Crimea and occupied parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
It seems that it is the last time when the European Union prolongs sanctions against the Russian Federation, and in six months the sanctions would be lifted. Even today, the sanctions are preserved under heavy pressure from the US administration. We are well aware that Putin wants to take advantage of the pause that occurs as a result of US presidential elections.
Obviously, all these electoral and post-electoral processes would be long; they usually take half of the year. Accordingly, Putin would have semi-annual handicap associated with the October elections in America. That is why his aim is to get rid of the European sanctions.
Therefore, today Putin mimics; he enjoys the old tactic of "divide and rule" in relation with the EU. Owing to the political prisoners he creates positive impression to get the EU to cancel the sanctions in winter 2017.
We must clearly understand that in the European Union there is no unity on the issue of Russia and the sanctions. Many European politicians are corrupted, so our chances for renewal of sanctions for another six months are very small.
Therefore, we can predict that on the background of the pause in the world politics, the sanctions against Russia would not be prolonged for another six months.