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As Rome Burns, Putin OKs Crimea Gambling Zone

Russian president Vladimir Putin, facing financial sanctions, signs in a legislation which will produce a 'gambling area' in annexed Crimea. But could his timing be any worse?

The old story about Roman emperor Nero fiddling while his city burned to the bottom features a mythic quality that could be applied to Vladimir Putin today. Dealing with an international scandal after Russia's seeming involvement in shooting a Malaysia Air passenger jet out of the sky, the Russian president has chosen now to okay a new gambling zone in Crimea; a small region simply to the south of Ukraine, where the horrific incident took spot week that is last.

Of course, unlike Nero, Putin remains firmly in control of all things Russian, and has borne the brunt of surprisingly little outrage that is international the incident that has been allegedly carried out under his military's auspices.

Putin signed into impact a legislation this week which will transform the annexed territory of Crimea into a gambling zone for Russian holidaymakers. In the light of recent events in Eastern Ukraine, Putin, faced with the prospect of increased US/EU sanctions, could quite possibly have opted for a more apposite moment to make this specific announcement, but he's nothing if not bull-headed, and it's clear he is determined to create the area economically self-sufficient.

Russia overran the territory that is largely russian-speaking the Ukraine in March, following a r