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Putin is once again President of Russia, and is taking bold steps in Ukraine. Follow the story through these selected NewsScope archives.

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Putin's Russia
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Russia Flexes its Muscles

NewsScope, April 14, 2014; Following U.S. economic sanctions against Russia for its incursions into Crimea, Russia initiated its own round of economic warfare last week by raising the price of gas 80% -- which Ukraine has declined to pay. Meanwhile, some 40,000 Russian troops supported by hundreds of tanks were positioned near Ukraine’s eastern frontier “at a state of advanced readiness”, according to NATO high command.
Russia’s horoscope (June 12, 1990; 1:45 pm; Moscow) accurately reflects the crisis atmosphere, since its progressed Sun is now at 13º Cancer – exactly in line with April’s Grand Cross. Transiting Mars, the fastest-moving planet involved in the Grand Cross, activates the other three outer planets (Jupiter, Uranus and Pluto) over the next ten days when the most militant elements may strike. But Mars returns to this critical degree in June and also opposes Russia’s progressed Mars in July, creating an ongoing, intense military situation.

If Russia is serious about not wanting to invade eastern Ukraine, even as pro-Russian activists in Donetsk have seized government buildings, then the next potential conflict is the escalation of economic warfare. Russia’s chart features Neptune, the natural ruler of oil and gas, in the 4th house of domestic assets. Its location at 13º Capricorn places it in the midst of the Grand Cross, forcing us to recognize that some 40% of Russian gas exports to Europe pass through Ukraine.
Currently, transiting Pluto is turning retrograde while exactly conjunct Russia’s Neptune, allowing it to manipulate gas supplies as a political and economic lever. Transiting Jupiter is conjunct Russia’s progressed Sun in Cancer, which brings opportunities for making grandstand plays. Transiting Uranus in Aries squaring these planets lends itself to sudden and unexpected developments. Using a combination of military threats and Europe’s dependence on Gazprom, Russia’s influence over Ukraine is strong.
Putin’s Stars 

NewsScope, March 3, 2014; Perhaps one of the best techniques to determine history-making events and people is the use of the fixed stars. Astrologer Bernadette Brady has listed the key stars that can turn what seems to be an ordinary chart into one that produces personalities driven to make an impression on history. Vladimir Putin (October 7, 1952; 9:30 am; Petrograd, Russia) is a case in point.
Heading Brady’s list are the four Royal Stars (Fomalhaut, Aldebaran, Regulus, and Antares), the major stars of Orion (Rigel, Betelgeuse, and Bellatrix), plus Sirius, Spica, and Canopus. Putin was born with his Mercury conjunct Spica where it’s fortified by a network of aspects to other planets. In the 12th house, Putin’s Mercury makes him a master tactician, like a geopolitical chess player. Putin’s progressed Midheaven is nearly conjunct his Mercury, activating this region of his chart.

Currently, Putin’s progressed Ascendant is at 9º Sagittarius, where it conjoins the militant star Antares. During the Winter Olympics, transiting Uranus was trine his progressed Ascendant, when most of the world was favorably impressed by his fulfilled promise to make the Games secure from terrorism. Last week, when the New Moon in Pisces squared his progressed Ascendant, the Russian parliament approved Putin’s request to use the military in Ukraine’s Crimea region.
Adding a militant flavor to his chart’s current conditions is a square between his progressed Mars and Jupiter, while transiting Mars is conjoining his Mercury. More troublesome is that he has a progressed Moon-Lilith conjunction in three months near Regulus, the star associated with royalty. All these planetary connections to some of the most important stars urge the individual into history-making roles and decisions, which Putin is now aggressively fulfilling.

Vladimir Putin, 
The World’s Most Powerful Person

NewsScope, Nov. 4, 2013; Last week Forbes magazine came out with its annual list of the world’s most powerful people, and surprisingly, Vladimir Putin 
Putin was born with his Libra Sun conjunct Saturn and Neptune (October 7, 1952; 9:30 am; Petrograd, RU), a signature that naturally finds personal power (Sun) through the control (Saturn) of the oil business (Neptune). With Scorpio Rising, Pluto is the ruler of his chart. Its placement at his Midheaven confirms a dominating leadership position. Pluto’s conjunction with Black Moon Lilith infers a master of intrigue, knowing how to manipulate the unseen levers of power.

The real test for Putin came in 2003 when his progressed Mars was squaring his Ascendant. The challenge came from oil billionaire Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who claimed Russian politics were marred by corruption. Putin had him arrested on charges of fraud and tax evasion, and on December 19, 2004 auctioned off his Yukos oil properties to pay for back taxes. The winning bid came from a group secretly controlled by Putin himself.

The astrological indicators at the time of the auction suggest Putin had achieved total control: his progressed Midheaven was conjunct his Sun, and transiting Pluto trined his tenth house Pluto. Another peak in Putin’s status is taking place right now: his progressed Moon is exactly conjunct his Midheaven, perhaps indicating that he is proud of his #1 billing from Forbes. Watch for fireworks next year when the transiting Uranus-Pluto square aligns with Putin's Sun as Kodorkovsky is released from prison. 
There's much more on Russia on Page 2, including the invasion of Georgia, Putin and the oligarchs, rival Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and Russia's claim over the Arctic Ocean.
topped the list, replacing Barack Obama, who fell to the #2 spot. The Russian president is also reputed to be the world’s wealthiest man, worth some $40 to $70 billion due to his hidden control of Russia’s oil and gas monopolies, namely Surgutneftegaz and Gazprom.

Ukraine’s Twelfth House

NewsScope, March 3, 2014; Last Friday ousted president Viktor Yanukovich resurfaced in 
Ukraine declared its independence during some planetary oppositions between Leo and Aquarius (August 24, 1991; 5:31 pm; Kiev, Ukraine), which suggests the national split between the autocratic east and democratic west. The Virgo Sun conjoins Venus and the brilliant star Regulus, an opulent combination showing the leadership’s penchant for the trappings of royalty. All this was illuminated last week when journalists arrived at Yanukovich’s countryside palace filled with luxurious décor and treasures.

The condition of the 12th house planets in mid-Capricorn explains why this country is becoming the epicenter of April’s Cardinal Grand Cross. Juno, the partnership asteroid, is next to some seriously heavy planets (Uranus, Lilith, and Neptune), symbolizing the secret alliances and hidden power plays over Ukraine’s allegiance. The four planets involved in April’s Grand Cross are all aligned with Ukraine’s 12th house planets, with exact hits to Black Moon Lilith.
What makes the situation a powder keg is that Mars, by secondary progression, is at 9º Libra and heading into a square with natal Uranus at 10º Capricorn. Challenging Mars-Uranus combinations are infamously volatile and violent. This situation is already a major factor and becoming more explosive over the coming year. The most immediate concern is the extent of Russia’s incursion into Crimea. With transiting Pluto in the 12th house and conjunct Black Moon Lilith over the next two weeks, a large-scale invasion becomes a real possibility.

Viktor Yanukovych at the Crossroads

NewsScope, Feb. 10, 2014; While sports enthusiasts celebrate the Winter Olympics in Sochi, politicos have been more interested in the meeting on the sidelines between Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Ukraine is at the center of an intense geopolitical struggle between its traditional ally Russia and the more democratic European Union, and both sides are using their financial influence to establish Ukrainian loyalty.
Yanukovych was born with a Sun-Mercury conjunction in Cancer (July 9, 1950; Yenakiyevo, Ukraine; time unknown), the sign that bestows strong emotional ties to the homeland and an intense need for a protective shell that protects against life’s vicissitudes. The question for Yanukovych and his people is, will the EU or Russia provide that safety net? His Sun-Mercury squares a Mars-Neptune conjunction in indecisive Libra, and he has gone this way and that since being re-elected in 2010.

The critical turning point came on November 21, 2013 when Yanukovych rejected a trade deal with the EU only days before it was scheduled to be signed. At the time, the transiting Uranus-Pluto square was nearing its alignment with Yakukovych’s Mars. Violent protests broke out in response and have been going on ever since. Also at the time, transiting Saturn was forming a trine to his Cancer Sun, indicating the deal that he secure with Russia. 
Yanukovych’s Venus-Saturn square denotes the intense poverty of his childhood, and his deepest need to be free of monetary woes. All this makes him receptive to financial manipulation, including to his political backer, the gangland oligarch Rinat Akhmetov. Protestors have demanded that he cut his ties with this billionaire, and with Putin as well. Yanukovych’s Sun, Mercury, Mars and Neptune are all lined up with this year’s transiting Uranus-Pluto conjunction, putting him at the celestial crossroads between Russia and the EU.
​Russia, saying he would fight for his country. “Nobody deposed me” he said. Meanwhile, Russian military forces took control of Crimea, a Russian dominated peninsula technically governed by Ukraine. The rapidly developing crisis brought immediate reactions from the international community as Putin moved to protect Russians threatened by what he called ultra-nationalist forces.
I'm an astrologer doing some research on Russia. In your articles on Russia, you're using a chart for June 12, 1990, 1:45 pm in Moscow. What event occurred on this date that you see it as the beginning of a new Russia - end of the Soviet Union? What was your source for the time?

A. As the Soviet Union was breaking up, the Russian Parliament declared the sovereignty of the Russian Federative Republic on this date and time, according to Nicholas Campion. It was a critical moment in the development of Russia's right to control its own internal affairs independent of the Soviet government. It's chart #273 (p 266) in Campion's Book of National Horoscopes (2004 edition). Charles Harvey also uses this chart in his book Anima Mundi (p.196), and my Russian correspondent Boris Izraitel writes that this is the chart most preferred by Russian astrologers.
Poroshenko was born with his Libra Sun square Jupiter (September 26, 1965; Bolgrad, Ukraine; time unknown), giving him a large presence and bigger-than-life personality. Popularly known as “The Chocolate King” for his immensely profitable stake in the confectionary business, Poroshenko is an oligarch worth some $1.4 billion. His Venus, as the natural ruler of sweets, is enriched by favorable aspects to the outer planets. 

But in terms of what trouble could arise during his tenure, we look to Mars, also strongly placed in Scorpio. Mars gains missionary zeal by its wide conjunction with Neptune, and is further enhanced by a close trine to Ceres in Pisces. Due to these favorable natal placements, the activation of his natal Mars can generally be a positive, constructive phase. Transiting Saturn is heading into a conjunction with his Mars in November.
The scene gets a bit tricky when we look at his progressed Mars, which is now at 29º Sagittarius. It’s about to enter Capricorn and by the end of this year will oppose Jupiter. Progressed Mars opposite Jupiter can be described as militarily adventurous, and can make the new president over-confident. His chart becomes even more militant over the coming years as progressed Mars squares his Sun and his progressed Sun conjoins natal Mars. This double influence identifies him with the most combative elements in his domain.
Petro Poroshenko, 
The Chocolate King President

NewsScope, June 9, 2014; “European 
democracy for me is the best form of government invented by mankind,” said Petro Poroshenko when he was inaugurated president of Ukraine last week. His bold statement signaled his intention to not tolerate Russian aggression in Crimea or eastern Ukraine, although his business ties to Moscow led many to believe he could negotiate a peaceful co-existence with Putin and the Russian government.