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Russia’s president has seized Crimea and destabilized Ukraine. What drives him?
As Putin continues to menace his neighbors, Western analysts are revising their assumptions about Russia’s cocksure President. A series of early predictions—that he wouldn’t seize Crimea, or that seizing Crimea would satisfy him—are up in smoke. After agreeing to a mid-April diplomatic deal that promised to de-escalate the crisis, Putin trampled on it. People who until recently scoffed at the notion of a new European war—one that could draw in NATO and the U.S.—watch the escalating violence in places like Odessa with rising anxiety. “This is real,” says Michael McFaul, President Obama’s last ambassador to Moscow. “This is war.”