Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Putin's Hubris And Isolation Led Him To War

The Washington Post examines the roots of Russian thug and war criminal Vladimir Putin's gross miscalculation of Ukraine's desire for independence and willingness to fight for it:

"How could Russia — a country with such deep familial, cultural and historic ties to its western neighbor — get Ukraine so wrong?

Officials in the United States and Europe are piecing together the answer to that question. What emerges, those officials say, is a picture of a hubristic and isolated leader, beset by biases and skewed information, pressing forward with a calamitous decision without consulting his full cohort of advisers. Putin rushed headlong into Ukraine, confident in his ability to secure a quick victory and weather any blowback within the authoritarian system he erected at home, they said. Underpinning his assumptions: misconceptions about Ukraine fundamentally rooted in Moscow’s colonial past.

'Historically, there just hasn’t been expertise on Ukraine in Russia at all,' said Alina Polyakova, president and CEO of the Washington-based Center for European Policy Analysis. 'When you don’t believe a country’s a real country and a people’s a real people, why would you invest any expertise in a thing you don’t think exists?'”  (our emphasis)

Putin has frequently expressed his anger at the West's dismemberment of the Soviet Union, and his desire to re-create a "Greater Russia" that, for starters, would include Ukraine. Having no military experience himself, he was nonetheless the primary architect of the botched invasion, believing the Ukrainians would welcome Russian forces and the government would fall within days. As someone who created an information bubble around him (he doesn't use a smart phone or access the Internet), he was ignorant of attitudes and situations in Ukraine and among NATO countries, having marinated in Soviet propaganda most of his life. 

No one dared bursting Putin's authoritarian information bubble for fear of arrest or worse. Ironically now, in his search for scapegoats to shift blame, Putin is reported to have arrested 150 members of his intelligence service, the FSB. The head of Putin's foreign intelligence service, Colonel General Sergei Beseda moved to the high-security Lefortovo Prison. As Putin's failures mount, one can expect the purges to expand as they did in Soviet times.

(photo: Mikhail Svetlov / Getty)

No comments: