The Kremlin likes the hacking attention, but not the blame

President Vladi­mir Putin is winning. For now.

The Russian leader is winning because the post-Cold War order he has railed against has been thrown into chaos, and the Kremlin’s fingerprints are widely seen to be all over it.

A year ago, Russia faced a united Europe, an expanded NATO alliance, a paucity of geopolitical allies, and the possibility of four more years of poor relations with the United States under a Hillary Clinton presidency.

Today, Putin’s military contingent in Syria just helped the government retake its second city. U.S. intelligence has concluded that his hackers worked to help elect Donald Trump, who has dismissed commitments to Europe and touted better ties with Russia.

In Washington, London, Berlin and Paris, fake news and propaganda, the hobgoblins of Soviet meddling, are dirty words again, except now they come in a shiny package of cyberattacks and WikiLeaks. Whether the Kremlin is guilty of doing all the things Western accusers say it is, Russia is now considered a master purveyor of geopolitical disorder, and that, for Putin, is a win.