Putin’s endgame is USSR 2.0, coming almost 30 years to the day the Soviet Union collapsed. His next moves come at a delicate geopolitical moment, with Western fears of a Ukraine invasion, the colonization of Belarus, a Europe-wide energy crisis, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stepping down as EU chief negotiator and concerns over US President Joe Biden’s discombobulated foreign policy.
If you’ve any doubt about Putin’s plans to roll back the clock, just read his 5,000-plus-word essay on why Russia, Belarus and Ukraine are doomed without closer integration with Mother Russia. Or his audacious demands Friday for a veto on who joins the NATO alliance and limits in stationing troops and weaponry in any country which joined the alliance after 1997.
Without firing a shot, Putin has managed to send the West into a collective panic — or at least into a position where they feel the need to appease the aging autocrat.