The Russian establishment has been angry with the West before but rarely so filled with contempt. It is far worse than several years ago, when tensions rose to fever pitch over a pro-Western revolution in neighboring Ukraine, sold on Russian television as a nationalist uprising with echoes of fascism.
“No one was scared by the first  sanctions, it was almost fun,” said Andrei Kolesnikov, a veteran member of Vladimir Putin’s press pool, who co-wrote a 2000 book of interviews with the Russian president and traveled with him to Finland recently. “Now there’s a sense among Russian officials that everything is very serious. And they’re all looking at Vladimir Putin to see what to do.”
A common adage about Putin is that he is a canny tactician but a poor strategist. He has taken the upper hand in conflicts with neighbors such as Ukraine and Georgia, and in so doing, surrounded himself with enemies. With Trump’s growing political impotence, Russia’s cyber-intervention in the 2016 elections now seems similarly pyrrhic. “I don’t think he knows how this ends,” Kolesnikov said. “The rules are now being made up on the fly.”