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The Kremlin will soon wish it were still dealing with a Ukrainian president who so much resembled its own.
The Russian authorities have never been inclined to consider Ukraine a truly separate state.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nostalgia for the Soviet Union appears unlimited, and he is now resurrecting perhaps its most notorious feature: the purge. Recalling the Stalin era, the recent arrests and imprisonment of numerous regime figures have fueled a pervasive sense of fear among the country’s elites.
Will Russia equally fall for a political outsider? Only time will tell.
Over the next few years, the Kremlin will be able to observe what happens in practice when the informal authority of the nation’s leader and the post of president—the main instrument for creating that authority—are separated.
Nuclear deterrence can serve as a pillar of international security only in conjunction with negotiations and agreements on the limitation, reduction, and nonproliferation of nuclear weapons. Without them, deterrence fuels an endless arms race, while any serious crisis between the great powers will bring them to the brink of nuclear war.
Strategic stability has fundamentally changed in the twenty-first century. To maintain or even strengthen it requires many long-standing ideas and policies to be rethought and overhauled.
One of the paradoxes of Putin’s Russia is that the harsher the stance of the current regime, the higher the level of Stalin’s popularity within Putin’s electoral base and the more likely these Russians are to make excuses for the Soviet dictator.
Despite their troubles, Europe and the US are not withering away. It would behoove Moscow to avoid escalations.
Russia’s concerns that U.S. missile defense and hypersonic missiles threaten its nuclear arsenal are overstated, but the deterioration of arms control treaties has profound negative implications.