It was a striking image for a traditional season of joy and hope: Russian President Vladimir Putin attending the Orthodox Christmas service all alone in one of the Kremlin’s cathedrals. This loneliness stands in contrast with his persistent attempts to show himself actively engaging with subordinates, particularly servicemen — for example, during his visit to… Read more »
Russia Remains Stuck in 2022, a Year of Miscalculated War and Deep Degradation
The new year of cheerful celebrations and renewed hopes has failed to arrive in Russia, which is sinking deeper into the vortex of President Vladimir Putin’s devastating war against Ukraine. Putin has duly delivered his traditional New Year’s message, emphasizing the sacred duty of defending the motherland (Meduza, December 31). However, his best wishes did… Read more »
Right on Its Side, but Not Might?
The lessons an ancient Greek war can teach Ukraine today. Ukraine is confronted with a stark choice: fight on through a bitter winter with death raining from above, or initiate negotiations with Russia under unfavorable terms. Two-and-a-half millennia ago, the leaders of the Greek island of Melos confronted a similar choice.
As Ukraine Conducts Deep Strikes, Russia Turns to Iran
On December 5, two Ukrainian strikes on Russian air bases deep into Russian territory and far from the frontlines produced a painful shock for Russian forces and could signify a further mutation, if not escalation, of the war. Each time Ukrainian forces deliver a long-range high-precision attack — from the sinking of the Moskva cruiser in mid-April… Read more »
Downplaying the Fall of Kherson, Moscow Aims to Freeze War
The liberation of Kherson by Ukrainian forces on November 11 was both predictable and surprising. The strategic imperative for withdrawing Russian troops from the indefensible position along the west side of the Dnipro River had been abundantly clear long before the “difficult decision” presented by the commander of Russian forces in Ukraine, Sergey Surovikin, to… Read more »
Nobel Peace Prize Honors Courage and Dignity
The Norwegian Nobel Committee had to make an exceedingly difficult decision this year. At a time of war raging in Europe, was the proposition of a peace prize even relevant? Ukraine is certainly fighting a just war and deserves every measure of support that the global West can muster, but it is still a party… Read more »
Are Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping Two of a Kind?
Democracy and separation of powers are in decline. In many countries, individuals have taken all the power into their own hands. This is true not least of Russia and China. Vladimir Putin has used his power to invade Ukraine. Recently, Xi Jinping practised encircling Taiwan. Could Xi be as willing to take risks as Putin?
Russian Assault on World Order Falters and Fails
Russia’s attack on Ukraine has clearly lost momentum, but the intensity of its multi-prong confrontation with the West keeps rising. Russian military command announced an “operational pause” in Donbas after the hard battles for Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, implicitly admitting that a regrouping of battalions, which have not been rotated in four months of fighting, is… Read more »
Japanese Perspectives on the Ukraine War
Since February 2022, Japan has imposed a series of economic sanctions on Russia, in coordination with allies in the G7, including the freezing of Russian assets and the expulsion of Russian diplomats stationed in Japan. As the first major war involving European great powers in this century, Japanese security analysts agree that the Ukraine War will… Read more »
At the 100-Day Mark, Russian Offensive Crawls toward Eventual Defeat
Modern wars are decided, according to Russian military strategy, in the high-intensity initial period, and the multi-pronged offensive into Ukraine was indeed launched with the aim of achieving a decisive success in the first couple of weeks. As the war crossed the symbolic 100-day watershed last weekend, nothing resembling a victory was discernible on Russia’s… Read more »