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University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation

Putin’s Playbook

March 01, 2022
Noel Foster


In analysis for Political Violence At A Glance, an IGCC-supported blog dedicated to political violence and its alternatives, IGCC Postdoctoral Fellow Noel Foster analyzes the motives for and possible outcomes of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine appears irrational and self-destructive. After all, he had already mobilized over a quarter of his combat forces, stripping his border with China, and expended considerable resources, with no concessions to show for it. He has wrong-footed his advocates in Europe and America pleading for accommodation and arguing he would not invade. He has sent unwilling conscripts into battle. Why?

Putin’s motives might seem a puzzle, had he not been so consistent in expressing them since 2006. In his February 21 televised address, a rambling forty-five-minute speech that—unironically—decried oligarchical corruption and depopulation in Ukraine while proposing a distorted historiography and threatening Kyiv, Putin again articulated Moscow’s position as a revisionist power. Beyond Ukraine, he rejects an international order that undermines Russia’s standing, as he defines it. He demands veto power over the foreign relations of key states in Russia’s near abroad. He seeks the “democratization” of international relations that would give Moscow a greater role in the international system.

Read the full blog post at Political Violence At A Glance.

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