Domestic weakness pushes Putin to invade Ukraine

Russia’s preparations to invade Ukraine and threats of nuclear war should come as no surprise. Vladimir Putin is ready to resort to a level of blackmail not seen since the days of the Soviet Union, as the threat of war is the most effective way for him to shore up support for his senescent regime.

The use of foreign aggression to rally support for the regime is not new in Russia. For many Russians, the idea that they were citizens of a powerful state was historically an essential part of their identity. The annexation of Crimea in 2014 was touted as a return to Russian greatness and, in its wake, Mr Putin’s approval rating rose from 60% to 80%. The annexation inspired a wave of euphoria and mass celebrations that lasted five years.


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