Is Putin Rational?

Probably. Here's How to Work With Him

Putin in Sochi, March 16, 2014.
Putin in Sochi, March 16, 2014. (Alexander Demianchuk / Courtesy Reuters)

Ukrainians are waiting to see whether Russian President Vladimir Putin, having wrested Crimea from Ukraine, will continue his advance. The outward signs point to yes. Tens of thousands of Russian troops and hundreds of tanks and other armored vehicles are amassed along Ukraine’s borders. The Kremlin insists that they are conducting military exercises, but that seems unlikely. Ukrainian armed services have caught Russian agents, tasked with gathering military intelligence and fomenting unrest, in several of Ukraine’s southeastern provinces. And border guards have stopped thousands of armed Russian “tourists” from entering Ukraine. Pro-Putin militants have seized government buildings and violently attacked peaceful demonstrators outside of Crimea, in Donetsk and Kharkiv. Meanwhile, Russia’s state-controlled channels whip up anti-Ukrainian hysteria as Putin and the Kremlin insist that the government in Kiev illegitimate.

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