After the headlines come the details, which often contradict first impressions. Wilson, one of the most astute students of Ukrainian politics, briskly reviews the drama that has unfolded in Ukraine during the past year, as the Maidan demonstrations swelled, the Yanukovych regime shuddered and then cracked, and the Russians made moves into Crimea and eastern Ukraine. Although it might be some time before anyone knows precisely who did what during the bloody maelstrom of February 2014, Wilson’s account bears authority partly because he was on the scene. He folds each part of the story into a thoughtful history of what brought events to that point and concludes with a survey of other places in eastern Europe that might be vulnerable to Russian coercion and force, from the Baltic states to Armenia. The cast of characters is extensive and sharply drawn, beginning with a starkly dour portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, his regime, and the forces driving its foreign policy.
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