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Russia is in crisis – Noah Rothman Commentary Magazine

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Even before Russian forces poured over the Ukrainian border on February 24, experts on the region were quick to dispute the popular notion that Moscow’s aggression was irrational. After all, rationality is in the eyes of the beholder. Russian officials likely believed that the Kremlin’s view was convincing enough to convince them that such a risky and morally perilous gambit was worth it.

Both in Ukraine and West, the Russians misjudged their enemies. Russian forces are bogged down where they’re not in outright retreat. Now, Moscow is beginning to act in ways that are contrary to its declared goals, and this is almost at the brink of despair. Vladimir Putin’s regime may still be rational, but rationality implies predictability. Of late, Russia’s behavior has become less predictable and more erratic, which suggests we’re approaching a uniquely dangerous new phase of this conflict.

Moscow has not suffered humiliation as severe since the Russian forces abandoned their pincer movement to encircle the city of Kyiv. Even as Ukrainian forces mounted a methodical but forward-moving counteroffensive in the South around the city of Kherson, they executed a surprise blitz into Russian-held territory near the border and around Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city. The Russian line fell apart…



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