Podcast: Examining Putin: his logic, mistakes, and hope for Ukraine
Listen: Not much has gone right for Vladimir Putin since Russia's invasion of Ukraine began. Ian Bremmer speaks to political scientist and author Ivan Krastev, who believes Putin has the autocrat's curse: his back is against the wall because he can't be perceived as weak. Krastev unpacks many of Putin's problems, including his expectations about the "special operation" and how badly he misread Ukrainians. Why did Putin miscalculate so deeply? Krastev offers three explanations: Putin never accepted that the Soviet Union collapsed because communism did; he thought the West was in such decline that he'd get away with the invasion; and a sense that time is running out, because the 70-year-old Putin wants to fix all of Russia's problems in his lifetime.
But how does the Russian leader feel about the war so far? Krastev believes he's definitely not happy with what's going on, but views himself as fighting a longer and more consequential battle with the West. Krastev, who is known for his recent book, "After Europe," also talks about Putin's fears about Russia's future and its shrinking demographics, noting that no one in Russia is even allowed to discuss "life after Putin."
Listen to Ian Bremmer's interview with political scientist and author Ivan Krastev.