VLADIMIR PUTIN works in mysterious ways. Whether or not Russia's president lives in "another world", as Angela Merkel observed, he certainly inhabits the alternate reality of Russian politics, which abides by terms and assumptions that often strike Americans as incomprehensible or mad. He also has a habit of telling demonstrable lies, such as his claim that the Russian troops in Crimea are not in fact Russian troops. But presuming that Mr Putin does have a rational strategy for intervening in Ukraine, today's op-ed by Ruslan Pukhov, head of a Russian defence think-tank, helpfully clarifies what it might be.
Mr. Putin’s aim is not a de jure separation of Crimea from the rest of Ukraine. That would be legally problematic and...Continue reading