Samuel RamaniAug 17, 2023
Putin's War on Ukraine
Russia’s Campaign for Global Counter-Revolution
Hurst Publishers 2023
Eight years after annexing Crimea, Russia embarked on a full-scale invasion of neighboring Ukraine in February 2022. For Vladimir Putin, this was a legacy-defining mission--to restore Russia's sphere of influence and undo Ukraine's surprisingly resilient democratic experiment. Yet Putin's aspirations were swiftly eviscerated, as the conflict degenerated into a bloody war of attrition and the Russian economy faced crippling sanctions. How can we make sense of his decision to invade?
Samuel Ramani's Putin's War on Ukraine: Russia’s Campaign for Global Counter-Revolution (Hurst, 2023) argues that Putin's policy of global counter-revolution is driven not by systemic factors, such as preventing NATO expansion, but domestic ones: the desire to unite Russians around common principles and consolidate his personal brand of authoritarianism. This objective has inspired military interventions in Crimea, Donbas and Syria, and now all-out war against Kyiv.
Ramani explores why Putin opted for regime change in Ukraine, rather than a smaller-scale intervention in Donbas, and considers the impact on his own regime's legitimacy. How has Russia's long-term political and foreign policy trajectory shifted? And how will the international response reshape the world order?