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ANTONY BEEVOR: Why the horror in Ukraine was all too predictable

No country is as much a prisoner of its past as Russia. And no leader has become as much a victim of his own obsessive lies as Vladimir Putin. But where did this tragedy for the Russian people as well as Ukraine begin? And why did we not see this coming after the unspeakable brutality of Putin’s conduct of war in Chechnya and Syria, deliberately using barrel bombs and nerve gas against civilian populations?

I certainly cannot claim to be one of the very few who had foreseen Putin’s reckless gamble of invading Ukraine. I also underestimated the lingering resentment against the West among the majority of largely older Russians who get all their news from Kremlin-controlled media.

Putin is famous for his pronouncement that the collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geo-political…

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