A Financial Times report on How Putin blundered into Ukraine - then doubled down reveals how Putin's fixation on Ukraine and isolation from advisors led to a costly and catastrophic invasion that has depleted Russia's military resources and reputation.
In February 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine, a move that took many of his senior officials by surprise, according to the Financial Times. The report states that only a small group of Putin's inner circle knew of the plan to send over 100,000 troops to the border with Ukraine. Even Lavrov, the country's foreign minister, was not aware of the invasion until Putin called him at 1am to give the go-ahead. Putin's invasion plan was to quickly capture Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, but instead, the war turned out to be a quagmire that has depleted Russia's military resources and cut the country off from western markets.
The Financial Times report sheds light on how Putin blundered into the invasion and doubled down on his actions rather than admitting his mistake. Since Russia's seizure of Crimea in 2014, Putin's inner circle had been shrinking, and the Covid
-19 pandemic further isolated him from his liberal, western-minded advisors. He spent much of the pandemic in the company of Yuri Kovalchuk, a former physicist and media mogul who shares his passion for Russian imperial revanchism with his older brother Mikhail. Putin became fixated on Ukraine as his relations with its president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, soured.
The consequences of the invasion were catastrophic for both countries. Ukraine suffered significant destruction and loss of life, with up to 13,000 civilians and military personnel dead, and many more injured or displaced. The Russian military and its proxies also suffered high casualties, and the country faced increased international isolation, economic sanctions, and damage to its reputation. The invasion had significant political consequences, with the Ukrainian government becoming more nationalistic and anti-Russian, and the Russian government facing increasing internal dissent and a lack of trust in the Kremlin's leadership.
The article suggests that the invasion was a major miscalculation by Putin and his advisers, and that his obsession with loyalty over competence and bureaucratic culture contributed to the failure of the invasion. Despite the huge cost of the war, Putin is showing no signs of backing down, and the fallout from the invasion continues to shape the political landscape of both Russia and Ukraine.