Since Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine began in February, most attention has focused understandably on the appalling loss of life in Ukraine and on the Ukrainian military’s remarkable successes against the Russian military. The toll the war has taken on Russia, however, has also been staggering. The country’s military has suffered punishing losses, and although oil and gas revenues remain robust, the economy has struggled to cope with Western sanctions. To prevent criticism of the war, Putin has resorted to a level of repression unseen since Soviet times. The costs on all these many fronts raise numerous questions: Is the Russian public’s tolerance for these hardships boundless? How will a protracted conflict affect the military and the economy? What might be Putin’s own assessment of his situation and what would need to happen for him to change course? What might the Russia that emerges from this war look like?
Discussing these questions are Philip Short, author of the forthcoming biography Putin (July 2022), Yevgenia Albats, Editor-in-Chief of the Moscow-based The New Times, and Andrew Weiss, Vice President and Director of Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, and author of the forthcoming graphic-novel biography Accidental Czar: The Life and Lies of Vladimir Putin (November 2022).