Feb. 15, 2024 |

Putin’s dreams. Last week, the U.S. television host Tucker Carlson, formerly of Fox News, interviewed Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. Asked why he invaded Ukraine in February 2022, to Carlson’s surprise, Putin spoke for half an hour about his views on Russian history—and how they now entitle Moscow to take control over Ukrainian territory and call it Russia.

In May 2022, Anatol Lieven, the senior research fellow on Russia and Europe at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, examined Putin’s interpretation of history. To Lieven, Putin’s reading of Russia’s past is careful elaborate but inaccurate and ultimately illogical, a distortion that mostly serves to justify his agenda for expanding Russian power—even as it yields the irony of a military operation that’s destroyed whatever political sway he and Russia once had among the Ukrainian people.