The West’s experts on modern Russia, its national interest and its conduct of foreign policy — have had a rough 18 months.
U.S. intelligence estimates concluded in late February of 2014 that Russia’s massive military exercises on the border of Ukraine were a hollow display of force. Russia would never openly invade its European neighbor, much less annex sovereign territory into the Russian Federation. Wrong. Following the Ukrainian invasion, an ever-stiffening sanctions regime on Russian individuals and institutions was said to constitute an inflection point at which Moscow would begin to climb down from the crisis it had sparked in Europe.