Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul spoke to Fresh Air about the crisis in Ukraine and Russia’s increasingly authoritarian regime. In the interview he explains what he thinks Russian President Vladimir Putin wants from Ukraine:
"First of all, I don’t know. Second, I don’t believe anybody who will tell you that they do know. My best guess is that he himself doesn’t know, and let me explain that: I think that this was not some master plan that Putin’s been plotting for decades — annex Crimea and go in to take Novorossiya. In fact, I’ve been digging through old Putin speeches. I’ve never seen him devote a speech to the necessity of reuniting Crimea with Russia. That came only recently.
This phrase “Novorossiya,” New Russia, which is [used] to describe these eastern Ukrainian regions — I think he used that for the first time just a couple of weeks ago. So that actually gives me hope, because that means it’s not some grand plan, master design that he feels he is now empowered to execute, but that this is more contingent. He’s making it up as he goes and he’s calculating about the cost of direct military intervention and then occupation in Ukraine. And Putin is a smart person. He’s not doing it a vacuum, and he, I think and I hope, he knows how costly that would be.”
image via BBC