It may come as a surprise to the architects of our “Smart Power” foreign policy, but the world is not entirely rational. Vladimir Putin defies the West, which threatens sanctions – but nothing personal – and he is not deterred, even at the risk of recession. Like a lot of strongmen, Putin knows how to appeal to the mass psyche of those he rules and they seem not just willing, but eager, to follow him. So, as Henry Meyer and Yuliya Fedorinova of Bloomberg report, while:
Western leaders may think Vladimir Putin is crazy for threatening to annex Crimea and invade other areas of Ukraine. Most Russians, still bitter about the Soviet Union’s demise more than two decades ago, couldn’t be prouder.
Seventy-two percent of Russians approve of the work Putin is doing as president.