This is a very real question. Vladimir Putin may not seem to fit the role of what has been perceived for so long as a ruthless dictator. After all, he has been interviewed on Western media and though he comes off as a tough guy, he still seems to be a somewhat reasonable person. In order to decide on this, we must look at Putin’s actions from the prism of recent world history.
Vladimir Putin is not a newcomer to battle. The present invasion of Ukraine is not the first time he has crossed the border. It is at least the 3rd time. Crimea has been a critical location that Putin has made it a point to attack and conquer. Putin basically is a dictator who’s main concern is the trustworthiness of his inner circle. They are his #1 threat.
He knows that he has ossifying nuclear weapons that are still powerful and dangerous. But time is not on his side – in every way. The world’s dependence on gas and oil is decreasing precipitously with the great move to electric cars. Putin also knows that a return to a Republican administration in Washington in 2024 would mean that America would not be scared to bomb and put Russia back in it’s place, or place truly crippling sanctions on Russia.
China is still very dependent on Russian gas and oil, but not for long. Within a decade or so, that dependence will decrease. Germany’s dependence will go down too. It really is now or never for Putin to reposition Russia as a force in Eastern Europe and to reestablish Russia as a world force in the future.
Putin cares less about the tens of thousands of lives that have been lost and that will be lost in the future. It is a truly dangerous time in the world. The only way to stop Putin will be when he is check-mated out of action. The difficult part will be figuring out how to do this without causing another World War.