Putin’s push into Ukraine could be his Tiananmen Square

Most analysts of the Ukraine crisis ask why Russian President Vladimir Putin would risk international condemnation – and potential military confrontation – with his aggressive military moves in Crimea.

A dominant line considers a Putin who is nostalgic for the Soviet empire and with a deep-seated desire to reconstruct a modern, greater Russia.

While he may have broader irredentist goals and be willing to throw the dice on Ukraine to this end, his calculation of the costs of invading Crimea needs also to be understood as a move for his personal political survival.

When looking to history, the Russian military moves in Ukraine may resemble Hitler’s “Anschluss” – the German annexation of Austria leading up to WWII – but the real effect is for this to be Putin’s “Tiananmen Square.” (read more)