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A soldier, believed to be a Russian serviceman, stands guard on a military vehicle outside the territory of a Ukrainian military unit in the village of Perevalnoye, outside Simferopol, in Crimea on March 3, 2014.
A soldier, believed to be a Russian serviceman, stands guard on a military vehicle outside the territory of a Ukrainian military unit in the village of Perevalnoye, outside Simferopol, in Crimea on March 3, 2014.
(DAVID MDZINARISHVILI/REUTERS)

Russian aggression belies a struggling economy

What’s behind Vladimir Putin’s show of force in the Crimea? Commentators are busily weighing his geopolitical goals. Less commented on is the grim economic outlook he faces at home. It’s entirely possible that one benefit of a Ukranian incursion, from Mr. Putin’s point of view, is its ability to distract his citizens from his country’s stagnation.