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A woman holds a board displaying a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin during a procession in central Moscow, March 2, 2014. People gathered on Sunday to support the people of Crimea and Ukraine, and to protest against the policies conducted by Ukraine's new authorities recently elected in Kiev, according to organizers.
A woman holds a board displaying a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin during a procession in central Moscow, March 2, 2014. People gathered on Sunday to support the people of Crimea and Ukraine, and to protest against the policies conducted by Ukraine's new authorities recently elected in Kiev, according to organizers.
(SERGEI KARPUKHIN/REUTERS)

MARK MACKINNON

To understand Putin, view the world through a different lens

In trying to understand why Russian President Vladimir Putin seems intent on seizing Crimea and breaking Ukraine, many observers try to impose a Western mindset on the Kremlin ruler. Surely he won’t risk seeing his country ostracized? Surely he understands the damage this will do to Russia’s already imperiled economy?