How Putin’s Lies Are Driving the War in Ukraine


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Russia’s mythmaking—about its place in the world and the role Ukraine plays in its history—has made the world a more dangerous place. Russian President Vladimir Putin is the chief storyteller—and his version of events has even warped American thinking about Ukraine. Why didn’t the West react more forcefully in 2014, when Russia first violently took Ukrainian territory? Why is Ukraine’s post-Soviet history so different from Russia’s? And what can Ukrainians teach Americans about democracy?

Timothy Snyder is an expert on Ukrainian history and began warning about the dangers Russia poses long before Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine last February. He is the Richard C. Levin Professor of History and Global Affairs at Yale University and the author of several books, including Bloodlands, On Tyranny, and The Road to Unfreedom. In September, Snyder traveled to Ukraine and met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

We discuss what’s at stake in Ukraine, what a Ukrainian victory might look like, and why using the word “stalemate” to describe the war is misguided.

You can find transcripts and more episodes of The Foreign Affairs Interview at

26 episoder