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Putin’s Idol and Why It Matters

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Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with government members via a video link in Moscow, Russia March 10, 2022. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS

The Russian leader continued his ruthless persecution of the Ukrainian people long after the battlefield slaughter officially came to an end. His principal goal was to deny his victims their fundamental right to a legitimate, distinct national identity.

That historical summary may eventually apply to Vladimir Putin, but it accurately describes the policies of Peter the Great (1672-1725) 300 years ago. The all-powerful czar is Mr. Putin’s personal hero and is credited with transforming a backward and isolated Russia into a feared world power. Understanding Mr. Putin’s admiration for this larger-than-life figure (historians estimate Peter’s height as at least 6 feet 8 inches tall) provides context for Russia’s current war against Ukraine… Click here to read the full column at WSJ.com.

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