Financial TimesFinancial Times

Putin’s ultimate aim is to seal Russia off from the west

By Tony Barber

21 Feb 2023 · 2 min read

Dig deep into Putin’s state of the nation speech, and you will find an argument for the “reconstruction of Russian society on a permanent, non-western basis,” argues The FT’s Tony Barber.

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President Vladimir Putin has not only doubled down on his war of aggression in Ukraine but mapped a course for domestic politics, the economy and culture that reaffirms his goal of achieving a decisive break between Russia and the west.

Putin’s state of the nation speech on Tuesday offered no hope that he would wind down the war, now entering its second year, or retreat from his ambition of carving up the Ukrainian state.

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