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WAR PEACE

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
HEAVY HAND Russia’s military engagements are small, but Putin is building up the idea that his country is on the verge of a cataclysmic conflict that will require all of Russia’s resources.
MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/TASS/GETTY

PUTIN

RUSSIA, SURROUNDED BY ENEMIES, IS READYING TO FIGHT an epic war for survival. At least that’s what Vladimir Putin wants his countrymen to think. Nearly every evening, Russian state-controlled television leads news broadcasts with video of Russian planes in action over Syria, interspersed with images of NATO tanks and troops menacing Russia’s borders. On 60 Minut, Russia’s top-rated political talk show, analyst Nikita Isayev recently spoke of Russia’s “great victory” in Syria heralding the country’s return to “superpower status.” And in late November, Putin put Russian business on alert: “The ability of our economy to increase military production and services at a given time is one of the most important aspects of military security”, he told a meeting of top military brass in Sochi. “All strategic and simply large-scale enterprise should be ready.”

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Senior Russians Talk about not if but when there is going to be a major war - and that’s the way Putin likes it.