Of all the tasks facing Western analysts and policymakers today, few can be more important than trying to understand the mind and goals of President Vladimir Putin.
One of the very best sources of insights into Putin’s thinking and character, and how they have changed over the years, is the magisterial biography Putin: His Life and Times by Philip Short, published in 2022. Mr Short has written that “To explain is not to justify. Putin’s regime is dark. He pursues his goals relentlessly by whatever means he thinks fit. But on closer examination, much of what we think we know about him turns out to rest on half-truths.”