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Unpacking Putin's 'Denazification' of Ukraine and My Forecasting Failure

MIN READMar 9, 2022 | 21:01 GMT

A photo taken at a Moscow metro station on March 1, 2022, shows a mosaic panel depicting the liberation of Kyiv by Russia's Red Army in 1943.

A photo taken at a Moscow metro station on March 1, 2022, shows a mosaic panel depicting the liberation of Kyiv by Russia's Red Army in 1943.

(ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images)

Last week, my colleague wrote why he was wrong about Ukraine. This week, it's my turn. I was also wrong about Ukraine. I thought the Russians would formalize their de facto control of the separatist republics in eastern Ukraine's Donbas region and perhaps grab a bit more territory in the surrounding areas (and near the Crimean Peninsula, which they had already annexed). But I did not think Russia would launch a full-scale invasion. In retrospect, there were many reasons for my analytic failure -- not least of which was underestimating Russian President Vladimir Putin's risk tolerance. But one key indicator I undervalued was Putin's focus on the supposed need to ''denazify'' Ukraine in advance of the invasion. Had I given more weight to that variable, I may have forecast differently. Below is an initial review of what ''denazification'' means in this context, how I misjudged the importance of Putin's use...

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