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tv   Washington Journal Timothy Frye  CSPAN  March 4, 2022 11:26am-11:38am EST

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your time this morning. we are out of time. we will have to leave it there. thank you for coming to washington post live, and have a good day. amb. bolton: thanks for having me. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2022] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> coming up shortly, the un security council will hold an emergency meeting to discuss russia's invasion of ukraine. watch live at 11:30 a.m. eastern here on c-span. until then, we will show you a portion of this morning's "washington journal." some time.
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how would you characterize his current leadership? guest: the invasion of ukraine marks a very different >> the invasion of marks a different policy for put in around crimea, georgia, syria. s. he was much more opportunistic taking advantages of what the situation would give him. there was always a precipitating event that led him to introduce troops. this isn't to invade ukraine, it is far different. there is no precipitating event. the action was planned and telegraphed much in advance. the scope and scale of the actions is so much greater than his past behavior. we can look at the decision to use force in ukraine really is a departure from past practice. host: given vladimir putin's view on ukraine, we've talked about this with our viewers a
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number of times, was it faded to have happened? did it matter if president biden was in there or president trump? was this a piece of vladimir putin's foreign policy he needed to accomplish? guest: i think that when historians write this conflict and political scientists analyze it they will overestimate the extent to which this was inevitable. much seems inevitable in retrospect. at the same time i think that we are all surprised by the invasion. certainly many russians are shocked by the invasion. they didn't expect this. putin did not expect ukrainian resistance to be so strong. he was surprised by how the west reacted. i think we need to recognize that this was a voluntary decision by a single individual taken with consultation from
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likely a subset of the dozen or so people on the security council in russia. we should also remember that the reason that politicians give for why they do things are often not the real reason. part of the reason why putin has made this claim that ukrainians and russians are one people is because i think he does believe that. it is not a view that is widely held by russians and certainly not by ukrainians, but it is also an instrumental view that he tries to use, because he thinks that politically it is palatable. the western alliances have always been strong, even under president trump. there would be great consequences of the foreign invasion of ukraine. this is more driven by single individual and domestic politics in russia than by the west's actions. host: knowing what you know
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about vladimir putin and his history, do you think that he has gamed this out beyond potential, eventual conquest of ukraine? guest: leaders are often quite optimistic about what they can accomplish during war. this is not unique to putin. i think that the russia-kyiv strategy, he was very confident. they didn't introduce their full set of troops the way they might have if they expected greater resistance. i think he is very surprised by the government in kyiv, that they didn't flee, they decided to stand and fight. he seems to have this odd notion that there is a -- a dis column in ukraine waiting to be liberated.
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i think that he has misread the situation and part of that is general optimism that politicians have when they go to war. part of it is also likely due to the fact that he is very isolated. he sees a very small number of people on a regular basis. for people outside of that inner circle, they have to wait for 14 days in quarantine to meet with him due to his fear of catching covid. all of these reasons suggest president putin has really misread the ukrainian situation. host: i want to invite our listeners and viewers in on the conversation with timothy fry will stop the line for democrats is (202) 748-8000. republicans, (202) 748-8001. independents and others, (202) 748-8002. as you dewpoint your interest to a recent piece by our guest at, the headline is putin's war at home, how
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conflict in ukraine complicates his balancing act. you wrote, "for almost two decades putin deftly balanced the dual threats that confront all autocrats, coups from other elites and protests from the masses. a booming economy in the first half of the century allowed him to consolidate power and his successful annexation of crimea in 2014 insured his place in russian history. yet as the warm glow of his crimea success faded, putin has struggled to find a narrative to legitimate his rule." what do you mean by "warm glow?" guest: after the annexation of prime you president putin -- annexation of crimea president putin's approval ratings jumped. this allowed him a four-year period -- he relied on
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oppression, certainly, but he could also rely on the genuine support of a large section of the population. what has changed his economic growth has been stagnant for a decade. the foreign policy success of the annexation of crimea at home has worn off. there is a great deal of food and fatigue within russia. he has been in power for 22 years and people don't expect great initiatives or a new direction for the country from him. propaganda doesn't seem to be working as well as many russians are going away from state television towards social media to get their news. in the last three years putin has had to rely heavily on oppression. the role of security services at home and abroad have increased dramatically. even among the foreign policy elite i don't think that there is a lot of support for this invasion of ukraine. i want to
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emphasize that this is a decision taken by a small group in russia, but when you have an autocratic regime around an individual that is how foreign policy decisions of this magnitude are made. host: biden imposes new sanctions on oligarchs. who are these oligarchs, and why are they important in vladimir putin's rule? guest: the oligarchs come in a variety of flavors. that is not a very precise term. there are the business oligarchs, like the one who owns the chelsea football club, or alexey who runs a steel company. they have taken advantage of their proximity to the kremlin to tilt the playing field in their favor and to grow rich. there are other oligarchs who run state companies who are appointed by putin in the gas
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sector, energy sector, banking sector. those economic set of elites have been gradually pushed out over the last eight years. elites that are really making the call on national security and foreign policy are a small group of elites who have been under sanctions for some time, including the head of the security services, the defense minister, the head of the security council, and the head of foreign intelligence. that is pretty much putin's war cabinet. the sanctions for them have a somewhat different effect. they have no expectation that they will ever be accepted in western society the way that his economic elites have been. it looks like they are willing to really tie their fate to putin's decision to invade ukraine, and it would be very difficult to peel them off.
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host: to reiterate what you just said in your piece you said this about sanctions. they will stoke broader economic uncertainty potentially erasing one of putin's greatest achievements. the real damage to the russian economy will come less from sanctions and the entrenchment in power of those who resist modernization and it will widen the gap between those who want to bring the russian economy into the 21st century and those who do not. i've heard russia's economy, size-wise, compared to italy. no knock on italy, but why does vladimir putin not when they broader global economy for russia? guest: the inner circle on which he relies and the elites on which he relies benefit from slow growth in russia, even as the country as a whole grows
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slowly the profits that they are able to gain from their monopolistic positions within russia and their business transactions abroad backed by the kremlin allow them to grow fantastically rich. and buy apartments in new york, >> you can watch the rest of the program if you go to our website, we go now to new york city where the un security council is holding an emergency meeting to discuss russia's invasion of ukraine. this is live coverage here on c-span. >> good morning. the 8986th meeting of the secretive council is called to order.


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