Putin Seeks Revenge on a World Order He Once Wanted to Join

February 13, 2024

The scene in Sochi encapsulated Putin’s world view: a staged demonstration of Russian might in the face of what he sees as disrespect for his country’s place in the global order. In Ukraine, Putin is attempting to strike his own decisive blow against the US and Europe to reshape that global order to Russia’s advantage. Months after Putin was last re-elected, in 2018, Russia hosted hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors for football’s FIFA World Cup. In that honeymoon period, Putin even suggested Russia could join the NATO alliance that he now declares an existential threat to his country. “I guess the problem was their geopolitical interests and arrogance toward others.”A senior adviser to Putin at that time said the Russian leader genuinely wanted to build closer ties with the West.