Russian President Vladimir Putin’s motivations for invading Ukraine must have involved a mix of strategic considerations, domestic politics, historical resentments, paranoia and various other complicated matters. But there’s a simple economic backdrop that’s worth keeping in mind.
Putin took charge in Russia at the end of the extended economic disaster that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union. He then presided over a strong recovery, which surely helps explain his long hold on power. Since the 2008 global financial crisis, though, Russia’s economy has stagnated.