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Leonid Bershidsky

Hard Lessons From the War in Ukraine

Compromise seems impossible, neither side is sure to win and, no matter what happens, Ukraine will need lasting help from its Western supporters.

Ukrainian hero.

Ukrainian hero.

Photographer: RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP via Getty Images

Now that Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine is more than 100 days old and Ukraine fatigue is setting in for most people, I’m finally able to think more or less rationally about a calamity that has turned my world, and that of many like-minded Russians, upside down — though in a much less traumatic way, of course, than it has done for Ukrainians.

Trying to analyze the unjust war my country started will always be difficult; there’s a thin line between being analytical and being desensitized to the horror Russia has wreaked. Still, I’ve lost much sleep following events in minute detail, and I’d like to share the lessons I’ve drawn so far — with a necessary caveat. Being Russian, and having initially underestimated the madness that drove Putin to invade, I cannot make authoritative judgments.