Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center Resident Senior Fellow Anders Aslund writes for The American Interest on the similarities between the strategies and rhetoric of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Czar Nicholas I: 

 Putin cherishes some history lessons. In early 1904, before the disastrous Russo-Japanese War, the czarist minister of interior Vyacheslav von Plehve famously said: “We need a small victorious war.” That war, of course, was neither small nor victorious, but Putin has built his successful career on a skillful application of Plehve’s insight: Use foreign policy boldness to sustain political power at the center.

Thus, in 1999, Putin rose to popularity by promising to kill Chechens in response to a number of house bombings that were not actually carried out by Chechens. His second successful war was a figurative one against oligarchs in 2003-4, when he confiscated Russia’s biggest private company, Yukos, without legal ground. In 2008, Putin launched his short, ideal war for five days against Georgia.

Read the full article here.

Related Experts: Anders Åslund