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What’s driving Vladimir Putin and his assault on Ukraine? | World news

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It’s been more than two decades since Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin ascended to the highest office of the largest country in the world, assuming the Russian presidency after Boris Yeltsin resigned in 1999.

In the years since, Putin has cultivated a larger-than-life image. “Very little is known about his personal life,” Sam Greene, a professor of politics and the director of the Russia institute at King’s College London tells Nosheen Iqbal. “And that’s by design. The only thing we see is carefully choreographed and designed to project a, very frankly, sexualised, masculine image of a strong leader.”

Greene has been following Putin’s career since the 90s, when he worked as a journalist in Moscow. He is the co-author of Putin v the People: The Perilous Politics of a Divided Russia. He says the president’s attitude towards Russia’s role in the world appears to have shifted over his time in office. Now, as Putin’s war in Ukraine enters its third week, and the humanitarian toll of his assault grows more dire, the world is asking: what does Putin really want, how far will he go to get it, and can the Russian people stop him?

Photograph: Alexei Nikolsky/AP

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