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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, along with the open threat of nuclear war, was both predictable and at the same time a shock. In this special lecture, Professor Carl Caldwell will describe the Putin regime’s official reasons for starting the war, and then take a deeper look at four explanations for the war: Russia’s claim of a natural unity with Ukraine; the role of the post-1991 solution to the end of the Soviet Union, including the expansion of NATO, in creating distrust; the place that the authoritarian and corrupt economic and political system in Russia contributes to Putin’s style of leadership, and the ideological currents that seem to be guiding Russian decision-making.