- The Washington Times - Monday, February 28, 2022

Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice says Russian President Vladimir Putin has always been calculating, but he appears to be “descending into something I haven’t personally seen before.”

He was always calculating and cold. But this is different. He seems erratic,” Ms. Rice told “Fox News Sunday.” “There is an ever-deepening, delusional rendering of history. It was always a kind of victimology about what had happened to them [Russians], but now it goes back to blaming Lenin for the foundation of Kyiv.”

Ms. Rice, who served as secretary of state from 2005 to 2009 under President George W. Bush and studied the Soviet Union early in her career, weighed in amid rampant speculation about Mr. Putin.

Some wonder if he has fundamentally changed — either due to a health problem or aftershocks from the pandemic — or if his invasion of Ukraine is the latest chapter in a well-known pattern of aggression.

“I wish I could share more, but for now I can say it’s pretty obvious to many that something is off with Putin,” Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican and senior member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, tweeted Friday. “He has always been a killer, but his problem now is different & significant.”

Ukrainian cities are resisting a fierce onslaught from Russian forces as both sides agreed to peace talks near the Belarus border.

“We’ll see what terms the Russians offer, and I’m sure that it’s a good thing that they’re going to talk,” Ms. Rice said. “But if anything, what this may show is that Vladimir Putin expected an easy win here. He thought he would waltz into the capital, into Kyiv. In his own delusional rendering of history, Ukrainians and Russians are the same, and he would overthrow this government and might even be welcomed as a liberator. And of course, the reality has been something quite different.”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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