For Putin, a year of successes and failures — on Ukraine, NATO and the West

By Michael Birnbaum, December 20, 2014

MOSCOW — A year ago, most Ukrainians didn’t want to join NATO. U.S. tanks weren’t doing training exercises near the Russian border. And a dollar bought 33 rubles.But after the most tumultuous stretch of President Vladimir ­Putin’s 15 years in power, Russia is confronting a new reality. Ukraine — the part not held by rebels — has turned firmly toward Europe. NATO troops are on alert in the Baltics, hard up against the Russian frontier. And the ruble has lost nearly half its value against the dollar, wiping away years of gains for the Russian middle class.Read full article >>