A Rat, Cornered

Russian President Vladimir Putin gives a speech during the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in central Moscow on May 9, 2023. (Photo by GAVRIIL GRIGOROV/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)

Vladimir Putin once told a story about his childhood. There were many rats in his apartment building in St. Petersburg, so he passed the time as any budding psychopath might, tormenting them by chasing them around with a stick.

Once, he remembered, he chased an especially large rat down a hallway until it had nowhere to run. It was cornered. So it made the only move it had left, turning around and lunging at Putin. 

We might now be reaching the “cornered rat” phase of the war in Ukraine.

What this particular rat will do once it recognizes that it’s cornered is anyone’s guess. But we should start thinking about it now that there’s every reason to believe the best days of the war for Russia are behind it.

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