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In the year since Crimea voted in a fake referendum to join Russia, the world has changed: Post-Cold War rules no longer apply, and old enmities suppressed for a quarter-century are back in the open.

This shift is well illustrated by the way Russian President Vladimir Putin has, since last year, altered his story of the annexation. His March 18, 2014, address to parliament formally proposing that Russia accept Crimea was regal in tone but often evasive in content: “I will tell you straight: If the local self-defense forces of Crimea didn’t take the situation under control in a timely manner, there could have been casualties. …We are told about some kind of Russian intervention or aggression in Crimea. That’s a strange thing to hear. I can’t remember a single episode from history when intervention took place without a single shot and without casualties.”

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