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Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine — cutting off his own nation of nearly 150 million and torpedoing its economy in pursuit of a delusion — marks the start of a final act for Russia’s president. Not yet the end.

Swept up by the charm of Ukraine’s comedian-turned-president, the bravery of the country’s defenders and the blunders of Russia’s armed forces, some may think that a miscalculation on this scale will trigger the swift demise of the longest-serving Russian leader since Josef Stalin.

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