(NYTimes) MOSCOW — The partial truce that Russia and the United States have thrashed out in Syria capped something of a foreign policy trifecta for President Vladimir V. Putin, with the Kremlin strong-arming itself into a pivotal role in the Middle East, Ukraine floundering and the European Union developing cracks like a badly glazed pot.
Beyond what could well be a high point for Mr. Putin, however, lingering questions about Russia’s endgame arise in all three directions. […]
“On screen we can see that we are so strong, we are so important, we are so great,” Nikolai Petrov, a professor of political science at the Moscow School for Higher Economics, said sarcastically.
So far, however, the Kremlin can count Syria as a success. “It is very cheap, bloodless, there are no Russian victims and it is seen positively by Russian society,” said Mr. Petrov, the political science professor.
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