Gregor Peter Schmitz is the Berlin Bureau Chief for the German ­magazine WirtschaftsWoche and the coauthor with George Soros of The Tragedy of the European Union: ­Disintegration or Revival?
 (February 2016)

The Future of Europe: An Interview with George Soros

Supporters of the Russian annexation of Crimea at a rally in Red Square, Moscow, March 18, 2014
The oligarchs who control much of the Russian economy don’t have any confidence in the regime. They send their children and money abroad. That is what makes the economy so weak. Even with oil over $100 a barrel, which is the minimum Russia needs to balance its budget, it is not growing. Putin turned aggressive out of weakness. He is acting in self-defense. He has no scruples, he can be ruthless, but he is a judo expert, not a sadist—so the economic weakness and the aggressive behavior are entirely self-consistent.