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Putin's Invasion Part I: How We Got Here

How It Happened


Politics, News, History

4.84.6K Ratings

🗓️ 5 March 2022

⏱️ 32 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


In part one of How it Happened: Putin's Invasion, Axios world editor Dave Lawler presents reporting and analysis from the Axios newsroom on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Lawler shares insights from a career covering global affairs and dozens of interviews with experts and high ranking officials about how Russian President Vladimir Putin came to power and how the autocrat has wielded it. The podcast also features Jonathan Swan, Axios national reporter and host of the first season of How It Happened, speaking about his exclusive Axios on HBO interview with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Credits: Putin's Invasion was reported by Dave Lawler in collaboration with the Axios newsroom and produced by Naomi Shavin with help from Sabeena Singhani. Julia Redpath is executive producer. Alison Snyder is the series editor. Sara Kehaulani Goo is the Editor-in-Chief. Mixing, sound design, and music supervision by Alex Sugiura. Additional mixing by Jayk Cherry. Theme music and original score by Michael Hanf. Special thanks to Axios co-founders Mike Allen, Jim VandeHei and Roy Schwartz.

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I'm Dave Lawler, the author of Axios World.


I started covering international affairs about a decade ago,


and it would have been impossible to cover what was happening around the world


without writing an awful lot about Vladimir Putin.


But it was really two or three years ago that I decided to go deep into who this guy was


and how he had changed the world.


We were coming up on Putin's 20th anniversary in power, and I have always been


fascinated by Putin's Russia, by the fact that this one man was making decisions


that we were feeling all around the world.


One of the first things I learned was that Putin, when he came into power,


was sort of all things to all people.


Everybody saw in this guy what they wanted to see.


And over the last 22 years, he's really gone to places that we never thought he would.


Several months ago, I started to wonder whether Putin might go further than he ever had before.


Not just nibbling at the edges of a neighboring country, but fully invading and going for the


capital. We started getting these warnings from US intelligence that more and more troops were


headed to the border, that these were not ordinary military exercises.


And then about a week before the invasion, Putin started making moves that seemed very ominous.


We've been building to this point for at least eight years,


since Putin first made his move into Ukraine.


But then, all at once, it was a full-scale invasion.


We had this moment where Putin was announcing what he called a special military operation.


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