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Condi Rice: Putin Expected “Easy Win” in Ukraine

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speaking at KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit in 2016. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images for KPMG)

By Fran Beyer | Sunday, 27 February 2022 11:51 AM

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Sunday said Russia’s President Vladimir Putin expected an “easy win” in Ukraine and instead is stirring up “a hornet’s nest” in Europe and in his own home country.

In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Rice said Putin may have bitten off more than he can chew in his invasion of Ukraine.

“Vladimir Putin expected an easy win here,” she said. “He thought he would waltz into the capital, it into Kyiv, in his own delusional rendering of history, Ukrainians and Russians are the same, and he would overthrow this government and might even be welcomed as a liberator.”

“And of course the reality has been something quite different, so perhaps this is a little bit of a signal that the Russians bit off more than they can chew,” she said.

According to Rice, Putin has stirred up “a hornet’s nest” both in Europe and at home.

“Seeing the Germans be among the first to come out and say ‘yes, we should do the SWIFT removal,” she said, referring to a network that connects banks around the world and is considered the backbone of international finance. “‘Yes, we are going to increase our spending beyond 2%. Yes, Netherlands and others, you can transfer German weapons, and by the way, we will transfer some on our own.’ He has stirred up a hornet’s nest,” she declared.

“We need to make sure it stinks him and stings him hard,” she asserted. “Back in Russia people have got to be asking if the last 30 years of being better integrated into the international order, of being able to go to graduate schools and places like Stanford and Harvard, being able to buy Western goods for your kids, is Putin putting all of that at risk with now the isolation of Russia so it begins to look again like the Soviet Union that was isolated from the world?”

“For Russians who don’t even remember the Soviet Union, this has got to be a terribly bitter pill to swallow,” she said.

Rice said people in both the Ukraine and “a huge population in Russia” know the government isn’t telling them the truth.

“I’ve been told the Russian television is playing [World] War II and Nazis and so forth, but nobody under the age of 40 in Russia watches television,” she said. “They are on the internet. They can see what’s happening there. He’s having a harder time hiding his crimes than he did even in 2008.”