In the Thick of It

A blog on the U.S.-Russia relationship

War in Ukraine: RM's Most Read of 2022

December 27, 2022
RM Staff

Russia's war in Ukraine has dominated news around the world in 2022. From John J. Mearsheimer's analysis of the war's roots and Joe Cirincione's response, to predictions of Russian forces exhausting their capabilities, to the place of nuclear weapons in Russian strategy, our top 10 reads of 2022 provide insight and analysis on the complexities of Russia's war in Ukraine. Check them out below. 

Top 10 of 2022

causes of Ukraine war1. The Causes and Consequences of the Ukraine War

by John J. Mearsheimer

The United States has pushed forward policies toward Ukraine that Putin and other Russian leaders see as an existential threat, a point they have made repeatedly for many years.


Cirincione2. What’s Missing from Mearsheimer’s Analysis of the Ukraine War

by Joe Cirincione

To make the facts fit his assessment, he must disregard Russia’s own pronouncements, its brutality and the security imperatives of its neighbors. 


Russia's New Security Strategy

3. 5 Polls That Contextualize the Russia-Ukraine Crisis

by Mary Chesnut

Surveys by the Levada Center help uncover a nuanced range of Russian viewpoints and shed light on complex tensions that have persisted since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.


Culminating point4. Blog: Has Russia Reached Its ‘Culminating Point’ in Ukraine?

by Simon Saradzhyan

One recurring theme in analysis of the Ukraine war is the prediction that Russian forces will soon exhaust their capabilities, reaching what Carl von Clausewitz described as a Kulminationspunkt, or “culminating point,” of attack.


Unplugging the Baltics

5. Blog: New Polls: What Do Russians Think of the War in Ukraine?

by RM Staff

Recent polling suggests that a large share of Russians may indeed be supportive of the “military operation,” as Moscow calls it, in Ukraine—likely at least in part because of the state’s portrayal of the tensions leading up to the conflict.


Who ‘Defeated’ ISIS? An Analysis of US and Russian Contributions

6. Is a Ceasefire Agreement Possible? A Negotiation Analysis of the Russia-Ukraine War

by Arvid Bell and Dana Wolf

Putin’s goal seems to be to convince Ukraine that it is better off with an unfavorable agreement on Russia’s terms than with a terrible alternative —the complete destruction of Ukraine.


Be Careful What You Wish For: Russia, China and Afghanistan after the Withdrawal

7. Is 'Escalate to Deescalate' Part of Russia’s Nuclear Toolbox?

by Kevin Ryan

Russia's political leaders deny the existence of a supposedly new plan to use limited nuclear strikes in a local/regional conflict to shock an adversary into suing for peace. Has the U.S. misunderstood Russian intentions and plans? 


A Look at the Military Lessons of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

8. Decoding Putin’s Speeches: The Three Ideological Lines of Russia’s Military Intervention in Ukraine

by Marlene Laruelle and Ivan Grek

Putin's Feb. 21 and Feb. 24 speeches have confirmed the construction of a narrative legitimizing the military intervention in Ukraine along three key ideological lines: a historical one, an ethnic one and a political one.


Is Ukraine a Hub for International White Supremacist Fighters?

9. Is Ukraine a Hub for International White Supremacist Fighters?

by Huseyn Aliyev

Has Ukraine become a training hub for white supremacists on either side of the conflict?



10. Lessons From the Battle for Kyiv

by Alex Vershinin

The operation rapidly degenerated into an urban battle of attrition favorable to Ukraine, and eventually the Russian government withdrew its troops, conceding defeat in the battle for Kyiv, while preparing a second phase of the war in Donbas. 


Main photo shared under a Pixabay license.