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BBC: How two years of war in Ukraine changed Russia

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Russia after wo years of war

As I stood watching Russians laying flowers in memory of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, a young man shared his reaction to Mr Navalny's death in prison.

"I'm in shock," he told me, "just like two years ago on 24 February: when the war started."

It made me think about everything that has happened in Russia these last two years, since President Putin ordered the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

24 February 2022 was a watershed moment.

But looking back the direction of travel had been clear. It was in 2014 that Russia had annexed Crimea from Ukraine and first intervened militarily in the Donbas; Alexei Navalny had been poisoned with a nerve agent in 2020 and jailed in 2021. Domestic repression in Russia pre-dates the invasion of Ukraine, but it has accelerated since.

As for Vladimir Putin, two years into this war he sounds increasingly confident and determined to defeat his enemies at home and abroad. He rails against America, Nato and the EU and presents Russia's war in Ukraine as a war on Russia by the "collective West", an existential battle for his country's survival.

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