How did Putin turn an entire country into a mafia state with him as the longtime boss? Is there any chance that the oligarchs would turn on Putin? Does Putin really care who joins or doesn’t join NATO? Is any of this really about Putin’s legacy or the expansion of Russia into a new USSR? Can Russia gain nothing from the invasion and Putin still come out a winner? Why is Russia’s military a shell of what the world thought it was? All of the answers to these questions are related to the fact that what we’re dealing with is less of an international politician and more of an international criminal who has stolen as much as a trillion dollars while in power. Bill Browder understands this better than everyone and, at great personal risk, he’s continued to follow the rubles to uncover the truth. “Browder, an investor and a political activist, is the architect of the Magnitsky Act, which allows the US government to sanction foreign nationals who have perpetrated human rights abuses.” The fastest way to really understand the motivations behind the invasion and how it fits into the broader goals of the Moscow Mobster is to listen to this interview of Browder by Preet Bharara.

+ Browder’s latest book is Freezing Order: A True Story of Money Laundering, Murder, and Surviving Vladimir Putin’s Wrath.

+ Meanwhile, “the United States’ much-anticipated decision to send Kyiv long-range missile systems that will allow its forces to fire farther and faster has likely come too late to save two key cities in the Donbas region that has become the focal point of the fighting. But delivery of the weapons after months of urging from Ukrainian officials will help the country’s military face the next, potentially decisive stage of the conflict.”