None of this has happened. Ukraine has proved a hard nut to crack, and the reaction of Western countries, particularly Germany, has been far fiercer than he thought. Russia’s economy has already been savagely hit. Putin’s one big friend, China, now seems worried that this Western upsurge of anger might, one day, be turned against China itself – and that serious damage could be done to the Chinese economy. It has already distanced itself from the invasion.