There was a time when Vladimir Putin was welcomed onto the global stage.
After September 11, when the US was confronted with global terrorism, Russia’s president, having faced down homegrown terrorism in Chechnya, turned westward.
Overtures toward NATO set a cooperative tone for East-West relations, further evidence at the time that the Cold War was over.
Rising GDP following the economically unstable Yeltsin era solidified Putin’s popularity on the homefront.
The Russian leader seemed invincible, having restored a sense of pride and strength to demoralized Russians after the disintegration of the Soviet experiment.