Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Hilary Appel

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@ 2023 Jonathan A Ip


This paper examines how Russian President Vladimir Putin attempted to legitimize the 2022 invasion of Ukraine. The paper focuses on three justifications identified from Putin’s addresses and existing scholarly arguments: the threat of NATO expansion into Ukraine; the use of historical references such as the Great Patriotic War to portray Ukrainians as neo-Nazis and Russophobes; and the reclamation of lost Russian territories through the Russian world concept. This paper concludes that Putin employed such justifications to conceal his expansionist goals of annexing Ukraine. Moreover, this paper assesses how the 2022 invasion backfired for Putin as he not only failed to capture Ukraine, but inadvertently strengthened Ukraine’s case to join NATO after the war.