Russia’s Victory Day, 9 May, was the first occasion since he started massing troops on the Ukrainian border late last year in preparation for an ill-considered adventure, that Vladimir Putin played his hand competently. Or it could be that he will do all the things he had been predicted to do on Victory Day but did not – declaring all-out war with general mobilisation, resorting to chemical or nuclear weapons – at a later date. This remains to be seen.