Russian President Vladimir Putin often evokes the Soviet Union's epic defeat of Nazi Germany during World War II to justify his country's invasion of Ukraine.
Yet Putin is committing some of the same blunders that doomed Germany's 1941 invasion of the USSR -- while using "Hitler-like tricks and tactics" to justify his brutality, military historians and scholars say.
This is the savage irony behind Putin's decision to invade Ukraine that's become clear as the war enters its second month: the Russian leader, who portrays himself as a student of history, is floundering because he hasn't paid enough attention to the lessons of the "Great Patriotic War" he reveres.
"I have been trying to make sense of this for a month, because as terrible as Putin is, you could never say he was illogical," says Peter T. DeSimone, an associate professor of Russian and Eastern European history at Utica University in New York.
"All of this is illogical, and that's the scary thing," he says. "This is not normal for what he's done in the past. This is something that makes no sense on many levels, and not just in regard to World War II."