Last September, Russian President Vladimir Putin was given a history lesson from a schoolchild. Putin was lecturing a gathering of students in the far-eastern city of Vladivostok about the merits of possessing “knowledge of the past” to have a “better understanding of today.” In one exchange, he invoked the great legacy of Russian czar Peter the Great, who he said defeated the Swedes at the Battle of Poltava in the Seven Years’ War against Sweden in 1709.