A week ago, Vladimir Putin seemed unstoppable. His troops had crossed into Ukraine in overwhelming numbers, and it seemed it was a matter of days until resistance was crushed.
The West looked powerless to do anything about it. The US and its allies failed to agree the unprecedented sanctions they had threatened, instead delivering a few limited measures against individual oligarchs and banks.
Mr Putin was the master manipulator who had outplayed the West. The enduring image of him was the swaggering figure who bullied his National Security Council in front of the cameras in a vast marble Kremlin hall. But a week can be a long time in war. Mr Putin cut a diminished figure as he met the same National Security Council by video link from an undisclosed location on Thursday.
There were dark patches beneath his eyes and he seemed to falter as he stood to honour the Russian dead.
Away from the cameras, according to US intelligence claims, there have been uncharacteristic bouts of fury. The usually ice-cold Mr Putin has been feeling the heat and taking out his frustrations on his inner circle.
This was the week in which Mr Putin lost control on multiple fronts: militarily, on the battlefield in Ukraine; economically, at home in Russia, and diplomatically, as the West united against him.
On the second day of the invasion last Friday, the situation looked bleak, but there were already small signs of what was to come. The Pentagon noted Russia had failed to take control of Ukrainian airspace and Russian troops advanced more slowly than expected.
Thousands of Russians had taken to the streets to protest against the war, despite threats of arrest.
Initial Western sanctions were limited, but German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had surprised everyone by suspending the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
And stories of courage were beginning to come out of Ukraine. A recording was doing the rounds on social media in which Ukrainian troops refused to surrender with the words: “Russian warship, go f*** yourself.”
And President Volodymyr Zelensky scotched rumours he had fled with a self-filmed video standing shoulder to shoulder with ministers in the heart of the capital. “The president is here. We are all here,” he said.
The next day it emerged the US offered to exfiltrate him from Ukraine to safety to lead a government in exile. “The fight is here,” he replied. “I need ammunition, not a ride.”
As video emerged of abandoned Russian tanks, Ukrainian resilience began to have an effect on the West.
Germany and Hungary had held out against expelling Russia from the Swift international banking system, but on Saturday they agreed, and the sanctions started to become meaningful.
The same day Germany dropped its opposition to arming Ukraine and announced it would send rockets and missiles.
But a bigger blow was to come for Mr Putin on Sunday, when Chancellor Scholz announced Germany was overturning its entire defence policy and rearming with an immediate €100bn of new military spending.
The word in Berlin is that it was Mr Zelensky who changed Mr Scholz’s mind.
A video conference between the Ukrainian president and EU leaders is said to have had a profound effect on Mr Scholz. “This may be the last time you see me alive,” Mr Zelensky reportedly told them.
Mr Putin had lost control of the narrative to Mr Zelensky, and it was starting to have an effect.
That same Sunday, in the first clear sign Moscow was rattled, Mr Putin ordered Russia’s nuclear defences to be put on alert in a televised meeting with Sergie Shoigu, his defence minister.
The look of unguarded fear on General Shoigu’s face said it all. Russia’s invasion was going wrong, and the stakes were getting higher.
By now it was clear the war was not going according to plan. Mr Putin appeared to have banked on a swift race to Kyiv, the killing or capture of Mr Zelenksy and the decapitation of the Ukrainian regime.
But the dash for Kyiv had failed. The Ukrainians fought back and Russian forces were getting bogged down.
Worse was to come for Mr Putin as the toughened sanctions started to take effect on Monday. The rouble suffered a record fall of 30pc and panicked Russians started queuing at banks to get their savings out.
Mr Putin held a televised meeting with his most senior economic advisers and again it was the expressions on their faces that told the story.
Mr Putin had spent years building a war chest of $630bn (€577bn) in foreign reserves, and believed he could weather the storm. But then came the hammer blow, as the US, UK and EU placed sanctions on Russia’s central bank, cutting off its access to those reserves held abroad.
Major Western companies were dropping Russian investments as fast as they could. BP announced it would withdraw from a $14bn stake in Rosneft, the Russian state oil company. Shell said it would withdraw from €3bn projects with Gazprom, the Russian state gas company.
The Russian economy went into freefall. There were warnings Russia could default on its sovereign debt.
The West has gone after Russian oligarchs from Mr Putin’s circle, with France and Germany seizing their yachts.
But it’s not just the super-rich who are affected. Russia has been cut off from the outside world after its airlines were banned from European airspace and their leasing agreements for most of their aircraft were hit by sanctions, with reports of planes being impounded in foreign airports.
Apple and Ikea suspended sales in Russia; Volkswagen ordered an immediate halt to exports; BMW stopped production at a Russian factory, and Ford pulled out of a joint venture, while Hollywood pulled new releases from Russian cinemas.
By now it was clear that Russia’s post-communist dream of a Western consumerist lifestyle was dead, buried in the rubble of Kharkiv and Mariupol.
On the ground in Ukraine, things continued to go badly for Mr Putin. The Kremlin appeared to have abandoned hope of a swift operation.
“I want to say that the special military operation is going strictly according to schedule, according to plan,” Mr Putin told a televised meeting of his National Security Council on Thursday, but his insistence betrayed him. He was trying too hard to convince.
Gone was the pomp and bombast of a week ago, as Mr Putin held the meeting by video conference from an undisclosed location.
But Mr Putin is not down and out yet. Most analysts agree he can still turn things around on the battlefield by returning to tried and tested Russian tactics of inflicting maximum destruction.
Civilian targets have come under heavy artillery bombardment in recent days, and there are fears Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities could face the same fate as Grozny and parts of Aleppo, which were razed by Russian forces.
There are growing calls from the West for Mr Putin to be overthrown – one prominent US senator called for him to be assassinated.
But it is far from clear whether anyone in Russia is prepared to challenge his rule. Seasoned Russia observers agree his fate is now inextricably entwined with that of Ukraine.
If Russia does not prevail in the war – or Mr Putin does not find some formula that allows him to claim victory – he will not survive in power.
How far he is prepared to go to achieve that remains to be seen. Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, warned this week that a third world war would be “nuclear and destructive”.
Telegraph Media Group Limited