aslund69_Sergei ChuzavkovSOPA ImagesLightRocket via Getty Images_russiaukrainewartanks Sergei Chuzavkov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Putin’s Failed State

Ukraine's recent successes in repelling Russian forces have highlighted the sclerosis of Russia's supposedly formidable military. Having bet everything on war and conquest, Vladimir Putin's regime is now politically bankrupt, presiding over a modern-day Sparta that cannot even win on the battlefield.

STOCKHOLM – Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine has been exposed as an extraordinary – and extraordinarily brutal – folly. So immense is his blunder that he may now have rendered Russia a failed state, defined by the Oxford Dictionary as one where the “political or economic system has become so weak that the government is no longer in control.”

That definition already appears to describe Russia’s current condition, and we can expect the war to continue to weaken the Kremlin’s authority. Putin is about to be beaten militarily by Ukraine, and that defeat will signal that Russia is not even a “regional power,” as former US President Barack Obama once dismissively described it. According to the Ukrainians, they have taken out 50 of the 120 Russian battalion tactical groups deployed to Ukraine; and Russia has only 170 such groups in total.

Ukraine owes its success in repelling Russia’s conventional military force not only to the heroism and skill of its soldiers, but also to the pervasive corruption of Putin’s regime. The Russian military has clearly been rotting from within for years.

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