From yesterday’s Vladimir Ryzhkov column in the Moscow Times:
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s attempt to restore Russia’s influence over the former Soviet republics has failed miserably. Moscow’s standing in the region is weaker now than it was even eight years ago, when Putin took over the presidency from Boris Yeltsin. This is a direct result of Putin’s failed policies during his two terms as president — the inability to modernize the economy, the systemic destruction of the country’s democracy, the sharp rise in corruption and the increase in the monopoly control of key industries under his state capitalism model. If you add to all of this a countless string of inept foreign policy disasters, it is easy to understand why Russia’s neighbors have turned their backs on Moscow and are looking to Western military, economic and political institutions for support and cooperation.