by Peter Zeihan on October 19, 2022
Many people would consider it difficult to manage a country like Russia. It’s not. Or at least for Vladimir Putin, he’s following a well trod path mapped out for him by the former Soviet Union and its heavy-handed imperial predecessor. The Russian center maintains absolute control, and any internal threats are simply crushed.
Putin, like his predecessors, must maintain a sprawling internal security apparatus and intelligence service, to infiltrate and eliminate (often defenestrate) any would-be competitors or questioners of his rule. Is this particularly good for economic and social development? No. But, Putin has managed to stay in power for decades. But one of the most salient downfalls of such a system is the concentration of authority within the hands of a chosen few. Chosen by whom? Not fate, or success, or a meritocratic system. But by Putin. So Russian leadership now is more or less a fraternity of people who neither threaten nor challenge Putin, and the greatest distillation of the shallowness of the depth of expertise of such a system is current Russian performance in its invasion of Ukraine.