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Putin's power over the post-Soviet region weakens as Ukraine invasion fails

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  • When Putin invaded Ukraine, experts speculated that his ultimate goal was the restoration of the Russian Empire.
  • But as the war dragged on, Putin’s attention and military power turned to Ukraine.
  • Now some of his post-Soviet allies have expressed frustration at Moscow’s lack of aid.

When Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a unilateral attack on Ukraine in February, experts said he expected a quick victory and would launch efforts to restore the Russian Empire or the USSR. said it was possible.

Instead, seven months later, Putin’s power over the post-Soviet region could be more precarious than ever, as his attention and military power remain focused on Ukraine.

Russia’s lack of leadership in Central Asia and the Caucasus, which straddles the Black and Caspian Seas, has led to violent border clashes and frustration from Putin’s allies in the region, according to a new report published in The New York Times. There is

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and even before Putin came to power, Russia has insisted on maintaining its influence over post-Soviet countries, said Taras Kuzio, a professor of political science at the Mohyla Academy of Kyiv State University. says Mr.

“Moscow has never truly accepted the 1991 ruling and has always sought to maintain imperial influence across the former Soviet Union,” Kuzio wrote in the Atlantic Council article.

Especially in Ukraine, Putin’s desire for the West to leave the former Soviet Union is clear. One of Putin’s reasons given for the aggression was the eastward expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. He demanded that Ukraine, considered an ambitious NATO member, not be allowed to join the alliance.

Experts speculate that Putin was driven by a deeper ambition: a historic country that predates the Soviet Union and includes Ukraine, Finland, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. A desire to restore the Russian Empire, among other nations.

But now, “evidence of Russia’s waning influence can be seen across the post-Soviet world,” Cuzio said. “On the Ukrainian frontline, Putin’s invading army suffers from an increasingly glaring manpower shortage, mocking attempts to portray Russia as the world’s second-largest military power.”

A violent border dispute between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, a member of a military alliance with President Putin, Russia has done little to address. According to The Times, Kyrgyzstan’s President Sadir Japarov recently said, “Of course they are distracted by Ukraine.”

Armenia, another member of the military alliance, is at odds with Azerbaijan and is seeking help from Moscow, but without success, The Times reported.

This alliance, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, is made up of six post-Soviet countries and is endorsed by President Putin as its NATO counterpart. But that too appears to be in jeopardy as Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, furious at Moscow’s lack of support, threatens to leave the alliance.

To make up for major losses, Russia will also need to withdraw troops stationed in several post-Soviet countries and send them to the front lines in Ukraine, and that Russia’s power is waning. is being made known to these countries again, Mr Cugio said.

Meanwhile, the lack of Kremlin leadership in the region leaves room for other states to intervene.

“Russia’s humiliating military setback in Ukraine and its economic isolation from the Western world have confirmed China’s status as a junior partner,” Kuzio wrote, adding that “China will replace Russia as a central Asian country.” It has become a preeminent power,” he added.

In addition to waning influence over the post-Soviet state, Russia’s relationship with its powerful partner is also in a state of uncertainty after Chinese and Indian leaders publicly acknowledged their concerns over war in Ukraine last month. be.

Since then, Putin has escalated the war, but Russia has suffered a series of humiliating defeats, including the explosion of a key bridge connecting Crimea to mainland Russia on Saturday.

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