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Russia's Wounded Military

Courtesy Reuters

NOSTALGIA FOR CHECKPOINT CHARLIE

Russia's armed forces, only a few years ago the vaunted Soviet juggernaut, are now in shambles. The failure of Soviet communism and the collapse of the Soviet state have left the Russian high command with immense problems. Strategically, the forces that Russia inherited from the Soviet Union were poorly configured and deployed for the new security landscape. Internally, the economic disintegration of the Soviet Union has radically reduced military spending, leaving the armed forces impoverished with little prospect of near-term relief. Continued deterioration within the ranks has added further humiliation to the bitter memory of the U.S.S.R.'s loss of empire, raising hard questions about whether the resultant disaffection might lead to a military backlash that could end Russia's struggle toward democracy and market reform. Even before the escalation of its misadventure in Chechnya, signs of privation were rampant enough to warrant a

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