How Putin’s War in Ukraine Has Ruined Russia

Issue Date July 2022
Volume 33
Issue 3
Page Numbers 38–44
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Read the full essay here.

The first two months of war alone turned the Russian clock back decades, undoing thirty years of post-Soviet economic gains and reducing the country to an international pariah state. Three decades after the collapse of the Soviet empire, Russians are being dragged back in time to when Soviet citizens lived isolated from the rest of the world, in a bubble of failed ideology and misinformation. That system fell apart under just the kind of autarky and autocracy that Putin hopes to reimpose. Just as the Soviet system collapsed, Putin is also failing Russia, erasing the gains of the postcommunist period in a feckless attempt to rebuild a doomed empire.

About the Author

Kathryn Stoner is senior fellow and the Mosbacher Director of the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at the Freeman Spogli Institute, professor of political science at Stanford University (by courtesy), and senior fellow (by courtesy) at the Hoover Institution. Her most recent book is Russia Resurrected: Its Power and Purpose in a New Global Order (2021).

View all work by Kathryn Stoner