Staunton, June 22 - With the occupation of Crimea and with the encouragement of the Kremlin, many Russians believe they are on their way to becoming a super power once again, but the most thoughtful among them recognize that Russia lacks two if not three of the elements a super power must have.
For a country to have that status, bombast is not enough. Instead, it needs an advanced economy, an ideology attractive to many people around the world, and a military that can rely on more than just a nuclear arsenal. Russia falls short in each of these sectors but has in fact on certain measures has fallen further behind than it was when Vladimir Putin came to power.
Three articles in the Moscow media over the last several days make that clear. On Thursday, the editors of "Nezavisimaya gazeta" pointed out that the share manufactured goods form of all Russian exports has fallen from almost nine percent when Putin became president to only "a little more than four percent" now (ng.ru/editorial/2014-06-18/2_red.html).