Russia is the largest country on the planet. It straddles nine time zones, is the largest energy producer and possesses half the world's nuclear warheads.

But Russia is not the former Soviet Union.

Since the Cold War ended two decades ago, the new emerging Russia has been largely defined by two men, Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin.

Yeltsin presided over the dismemberment of the old Soviet Union and the reckless privatisation of state assets.

Washington saw this chaotic free-for-all as a new wild west and assisted the plunder.

When Putin took over the presidency in 2000, he was determined to rid Russia of Yeltsin's embarrassing legacy and to stop the rot.

As Putin begins his third term as president, flexing his muscles at home and abroad, we ask: Can Russia be a superpower once again?

 


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Source: Al Jazeera