The price of Russia's great power ambitions

The deployment of Russian troops to Kazakhstan comes amid greater readiness by Moscow to back up its interests with money or troops abroad

Russian paratroopers ready to board a military cargo plane bound for Kazakhstan at Chkalovsky Airport outside Moscow. PHOTO: AFP
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One of the key reasons for the collapse of the Soviet Union was overextension - it was simply incapable of sustaining its military deployments while keeping up with the United States at the same time.

And nobody knows this better than Russian President Vladimir Putin, who, while bemoaning the end of the USSR as "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe" of his lifetime, vowed to avoid previous mistakes.

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