Till 1990 the world was dominated by two military powers namely the Soviet Union or the USSR and the United States. In those days Soviet Russia was the counterpoise to American military power all over the world. The Russians had nearly 300 submarines which prowled the oceans and were a significant threat to the west. The Soviet Union collapsed, and the successor state had just half the resources and population of the old Soviet state.

Russia also slipped in its great power status. The recent missile attacks ordered by the US President Trump was with the sure knowledge that there would be no retaliation from Russia.

CNN has reported that over 100 cruise missiles were fired at Syria. Though they perhaps did not achieve anything but more importantly they demonstrated to the world that there is only one military power and that is the United States.

Vladimir Putin

Russia under Vladimir Putin has been trying hard to regain the position occupied by the Soviet Union as a world power. Unfortunately, the population of Russia is half of the Soviet Union, and this affects manpower and gross national product. Russia is not in a position to match the Americans. One can see that where the Russian military budget is $70 million the American budget is over $600 million.

The earlier era of Stalin

During the era of Leonid Brezhnev and earlier Josef Stalin, the Soviet Union was more than a match for the American military power.

Soviet Russia intervened at all places to counter the United States whether it be Bangladesh or Vietnam. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the scenario has changed. Russia is no longer able to exert itself on a global scale the Russian could do nothing to stop the invasion of Libya and the overthrow Gaddafi as well as the Hanging of Saddam Hussein.

President Obama had referred to Russia as a regional power, and this was not to the liking of the Russian president.

As things stand at the moment, Vladimir Putin has a long road ahead. Russia despite the best efforts may not be able to match the American global reach and power. This is not to suggest that Russia is finished as power but just to highlight that Russia is no longer the power it was during the Soviet Union days.


The Russians still have a formidable military, but it is only close to their own borders. One cannot think of the Russian navy operating in faraway waters like the Pacific and Atlantic as they simply do not have the ships, the workforce, and aircraft carriers. Putin is trying desperately to restore the old glory but it appears an uphill task, and the chances are that in the future the place of the Soviet Union will be taken over by China and that will be a disconcerting thought to the Americans