As we consider how the war in Ukraine will end, we must first understand how it began. Russia invaded for geostrategic reasons – having Ukraine as a buffer state safeguards Moscow from invasion from the west – and for economic reasons, which have often gone overlooked. The transition from the Soviet Union to the Russian Federation wasn’t exactly lucrative. It may have increased total wealth, but Russia remains a poor country. Its gross domestic product ranks just behind South Korea’s, a respectable placement but hardly where a superpower should be. And in terms of per capita GDP, Russia ranks 85th, nestled between Bulgaria and Malaysia.
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