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Op-ed: Keep your eyes on Russia for an August surprise of Putin’s making

2020-08-02 08:56:10       source:CNBC

August 1, 2020

For all the legitimate focus on rising U.S.-Chinese tensions, this summer’s sleeper surprise for the West is more likely to emerge from Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

That’s because the built-in contradictions between Russia’s international ambition and domestic rot that have always characterized Putin’s rule, now into its 21st year, are coming to head in a manner that provides him both greater opportunity and peril.

The brutal effectiveness of his thugocracy state is increasing, with a military modernization that includes a newly detected test of anti-satellite space weapons, highly publicized advances in hypersonic technologies, and worldwide intelligence operations that effectively employ advanced technology and a lower-tech army of mercenaries.

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