Professor Jonathan Alderman writes on Forbes:
World War II, as Studs Terkel declared, was a “good war” for the US that led to superpower status, economic boom and atomic monopoly. For the Soviet Union, victory over Nazi Germany led to the deaths of 10 million soldiers and 17 million civilians while another 25 million people lived in holes in the ground by 1945.
While the disintegration of the Soviet Union was a major victory for the West, it was for Putin, the greatest disaster of the 20th century. Russia, losing half its population and Eastern European empire, went from being a superpower to being derisively called “upper Volta with nuclear weapons.” Earlier in the 20th century there were other disasters: the Japanese victory in the 1905 Russo-Japanese War, massive defeats in World War I that led to the February and October Revolutions, the Russian Civil War (11 million deaths) and the horrors of the 1930s.
So get it straight: Russia lost World War II, and America won. After the war, the USA grew enormously in stature to bestride the globe like a colossus, while Russia shrank. The USSR actually collapsed, thanks to a long string of debilitating failures that culminated in World War II, where Russia first tried to ally with Hitler and then suffered devastating losses.
And what is Russia doing now? It is repeating the mistakes of the past, handing unchecked power to a proud KGB spy whose goal is to recreate Soviet failure. Today, even the Kremlin and its propaganda network Russia Today admit that because of its wanton aggression in Ukraine and the massive economic sanctions imposed by the West Russia won’t see any economic growth in 2014. Crimeans are finding out fast that Russia’s promises to them were illusory, and that they’ve made a fatal mistake by throwing in their lot with Russia. They will watch their former fellow citizens to the north join the EU and NATO and soar to economic prosperity while, chained to Russia, they sink into the miasma of Russian failure.