In 2015, Vladimir Putin may witness his empire’s death knell

December 16, 2014

Russia's President Putin chairs a meeting at the Bocharov Ruchei state residence in Sochi

The year ahead could see the outbreak of the third Chechen war, which, in turn, could be the death knell of the Russian Federation in its current borders. 

If, as is imaginable, Russia dismembers itself later this century — the way the Soviet Union did in 1991 — it will largely be a consequence of President Vladimir Putin’s policies. 

Putin came to power in the 1990s, when civil war broke out in Chechnya, a constituent republic of Russia in the North Caucasus. The first Chechen war, between 1994 and 1996, was ignited by Muslim rebels demanding independence from Moscow. A second war started in 1999, when Putin was moving rapidly toward Kremlin leadership, first as President Boris Yeltsin’s national security adviser, then as prime minister. With Yeltsin’s health and grip on power failing, Putin emerged as the driving force behind a scorched-earth policy — with massive collateral damage to the population as a whole. That conflict lasted a decade. 

For the past five years, the situation has been more or less quiescent, though neighboring republics have been rocked by violence. The lull in Chechnya, however, ended in early December with a series of bloody incidents in the Chechen capital of Grozny. 

The group behind the resurgence of unrest is advocating a “Caucasus Caliphate,” with ties to al Qaeda and, more recently, Islamic State. There is at least an indirect tie between outside support for Islamic radicalism in the Caucasus and Putin’s sponsorship of Russian secessionism in eastern Ukraine. 

By proclaiming ethnicity and religion as the basis for Russian statehood and aggression against its neighbors, Putin is inadvertently stoking the forces of secessionism in those parts of Russia that are historically and culturally Islamic.


PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) chairs a meeting at the Bocharov Ruchei state residence in Sochi, November 24, 2014. REUTERS/Alexei Druzhinin/RIA Novosti/Kremlin



We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

I do agree his demise is eminent – he has intimated his opposition at home and destroyed his country. He is a leader, I despise as I see in him, the ambitions that possessed Hitler in 1939. This man needs to fall very hard so any future Putins, Stalins, Husseins and Hilters. Hilter may not have become the demon he was, was it not for the adoring masses and indeed the great recession. Putin took credit for the improving economy but it was due to the surge in oil, commodities that financed his excesses, the military buildup, the Sochi boondoggle and the cancelled pipeline with losses of billions. Russia cannot afford him and Russians has suffered enough for 100 year to open that Pandora box again.

Posted by ThomasOne | Report as abusive

This is sh*t – from beginning to the end. Mr.Talbott need to learn politics not only from Ms. Psaki, but from other sources as well.

Posted by Face085 | Report as abusive

So now dear author starts to draw pictures of Russia being dismembered. Or are these his dreams?

Posted by BigMoneyBall | Report as abusive

“.. Russia dismembers itself later this century ..”

Wishful thinking? We did dream-up democracy for middle-east and look at the state of chaos it was left in after a decade of the dream.

Both our actions in Syria and Ukraine were globally, seen as a fiasco.

Now this Chechen angled projection.

Wish these war and global domination strategists need periodic clearance from mental ward for sanity as they seem to drown themselves with fomenting regional conflicts in areas otherwise peacefully, minding their business.

Look what destabilizing Ukraine by design, did to-date – loss of land, life and putting the national security squarely up with potent nuclear capable Russia, that can destroy the globe about 18 times over, just like we can do.

Posted by Mott | Report as abusive

Dear authors and masters of propaganda, Reuters of who ever supply these articles.


Posted by mini_me | Report as abusive

The only empire in sight is the US empire with 1000 overseas bases and more coming all the time. Russia dared to show a little national pride and ambition of it’s own and must be humiliated and destroyed.
Europe gave up it’s sovereignty along time ago and in fact, with hundreds of US bases spread out over the region, can call themselves occupied with some local autonomy.

Posted by Interdog | Report as abusive

Well, Islam does need to be wiped off the face of the earth; it is a political system in the guise of a religion. No one but the mentally ineffective chose it, one is born into it or is born in a political Islamic nation and is REQUIRED to belong. It is an ego system of death and like the Thuggee must be outlawed. It is not held by “race” as many liars claim. Putin is USSR KGB to the n’th degree, he has nothing to lose because nothing he has legally belongs to him; it is all stolen from the state. Yes, the Islamic sector will dismember Putin’s new USSR because they are the ultimate ego, greater in number than Putin.

Posted by SixthRomeo | Report as abusive

We should be seeing some bare chested Putin pictures on his motorcycle, again, any day now.

Posted by bryan047 | Report as abusive

Their economy is collapsing NOW.

To all the right wing loons who said Obama’s sanctions are too little too late, here’s a quote from today’s markets:

“President Vladimir Putin, who sees Russia’s economic woes as the consequence of a Western plot” …. so now what Tea Baggers ?

Answer: The traitors known as the Tea Party curl up around a fire and listen to the right wing hate radio morons … Rush, Savage, Hanitie, Levine spew their hatred for any success America achieves.

God Bless America.

Posted by nofoolslightly | Report as abusive

Reuters – you seem to censor even the rational thought.

Reader gets about a third of the story from the article while the rest come from sensible comments. You may review your internal censor auditors for some integrity.

Posted by Mott | Report as abusive

Putin should ride into the sunset, shirtless to be forgotten forever.The clown midget and his flying circus is bringing the tent down on Russia and its people.

Posted by ThomasOne | Report as abusive

The facts seem simple to the layman…we in the U.S. need to join forces everywhere to fight radical Islam; since that would seem to be the group trying to destroy the world.

Posted by nopleabargains | Report as abusive

List of High Profit Investment Opportunities In Ghana
1. Commercial Health Insurance

2. Fish Farming (Ready market. not Capital Intensive)

3. Poultry (Emphasis on eggs. Ready market. not Capital Intensive)

4. Real Estate (Capital Intensive)

5. Oil and Gas (Capital Intensive)

Wisdom Mensah Dali
Tel. +233 244573734

Posted by DAMENSAH | Report as abusive

Putin creates monsters he cannot control. Other than his subjects and bootlickers, no one believes or trusts him any more.

Intellectual limitations have blinded this wannabee bully into revealing who he is and what he is before the world for political pocket change. That was really, really stupid. What Russia has “won” is having ongoing, increasing cost with fewer and warier genuine allies.

Henceforth his political posturing is increasingly facing real sledge hammers forged by the many nations who have reason to fear his silly, outdated ambitions. The real problem is that this man’s ego is big enough to believe he can win a nuclear “game of chicken” at a time American “leadership” is increasingly partisan and fragmented.

We live in interesting times.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive

Actually he is very similar to our fascist leaders, in particular the republicans, but somewhat also the democrats. What he does is act tough to appeal to simpletons who believe in simple thoughts. He in this way, appeals to the majority and gets elected. He talks about strength and acts tough, but it is simply a ploy to fool the Russian voters. Meanwhile he and his friends pillage the country for wealth. It’s virtually the same system we have here. Reuters and other media are also instrumental in the pillaging of the country for the wealthy and the leaders.

Posted by brotherkenny4 | Report as abusive

I’m not sure as to what to make of this “commentary” – it is as short as what it seems to be rather naive and far-fetched.

Posted by Aljosa | Report as abusive

This is a really bad article, poorly arguemented (not at all!) and 90% of it’s weight lies in it’s bombastic title.

I don’t think it should be published on Reuters like this, it is almost blatantly propagandistic more than anything else.

Posted by Aljosa | Report as abusive

Idiots like the writer and his neocon friends are just itching for a nuclear confrontation with Russia. Washington is full of these armchair generals — and they can all go to hell!

Posted by cautious123 | Report as abusive

It wasn’t Putin or Islamists who provoked the crisis in the Ukraine — it was Victoria Nuland and her corrupt band of neocon warmongers. Unfortunately, Americans are so brainwashed and brain dead that they believe anything their power-hungry government tells them. US armies are in dozens of countries throughout the world, and we are actively engaged in several wars against people who never attaked us and pose no threat to us, but it never occurs to idiot Americans that maybe — just maybe — the US is the problem. The wars are for oil and other resources — as wars have always been — but if it makes you feel better, then go ahead and believe the hype that we’re spreading democracy. Fools.

Posted by cautious123 | Report as abusive

The world is beginning to understand that Putin has lost his marbles.

Posted by keebo | Report as abusive

When the German Intelligence Agency confirmed that media outlets were being bombarded by posts originated from Russia under the guise of Western posters, I’m amazed the Kremlin is still at it hiring people to post absolute drivel.

“Russia dared to show a little national pride”

That may fly on Russia Today, but invading a country, helping to blow up an airliner (accidentally but still…) and annexing the Crimea is hardly “a little national pride” unless most dictators were merely outgoing patriots…

Posted by marty_CA | Report as abusive

Apparently when you are Strobe Talbot, all of your brain-farts get to be published on Reuters. Not saying his fantasy couldn’t happen, it could, but seriously this qualifies as an article?

Posted by JRR32 | Report as abusive

You wish. In fact, it’ll be the other way round. And about time…. :-|

Posted by DeSwiss | Report as abusive

Reuters , cant you get any lower? you act like spokesman of state department. Are there any rational and unbiased journalist in this place? I mean, it is becoming desperate. Look at the comments, nobody believes your lies anymore. You may lose all your credibility with your propaganda. Shame on you!

Posted by ajrolaf | Report as abusive

Judging by the comments, it looks like the Russian web brigades (state sponsored commenters) are out in force. See s. When Russia first started encouraging secessionist movements in the Ukraine, I thought that doing so would stir unrest in Chechnya. The inevitable happened. Putin would be best served by listening to the criticism. Unfortunately, in dictatorships, the ability to distort the truth ends up preventing the leaders from knowing what’s actually going on. Here’s hoping that Russia rids itself of Putin as soon as possible. When it does, Russia will become a much better off, safer place.

Posted by EthelGoodhill | Report as abusive

Insurgency in Chechnya is Mr Kadirov’s problem. Putin should clear the oligarchy and give Russia back to the Russian people a spring that will definitely spread across Europe.

Posted by Macedonian | Report as abusive

Insurgency in Chechnya is Mr Kadirov’s problem. Putin should clear the oligarchy and give Russia back to the Russian people a spring that will definitely spread across Europe.

Posted by Macedonian | Report as abusive

Feel sorry for some of the harsh comments here directed at the source of the article.

It would be interesting to see the author do a similar analysis and share his perspectives on how – proclaiming freedom/democracy and trade as the basis, how US propagates its statehood and aggression globally at the cost of US taxpayers that brings certain loss of competitiveness and jobs over time, locally.

Posted by Mott | Report as abusive

No doubts that Putin is bad for the Russian people, first and foremost. But with China already financing Silicon Valley start-ups and Warren Buffett promoting Chinese cars in the US, this country itself might face a not so distant communist-rule future. To me, this scenario is even more imaginable than disintegration of Putin’s Russia.

Posted by UauS | Report as abusive

Putin has ruined Russia. All they export now is herpes and orphans. Investment capital is headed away from Russia, not toward it.

Posted by AlkalineState | Report as abusive

Relatively speaking, the power, prestige, and economic clout of the U.S. Empire have suffered more than that of Russia in recent years. It is only natural for a sick patient to get his mind off of his own condition by looking at another person who is also ill. I think it is safe to say they have declined less than we have here in the U.S.

Posted by aspendougy | Report as abusive

Strobe Talbot is an OPEN advocate of World Government. Russia does not wish to submit to this evil. This propaganda article should be seen in that light. For a truthful analysis of the West’s dirty war against Russia, google: ‘The War Against Putin’

Posted by maximus1217 | Report as abusive

I don’t think that’s accurate. I find it more likely that a islamic secessionist movement would only solidify his regime. Think like assad, with Sunni secessionists, but with a functioning military.

I would imagine he would respond with overwhelming force very rapidly, and the Russians are not known to be averse to collateral damage. The losses would be tragic, but I doubt, especially with his emphasis on expansion of physical borders, that he would let a region go, regardless of cost.

Posted by ASR3 | Report as abusive

Hahaha. Told you Putin was taking Russia into the toilet. But he showed Ukraine who was boss. We’re all very impressed he is on the verge of re-taking the cherished territory Chernobyl. It was worth it :)

Posted by AlkalineState | Report as abusive

All these Russian trolls here don´t argue with any of the premises or arguments of this piece.They just spout there usual “anything not positive about Putin is propaganda”.

Posted by Joggi | Report as abusive

More corporate propaganda from corporate America…Can I ask, who do you think you’re kidding?

“Russian statehood and aggression against its neighbors”

America is a disgusting plutocracy that has been overthrowing governments and committing democide for the last 60 years and more.

You’d better hope that Russia and China don’t at some point unite militarily and then you’ll be getting a taste of your own murderous policies.

I hope I’m still alive to see that day, you’ll be getting exactly what you deserve.

Any chance of the war criminal and mass murderer Bush (both of them( being brought to trial for crimes against humanity any time soon…?

Why don’t you go and murder some more South American women and children, shooting them in the back of the head when their hands are tied behind their backs, remember that? Bush’s ally Noriega, on CIA payroll then as soon as he stops playing ball he’s a “drug trafficker” although admittedly not as prolific as the US Army in that respect.

Posted by TerryMardy | Report as abusive

Very good, attention-grabbing phrasing on the title. Of course what it means is that Russia with Chechnya is an Empire, Russia without Chechnya is not an Empire (and the Russian Federation in borders set down by Lenin and Stalin and first led as an independent state by Yeltsin, is “Putin’s Empire” specifically). There are different definitions of an empire out there, of course. But somehow this particular statement doesn’t seem to ring true, to me at least.

Posted by Danilych | Report as abusive

Well, maybe Chechnya doesn’t belong in Russia, and the Russians would be better off without them. India is certainly better off without Pakistan.

Posted by Al_Barbary | Report as abusive

If history is any guide, egos as massive as Putin’s will readily launch wars and land grabs in order to distract citizens, foster nationalism/jingoism, and remain in power or even increase power. To them increased power over a ruined land beats losing power in a healthier land. Wait…why does all of this sound so familiar…?

Posted by SunAndRain | Report as abusive

“Analysis and opinion?” No, this peculiar article by CFR devotee and Clintonite Strobe Talbott seems more like a threat: Do what we tell you or we’ll cause you a lot of trouble. And since the “mainstream” media and the government are cogs in the same machine, it could very well be.
Or is the whole thing just a staged fight with Putin in on it and participating in the ruse. Putin is getting lots of popular support by playing the tough guy.
In order to manipulate the populations under their control, governments need to always have enemies, dangers, and conflicts and wars. And if they don’t have any, they just manufacture them.
The global establishment is run by such duplicitous villains that literally anything is possible. There’s nothing they won’t resort to in their maniacal manipulation of the sheeple they rule over.

Posted by truthlinker | Report as abusive

The author or so called author is a disgrace. I am not by any means an apologist for Putin or Russia but also I am not blind to the obvious bias
in this article. When will honesty prevail, when will America go home and leave us all alone to live our lives in freedom and free will. If we wish to have a different view to the US administration then so be it. maybe if the US picked up its military toys and went home we would have less violence in the world. Again if the US spent some of the 640 billion it spends on so called defence its people would not be so poor. land of the free !!! only if your rich.

Posted by Moties001 | Report as abusive

Judging from these comments, I observe more pro-“US”/”West” shills than Russia. I keep hearing accusations that state-funded russian trolls are flooding the comment section in the media comment section and on forums, yet I don’t see it.
There are very few pro-Russian posts compared to the hysterical pro-West posts in every site I’ve been.
Many times, ironically, I see quite a few suspicious, but dedicated pro-West/pro-Ukraine poster posting disinformation, yet I’ve rarely seen the opposite. These same posters would hysterically accuse anyone of having an opposing or even neutral point of view of being “Russian shills”.
I am forced to suspect that maybe the opposite of what these posters is true. Some country, probably not the US, someone is paying these trolls. Either that or that a feverous national sentiment is leading these hysterical morons to keep posing as “Westerners” to bash Russia and hoping for the misery of its people and demise of its nation.
I hope you have a deep deep look at yourselves, and see what kind of drivel and hate you’ve been spewing out of your fingertips and mouth.

Posted by cyu | Report as abusive

I find it very unlikely for Russia to break up – Soviet Union was made up of many countries of different people.

Russia is mostly made of Russian’s that have strong nationalist feelings.

Its akin to say France breaking up – why?

Outside of Chechnya – a mere 1 million people – Russia is a monolith.

Posted by TomK2 | Report as abusive

Poor little zionists, they won’t be able to have back their Khazar empire ( for the joke what it was). There’s a very bad christian leader who’spopular within his people , popular in the rest of europe, and, they won’t won’t be able to convince us to do another war to satisfy their mythomanic delusions.

Posted by alia2525 | Report as abusive

For general knowledge of everyone commenting on occupied Chechen Republic of Ichkeria.
Russian FSB makes terror attaks and blames Chechens. Purpose: to show Chechens as terrorists and with this to leave Chechens without the support of World Community.

Finally, We Know About the Moscow Bombings, New York Review of Books  /1898-1.html

Alexander Podrabinek: “Peculiarities of Russian terrorism suggest that terrorist activity can be controlled and manipulated by the government and might even be a direct result of its work” a/2142-1.html

As here is TAG to al-Qaeda, then we would like to ask Reuters to TAG al-Qaeda with Russia and not with Chechens. Current al-Qaeda leader al-Zawahiri is trained by Russian FSB in Dagestan. ites/2058-1.html

Posted by ChechenCenter | Report as abusive

Also not Muslim rebels wanted Independence from Russia but Chechen nation.
According to UN every nation has right for self-determintion. Why Russians have right to rule Chechens?

Posted by ChechenCenter | Report as abusive

“I keep hearing accusations that state-funded russian trolls are flooding the comment section in the media comment section and on forums, yet I don’t see it.”

LOL have another shot of Vodka, comrade. Russian web monkeys beating on their keyboards being paid in toilet paper Rubles is very entertaining.

Posted by Ancalimon | Report as abusive

I can’t help thinking Putin is somehow behind the plunge in oil prices. Many say it’s the Saudis trying to shake America’s grip on the Middle East. Not so sure.

Putin is a very tricky man. I read some truly frightening stuff in this article: http://bit DOT ly/25-yr-depression-jp1
It makes me wonder how serious this whole thing could become, globally.

Posted by johnpenney000 | Report as abusive

Currently US is the bad guy who seeks complete global domination. Thus said, just as I hope US will NOT be able to finish off their world conquering job, I dearly hope da Russians will hold their positions, just like they did against Hitler and Napoleon. That’ll be necessary just for a few years more, perhaps just a few months, as collapsing petrodollar monetary system will end the US’ free lunch of printing ink on paper to pay their expenses – soon US will have to work to buy resources and good, and that’ll be it, done, over. I see no way an ethnically unified Russia will collapse under these silly tiny sanctions. US engendered Ukraine’s coup, you just google “Stratfor Ukraine Coup”. More: “Crimea seceded, so what?”, by Ron Paul. Just like Kosovo offed Yugoslavia, under massive bombings. More: google “OSCE Investigator: Flight MH17 downed by machine-gun fire”, and then conclude that it cannot reach 11km altitude, and rebels had no airforce, thus it had to be an Ukrainian jet fighter.
Reuters in not better than Washington Post and other Pentagon megaphones.

Posted by Francisco_br | Report as abusive

Somehow I don’t think Islamic separatists are taking their cues from Putin’s actions in Crimea.

Posted by evstok | Report as abusive

Marty-CA sai.., but invading a country, helping to blow up an airliner (accidentally but still…)

Telling lies there Marty. The close-up photos of the side panel of the cockpit, taken immediately after the crash by Canadian/Ukrainian Michael Bociurkiw are in the public domain… also at Global Research. Michael was part of a special OSCE team sent there to negotiate access to the crash site. He was interviewed by CBC Canada, and this was published in The New Straits Times, in Malaysia and Singapore.

Michael’s photo shows the cockpit side panel had holes in it made by what appeared to have been one air to air missile that clearly ‘aimed’ exactly where the Captain sat. (No missile from 30,000 feet below could aim that accurately)! The side cockpit had also been raked with heavy (30mm)? machine guns. Some of the metal from these bullet holes was bent in, some bent out, indicating that 2 fighters must had fired, one from each side of MH17. There was also a bullet graze on the top of left wing, directed towards the Captain.

Retired anti-aircraft missile specialist Colonel Bernd Biedermann in an article for the New Germany newspaper says that had splinters from a surface to air missile hit the plane, it would have immediately caught fire.

There were no eyewitness reports of the necessary 30 minute black smoke trail a BUK missile leaves, BUT BBC did interview eyewitnesses who saw a jet fighter escorting an airliner.

Posted by ThomasTCG | Report as abusive

I’m not sure about dismemberment of Russia in 2015, but if the U.S. wants to cause chaos in the world, how about a 2015 financial crisis? Might as well support that too.

Global Systemic Financial Crisis 2015: Geopolitics, Oil and Currency Markets emic-financial-crisis-2015-geopolitics-o il-and-currency-markets/5420803

I support 2015 U.S. financial crisis.

Posted by Bankotsu | Report as abusive

Czar Putin is up to his short neck in a long list of problems. AAs as long as OPEC keeps the course, he doesn’t have a single prayer in a leaking handbasket. LOL

Posted by jethromayham | Report as abusive

Hmmm. Surprising how many Russians have nothing better to do today than post pro-Putin messages on Reuters.

Oh but wait… it’s their day job, silly me.

Posted by RunForIt | Report as abusive

This is definitely the biggest bullshit that has ever appeared on the Reuters site.

Actually, since the end of the 2nd Chechen war, not only is Chechnya firmly Russian, but actually, Chechnya has become a Russian power base and the Chechens are even prouder Russians than the ethnic Russians themselves!

Not only has the Chechen leader Ramzan Akhmedovich Kadyrov the region firmly under his control, but he is also able to project strength abroad.

So, today’s Chechnya is a source of strength for Russia, not a cause of weakness – quite the opposite.

Just guess who are the staunchest supporters of the peoples’ defence militias in Novorossiya?
Yes, it the Chechens, who defend the people from onslaught by the Kievan junta.

Posted by Antikapitalista | Report as abusive

What can be expected from the ex-KGB thug? This character is nothing but an obsolete remnant from the Cold War period. Neither him, nor his policies, have a place in the 21st century. The sooner he’s gone, the better for both Russia and the rest of the world.

Posted by LKL | Report as abusive

If Talbott has stated this , then by damn it means he and his sick cronies are working on some terrorist activities to be carried out.
He has his hand with all the axis of evil ie CFR, Brookings and neocon shrill orgs , just like Reuters.
Merry Christmas. Strobe,
Hope Putin sends you a Christmas card.!!

Posted by chrisalien | Report as abusive

Thanks for sharing excellent informations. Your website is so cool. I am impressed by the details that you have on this web site. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this web page, will come back for extra articles. You, my friend, ROCK! I found just the information I already searched all over the place and simply could not come across. What a great site.

Posted by Fishinglovers | Report as abusive

Fantastic article post. Really Cool.

Posted by click here | Report as abusive

Appreciate you sharing, great blog.Much thanks again. Great.

Posted by pos system fort myers | Report as abusive

Im obliged for the blog post.Thanks Again.

Posted by My Website | Report as abusive

I really liked your article.Really looking forward to read more. Want more.

Posted by rental mobil surabaya | Report as abusive