The New York TimesThe New York Times

A distracted Russia Is losing its grip on its old Soviet sphere

By Andrew Higgins

09 Oct 2022 · 6 min read

Editor's Note

Here’s yet another sign that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is backfiring on multiple levels: The New York Times reports that Russia is losing its influence in Central Asia and the Caucasus.

With the Kremlin distracted by its flagging war more than 1,500 miles away in Ukraine, Russia’s dominium over its old Soviet empire shows signs of unraveling. Moscow has lost its aura and its grip, creating a disorderly vacuum that previously obedient former Soviet satraps, as well as China, are moving to fill.

On the mountain-flanked steppes of southwestern Kyrgyzstan, the result in just one remote village has been devastating: homes reduced to rubble, a burned-out school and a gut-wrenching stench emanating from the rotting carcasses of 24,000 dead chickens.

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