Crimean Bridge Measures the Span of Putin's Ambitions

Despite piles of problems, Putin's Soviet-style methods may just work.

Connecting Crimea.

Photographer: Mikhail Svetlov

The Russian annexation of Crimea is to be consummated with a 19-kilometer (11.8-mile) bridge connecting Russia's Krasnodar region with the Crimean city of Kerch. The first support of the bridge was completed earlier this month, beginning the final phase of a project that explains a lot about how President Vladimir Putin's Russia functions -- and how Russia has functioned for ages, achieving surprising results with chaotic, ill-thought-out efforts.

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