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Russians have long history of using groups to kill other groups.
This was a common part of the Russian-German Socialist war often referred to as 'the Great Patriotic War', or even as World War 2. (See also Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder.)
Pootin previously smashed up Chechnya.
Loony humans can always find mercenaries and ambitious chancers.
Russia is currently prosecuting supposed mercenaries that are defending Ukraine.
russian life expectancy and other statistics
In other words, the Russian economy struggles to compete with a mid-sized European state despite having the largest land mass in the world.
Meanwhile, expenditure on the military in Russia is 4% of GDP. Russia is the second largest exporter of military equipment.
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