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Letter: Putin should focus on Russia's GDP if he wants to become a superpower

Vladimir Putin is hoping to restore Russia to superpower status using cyber warfare.

Yet, Putin's spy world has been penetrated by American intelligence. The detailed indictment of 12 Russian military intelligence officers recently released by Robert Mueller investigators proved that. The indictment included names, dates, unit assignments and the GRU's use of malware, its covert funding schemes and a wealth of other spycraft.

I believe Putin must be asking himself: How did the Americans find out all these facts? What else does America know?

Jeffrey Smith, a former CIA general counsel said, "The Russians have surely begun a 'damage assessment' to figure out how we were able to collect this information and how much damage was done to their cyber capacity as a result. They are probably doing a counter-intelligence assessment to determine whether we have any human sources (moles) in the GRU or whether the Russians made mistakes that we were able to exploit."

Putin's Russia remains a threat to world democracies, but if Putin wants to make Russia a superpower he should focus on the stagnant Russian economy and it's gross domestic product. GDP is the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a specific time period, usually annually.

California's GDP, at $2.448 trillion is 80 percent larger than Russia's GDP at $1.3 trillion. While Russia has a population of 143.5 million, resulting in a GDP per capita of $14,601 U.S. dollars, California has a population of around 38 million, resulting in a GDP per capita of $56,435 dollars, which is almost four times as much as Russia.

America's GDP in 2016 was $18.57 trillion. Capitalism, democracy and free enterprise, with some regulations, works well together; contrary to what dictatorial, tariff-loving Donald Trump believes.

Larsen lives in Mandan, N.D.