Looks like the Russians put a probe on the moon. Actually, they put a probe on the moon at a high rate of speed creating a debris field. Russia has never successfully landed anything on the moon. The Soviet Union did, but Russia is not the USSR. Actually, the USSR did some amazing space endeavors. I’m still impressed with the Venus probes that haven’t been equaled since.
I guess that point: Russia is not the great power the USSR was. It’s still coasting along on the achievements of its earlier empire. The system that created great scientists and engineers appears to have broken down. The current brain drain hasn’t helped either. Russia needed this moon landing to go well. They haven’t had many wins lately. Another high technology failure doesn’t help their brand.
Of course, one of the legacies of the old USSR was a rather extensive nuclear stockpile. It’s one of the last things keeping Russia in the big leagues. Then again, if their nukes aren’t any better than their space probes they might have an issue.
Just to make things interesting India has a moon probe on the way. It’s actually a more ambitious probe the Russian one was. Now all they have to do is to stick the landing. Space is hard, so if they can make this happen it’s a testament to their scientific progress.
The thing about India is that a failure on the moon is not the end of the world for them. The are up and coming so can learn from any mistakes and try again. They are developing a solid scientific and industrial base. Russian, on the other hand, is riding on the coattails of a previous empire.
Did you ever notice how freaking old those Russian scientists and engineers are?