During the nineteenth century there would appear a man in your town with a wagon from which he dispensed bottles of nostrums designed to cure one and all forms of disease. Naturally, before anyone could figure out if the medicine actually worked, the man would be gone and in another town with his miracle cures. Vladimir Putin heads an army that would encounter difficulty defeating any armed force in Africa or even the Middle East, but he continues to frighten the world with dire prospects of war. Actually, Putin still retains a decent armament industry and uses its weapons to frighten the world.
A little man with a modest armed force now has the world shaking in its boots because he hands out weapons of mass destruction to anyone who enables him to claim more and more power. He is a man made of mud who intimidates any who oppose his rule, both in Russia or elsewhere in the world.