President Putin’s reconquista of the Crimean Peninsula helped piece back together historical Russia. The Crimean Peninsula was part of Russia for about the same time as New England was part of the United States; should the U.S.A. give New England back to the previous owners, or just cut New England loose from the U.S.A. so it could come out as Blue Soviet Nude England?
The Ukraine Soviet Socialist Republic was part of the Soviet Union 72 years from 1922 to 1991. Nikita We Will Bury You Khrushchev transferred the Crimea to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1954 to ‘show the brotherly love between Russian and Ukrainians’. When the Soviet Union ended so did the Communist program.
Ukraine had mostly been part of Russia for hundreds of years before Ukrainian Bolsheviks put down “the national government in Kiev” and created the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic of which the present government arguably is the lineal descendant. When all of Russia and Ukraine was under communist rule the alienation of Russian from Ukraine was not relevant; dissenters could always move to the Gulag Archipelago after all.
During the confusion following the end of the Soviet Union, Russia was at a military disadvantage, President Clinton’s policy helped wrest away Russian lands that pre-existed the Soviet Union in the drive to erase the former Soviet Union. It was bad policy in regard to Crimea.
I believe President Putin is fairly conservative in asserting natural Russian rights as far as international relations go. Invading any nations that weren’t part of the historical Russia in a settled and obvious way isn’t likely, unless it is in some sort of proximal self-defense requisite situation that does not presently exist. There probably is no Von Putin deus ex machina plan building up to beat down weak Europe.
Restoration of Russia does not mean restoration of the Soviet Union. Personally I prefer restoration and stability for nations and the ecosphere. The Bahamas could use some restoration now, except it should involve ecospheric building syntegrity.