Worse, those neighbors keep shouldering in, like cowboys in a saloon. Muslims are moving into Russia from the south, esp. from the Caucasus. (And Russia was the traditional champion of orthodox Christians in the muslim world, esp. the Balkans.)
America is muscling in from the west, admitting all the countries on the border (the "Near Abroad") into NATO. Ostensibly, this is to guard against a Russian invasion of Europe, but from the Russian POV it is the West putting its military assets on her front doorstep.
When the Soviet Union was in business, this might have made sense, because Communism was an expansionist ideology with dreams of world domination. But since the collapse of the USSR, Russia has rejoined history. Yet without a European enemy, NATO would be obsolete, and so Russia becomes the Designated Enemy.
"Russia is an economically challenged nation of 145 million, less than half of Europe’s population and much less than half of America’s. Its economy is a small fraction of the combined economies of Europe and America." -- Fred on EverythingThe notion that Russia is in any position to attack wealthy enemies collectively four times her size, casts Putin as a fool. He may be many things, but he is not a fool. Instead, the Russians have watched with unease as NATO creeps closer and closer to the Motherland. That may not be what it looks like to us, but this is about what the world looks like to Russia.
Traditionally, Russia has dealt with this encirclement by two means:
- Pushing the tripline as far forward as possible with a buffer zone. Anyone wanting to invade the old USSR would have had to go though East Germany and Poland first.
- Seeking alliances with the countries on the far side of the enemy: India, Vietnam, Cuba, Ethiopia, et al. Anyone wanting to attack the Motherland would have to watch their backs.
- Belarus was at one time part of the Kingdom of Poland-Lithuania - and how's that for an unlikely imperial state!
- The Ukraine was occupied successively by a number of nomad hordes until becoming part of Russia. The original Russian state, Kievan Rus, was linguisitcally Ukrainian.
The 2014 regime change in the Ukraine further disturbed the Russians. The democratically-elected government in that country was overthrown in a US-sponsored coup. The new government, by wild coincidence, asked for admittance to NATO. The Russian Black Sea Fleet has been based in Svastopol in the Crimea since Tsarist days, but the post-coup government in the Ukraine was interfering in operation of the base and shipyard.
|US plan for partition of Syria (Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten)|
will lead to more ethnic cleansing and refugee flow.
- Warning: Russia has nukes.
About that 145 million-and-declining population. Russians with enough fingers and toes can do population math and see a day when the Motherland's native population will implode because they are not reproducing themselves. There will be no Caliphate of Moscow -- but there may well be a Khanate of Moscow in the future. It's the Turks, not the Arabs that have bugged Russia since the days of the Golden Horde (and Turkey seems to be shrugging off its Kemelist secularism these days. They recently staged their own burning of the Reichstag event.)
So Russia needs Russians quick.
There are a lot of Russians in the Crimea and the eastern Ukraine. This region was hacked off the RSFSR (Russia-in-the-Soviet Union) by the Georgian tyrant Stalin in an effort to denationalize the Soviet republics.Borders were moved; whole peoples relocated.