Over the past few decades Russia has been going through a phase of reinvention. The dissolution of the Soviet Union changed the way international politics and foreign policies play out all over the world. With the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia was left weakened and not the international powerhouse it once was. Once the Cold War ended the U.S. had thought they had won the war, which in a way they did, but it gave them the freedom to undertake more foreign missions without the worry of angering the Soviet Union, essentially the States were free to do whatever they wanted internationally, and they did. Immediately after the dissolution of the Soviet Union the EU emerged and rapidly expanded, pushing Western ideals further East and closer to Russia’s borders. Following this the U.S. led a coalition of Western allies to engage in the Gulf War. Without needing to worry about Russia, the U.S. and the West have been able to push their new world order on any nation that resists, which has continued over the past 30 years in many nations, especially in the Middle East, where the U.S. many times has left a nation in a state of total destruction.
But as time has gone on Russia under Putin has begun to become a player on the international stage once again. And there is clearly one goal in mind for Russia and Putin, to push back against the West encroaching on their borders. With NATO continuously pushing nations to become more Western oriented Russia has been pushed to the brink and when in 2014 Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was removed from office by pro-Western forces, Russia had had enough and Russia has felt it needed to respond with an Iron Fist. This prompted the Russian annexation of Crimea, and since then Russia has backed opponents of Western allies in places such as Syria.
Putin wishes place Russia back into its place of power it held for a majority of the 20th century and he is doing that by his military campaigns and proxy wars to install pro-Russian leadership, the same way the U.S. has been doing for the past 30 years. But unlike the Soviet Union, Putin is much more proud and less willing to back off from his goals when it angers the West. With the current war raging in Ukraine, Putin is clearly showing he is ready to push back against the West and recreate a buffer zone around Russia.