Your comments are pretty astute. As someone who has actually spent a lot of time in the past decade in Ukraine, and mostly in the Russian speaking parts where the people may see themselves with a strong Russian identity, I have some insight into this. Basically living in the Soviet Union just ruined these people to an extent that it may take many decades or even centuries to fix. The amount of dishonesty and ethical shortcuts required to get by in such a system is something we in the West are just not used to. And even today in the parts of the old USSR that are not in the EU, which is 12 of the 15 former Soviet republics, corruption is just a normal way of life. All this stuff has led to a situation where the people don't really plan long term. In general they are "carpe diem" types to an extreme, often an illogical extreme. As an example, if you were to offer the average Russian a choice between giving them 1000 US dollars today, no strings attached, or giving them 10000 US dollars in 6 months, no strings attached, they'll take the 1000 now. Their mentality is that they may be dead in 6 months or you may be dead in 6 months and unable to give it to them or something unforeseen may happen in the future, so they are really short term planners in the extreme. Putin seems to plan a bit more long term than on average, but I am pretty sure that his plans are far more short-sighted than such planning would be in the West or even China where their culture encourages a very long term view of things. The obvious problem of this is that when things don't go as you expect, you don't really have a plan for that, so I expect he'll double down on the anti-western sentiment and the non-obvious repression like making bloggers identify themselves and saying they need to keep posts clean as a cover for monitoring for subversive posts against the government.