People who engage Putin and Russia fail to understand how the nation as a whole feels humiliated by the actions of the west and the current events of history. This is actually something George Bush understood and why he was so chummy with Putin. In the lifespan of most Russians alive today, they went from being co-rulers of the world, to a backwater nation that even while it was dysfunctional before, nevertheless was feared and respected by everybody on the planet. Their military, science and reputation reigned co-supreme. Russia (the USSR) sat at every table and had a say in almost every global decision.
Today, the west completely disrespects Russia and what’s worse, Russians by and large don’t even respect Russia. They look around their country and they see a glorious past but doubt any such future. They are dying earlier than before. Birthrates are low. The population has stagnated and is predicted to contract by 25-50% in the next 50 years. Their cities are filled with crime and corruption. Their industries and factories are rusting and collapsing. Their best educated talent flees the nation at the first sign of opportunity or completely sells out to the oligarchs.
Across the oceans, is their century-old foe. Despite its troubles, the USA still acts like the best days are yet to come and they throw it in everybody’s face. Americans think they are better than they are, still chant patently offensive, jingoistic nonsense like “American Exceptionalism” as if the whole world believed it (and act patently surprised when others reject that notion, like, “What? You mean you DON’T think we’re better than you!???”). They think they are smarter than they are and despite all of their peculiar decision making, have effectively stripped much of the “Russia’s” old sphere of influence away from her. Russia’s only circle are second world nations who may or may not one day become first world nations. America’s circle of friends seemingly bow to the US interests even when it appears that the US shouldn’t be getting that kind of respect. What’s worse, despite American actions that enrage the world, whole geographic segments run to the American sphere of influence at their first chance (Eastern Europe; East Asia; Africa; South America).
The nations that SHOULD be jumping on Russia’s side — China, India, Brazil — pay lip service to that only while recognizing that their future lies in continuing and building their reputations with the EU and USA. So, to that end, Russia has a lot to be angry about. It’s easier to be angry with the USA when — in fact — Russians should be angry with themselves. They are sitting on what is arguably the world’s largest stock of natural resources. The sum total of that natural wealth should provide Russia with so much riches that it should be one of — if not the — wealthiest nation(s) on the planet.
But they cannot seem to make it work. Something is preventing this future. Running the nation is a team of kleptocratic-oligarchs who orchestrate murders and oppression of their people while robbing from both themselves and what little there is to be had. Beijing put on the world’s largest Olympic celebration. . . EVER for $30 billion. Russia spent $50 billion on theirs (20% of which is estimated to have ended up in oligarch hands for bribes), with less attendance and couldn’t stop — LITERALLY — toxic brown, fecal SHIT from oozing from the pipes into hotels. Lights didn’t work. Doors didn’t work. The Olympic show itself was a joke. Hotel’s weren’t finished. Ground water was left contaminated. The press in every nation was basically laughing at the complete and utter disgrace of the Sochi Olympics in 2014. How could a nation spend 25 TIMES what Salt Lake City spent. . . and still need to put signs in hotel rooms saying, (basically) “Don’t let this fecal water touch your face or you will die.” How ridiculous!
Russia’s sole source of wealth is its commodities, despite having a century old tradition of high education in the sciences and quite LITERALLY putting humans into space. It’s so bad, that it almost seems like it cannot possibly be the fault of Russia. There must be some wider conspiracy, working nefariously behind the scenes to destroy the valiant Russian attempts at becoming a great nation again.