Curt Doolittle’s response: I think you understand the Putin strategy, although you do not seem to have added the obvious problem that Russia has enormous borders and a thin population – which has historically been accosted from all sides. Their only defense is a strong offense.
Second, if Putin is in fact, an ethno-nationalist, (I agree that he is) then he should just say so. Because a lot of the west would support him in that position for, as you mentioned, the same reasons we support the jews. Conservative support would be overwhelming.
Third, but the problem he has in convincingly making that argument, is that his government is profoundly corrupt, extractive and predatory on its own people. By contrast, it’s very obvious that membership in the EU is life-alteringly superior for eastern Europe – at high cost to western europeans.
Fourth, Russia has nothing to offer the world or its orbit other than oil and gas. Russian occupation is a net negative for any economy that it influences. (See the Economists’ report.)
Fifth, all he had to do was offer all Russian-Crimeans dual citizenship, and then ask for a referendum – one which everyone would support. It was completely unnecessary to use military occupation with a foregone conclusion.
Russia must reform it’s systemic and pervasive corruption. It is too heavy a burden on the people for the people to compete on the world market. Without reforming corruption, Russia is just a rogue and predatory militaristic state with nothing to offer the world.
An ethno-nationalist Russia that suppresses corruption offers something wonderful to the world.