The attempt at communist-self-genocide was an 80-year, 80 L-O-N-G years year tale of abyssmal tragedy and misery to the millions and millions of Russians (and an enormous expense [trillion$] to us).
The Russians are back BECAUSE Communism failed (with the relentless "help" of the U.S./Reagan, the Catholic Church/Poland/Solidarity, Soviet bloc countries, East Germany, ETC.). Their culture (history, religion, tradition, that is, their soul) did survive because it was a very strong one and the Russian people were determined that it do so.
It will take the Russians at least three generations to recover. But, that is only my humble little guessimate. Who knows.
Putin is for Russia. No one gave a damn about Russia other than to defeat the Evil Empire. Putin will serve Russia and he will continue to go a good job. (My opinion)
He will continued to be villified by us and by all other countries to whom he doesn't kneel or bend over for. He will never do enough. What he does will never be good enough. No matter what he says or does, he WILL be considered wrong.
That he refrains from obvious comments like, "The hell with you," "Where were you when....," "Yeah, like this is going to be good for us......" "What's in it for us? Nothing? Oh, surprise, surprise," "Who are you to tell us how we MUST deal with Iran or any other country," is amazing.
I don't want to go to Russia; I'm not enamored with the Russians we have here; I'm not in love with their culture, religion or language; I don't like poetry or their icons and their operas are long, boring and tedious (zzzz too many verbose, weeping sopranos--no comments here on verbosity, please). However, their contributions of music, ballet, literature (thick books, depressing books, plays, characters), science, etc., are fantastic. I admire and respect their culture, that is, their soul.
I can't say the same for other countires, non-communist, communist and/or post communist countries. No names, please. :o)
The problem is, a declining population usually means a declining economy which means a further decline in population, etc.
Everyone likes to bash immigration to the US. But immigration means GDP growth.
Frankly, I have no problem with Putin.
He is for Russia. He is for not letting the oligarchs steal the wealth of his country. He is for restoring the dignity of a nation that is reduced to being the prime supplier of cheap white female flesh. Yelstin era democracy failed and failed miserably. Russia needs a period of authoritarianism to get itself together.
There is a natural bent to authoritarianism in the Russian historical narrative. I remember Stalin's 1930 speech in which he described Russian history as a long, long list of beatings she suffered for her backwardness. In the Russian national memory is the tale of the terrible defeat by the Mongols at the battle of the Khalka, a defeat that doomed Kievan Russia, a defeat suffered because the Russian side did not have a single strong leader capable of imposing unity of command upon the proud, quarrelsome boyars. Kievan Rus did not have a Czar.
I would agree with you, except that the muSLUMS are particularly aggressive now, and I don't know if the Russians have the means or the will to fight them off while at the same time trying to claim a "new life" after said 80 long years of hell on earth. Can you leave one hell and fight off another if your infrastructure is rapidly deteriorating?
In any case, the Russians have always had "friendly" relations with U.S. enemies, whether or not they claim to be our friends. I see no reason to think that will ever change.