What Putin REALLY wants

Ivonne Rovira
Ivonne Rovira

Time and again I hear people who should know better say that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin wants to recreate the Soviet Union.

Excuse me – his goal is much less modest.

Putin has said that his goal is to rebuild the Russian Empire. That would mean conquering quite a few more countries than it would take to simply reassemble the Soviet Union. Say what you want about Vlad, but the boy ain’t lacking in delusions of grandeur.

The Old Soviet Union extended from Siberia in the east to Moldova and Belarus in the west and to what’s now Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan to the south. Throw in the countries of the Soviet bloc and you go west to East Germany and Poland and south to Albania. Vast? Of course, but it’s nothing compared to the extent of the Russian Empire.

The Russian Empire (image by Milenioscuro [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons)

First of all, the Russian Empire included Alaska and coastline of Canada and Northern California. Pretty ambitious to openly speak of reclaiming those territories? But not as foolhardy as wanting to reclaim the part of Northern China that was part of the Russian Empire in the mid-19th century. I’m sure Vlad’s on-again, off-again BFF Xi Jinping would approve.

Secondly, countries that weren’t swallowed by the Soviet Union were part of the Russian Empire: Finland and part of what’s now Iran. The Ionian Islands off of Greece were under Russian rule from 1789 to 1807. Part of what is now Poland was in the Russian Empire, too. In all, the Russian Empire covered 14 million square miles of territory, 75% bigger than the Soviet Union.

So, next time Putin apologists try to argue that Russia deserves to regain their satellites, be sure to correct them. Even Sarah Palin doesn’t deserve to return to Russian rule.


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Ivonne Rovira

Ivonne is the research director for Save Our Schools Kentucky. She previously worked for The Miami Herald, the Miami News, and The Associated Press. (Read the rest on the Contributors page.)