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3 Ways Putin is Trying to Make Russia Great Again

Vladimir Putin is directing an effort to restore Russia to its glory days, but what exactly does that entail?

Vladimir Putin

#1: TERRITORIAL EXPANSION

The Kremlin is “putting on a huge show of force in Crimea,” with war games and a $3 billion bridge linking Crimea to the Russian mainland. Moreover, the pro-Putin Sputnik International just published an interview with Austrian presidential candidate Norbert Hofer in which Hofer tells Sputnik “the Crimean peninsula is the Russian territory.”

The 2014 Russian takeover of Crimea followed a less successful 2008 incursion into Georgia, even though Russia still “has troops stationed in two separatist regions within Georgia.”

What do Crimea and Georgia have in common? They both border Russia, and they both were once part of the Soviet Union.

What’s more chilling is squaring Putin’s actions of late with NATO’s definition of Soviet expansion after WWII: “[it] was carried out under conditions of military occupation, one-party dictatorship and the violent suppression of dissent.”

#2: PROXY WARS WITH THE U.S.

For one of the clearest examples of Russia is trying to provoke the U.S. in Syria, take a look at this Wednesday tweet posted by the Russian Embassy:

Beyond the prominent Syrian war, Russia is also on the opposite side of the U.S. for conflicts in Yemen and — according to some — Libya.

The proxy wars are, of course, a relic of the Cold War as well. The U.S. and the Soviet Union engaged in proxy wars in Vietnam and Afghanistan, as each side worked to acquire allies in the fight between democracy and communism.

But Russia’s growing role in Syria may reshuffle U.S.-Russia relations for years to come.

#3: RETURN OF THE KGB

Russia has saved its most aggressive cyberespionage yet for 2016; the Kremlin is the prime suspect in hacks of the DNC, the Clinton campaign, and U.S. voter databases.

This is on top of recent analysis indicating the KGB has returned in all but name:

Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to Kommersant, is planning a major overhaul of the country’s security services. The Russian daily reported that the idea of the reforms is to merge the Foreign Intelligence Service, or SVR, with the Federal Security Service, or FSB, which keeps an eye on domestic affairs. This new supersized secret service will be given a new name: the Ministry of State Security. If that sounds familiar, it should — this was the name given to the most powerful and feared of Joseph Stalin’s secret services, from 1943 to 1953.

The Russian government has not categorically denied the claims — in fact, pro-Putin RT published an article fanning the rumor’s flames just a few weeks ago.

It’s worth remembering that Putin spent 17 years in the KGB.