As I sit across my laptop screen, panicking and being anxious about the point of existence, there are people with their worlds toppling over. To be fair I am anxious as a knock-on effect. Now if we have learned anything from the 1940s, you don't even need balls to deharmonise the world. One ball is just enough. But we are human beings and we do not learn from our blunders. We make them again and again. 1940s was a curious case of identity politics at play and how it takes one psychopath, with a broken sense of identity. We like to classify it into a religion box, perhaps a racial discrimination box but that's what it was - a person with a distorted sense of identity. Is it true for Russia, with a new wave Hitler helmed as the president?
Vladimir Putin's Russia can be easily dismissed as the old school geopolitics fightings its end, but that is boring (although good enough for a drawing room discussion), it is complicated and marred by the situation that Russia has brought onto itself by attacking Ukraine. What Putin, brought to Russian politics was ideology. What a heavy word to throw in, but essentially it means a collection of ideas that forms the basis of an economic policy.
Now why is ideology necessary? Human beings have an apparent need to be identified (isothymia) as being equal to others. The line of feeling this "equalness" (for the lack of a better word) can be anything really. On a basic level, being considered a human and on a superficial level it could be like being associated with a culture. And, to form a nation an association is needed that unites people. Why else would you go to think of best interests of a collection of people even to an extent that you go to war with other nations to act in the best interest (jingoism)?
Back to Russia. What is their ideology? Post USSR Russia did not really have an ideology, considering communism that took the crown for an ideology failed miserably. The rise of Putin and his foreign policy indicates that the Russian people subconsciously needed just a common enemy. A common enemy is a very good factor that could constitute a nation. The West has played the role of an enemy with ease by pushing NATO eastwards and vindicating Russia as a villain. The more Russia feels threatened by such actions, as in not accounting its collective identity and its intentions, the more they tend to fight back (aggresive foreign policies). It's as if the West has stopped accounting Russia as an equal by its vindictive actions. And this feeling of injustice is not a subconscious and hidden fact, rather something that has been translated and transmitted by many media outlets, in the West.
Putin became the poster boy of an ideology wrapped in nostalgia. Besides being an ex-USSR guy, he wants everyone under that banner again however banal and barmy that maybe.
Now that alone does not account for Russia's and specifically Putin's actions. Putin does have megalothymic (treating onself as more than others) tendencies. Now if you know about Psychopaths and the Bob Hare checklist, that is one of the items, grandiose sense of self. And Bob Hare has himself questioned if there are couple of psychopaths that topple world order with their madness and that is an interesting fact to consider. And a quick Google search confirms you that (, but seriously they are legitimate pieces on this). So is it really that something hurt a madman's sense of identity? I think it is. However crazy that idea is (I know ironic!) I think there is some truth to this. Just like the UBLs, Hitlers and the Mussolinis of the world I feel it is a madman hurt, and we are doing absolutely nothing to address that problem. To be fair there's nothing we can really do. It's just the rule of the world now to engage in wars each lifetime until we kill off each other.