I believe Putin truly started out with one overwhelming goal – to restore Russia’s stability and return it to greatness. He had experienced the ravages not only of the war but of the 1990s as the economy disintegrated. Just before he assumed the Presidency entering the year 2000, Putin spoke at the Kremlin on New Year’s Eve saying, “unfortunately, not everyone in Western nations understood this, but we will not tolerate any humiliation to the national pride of Russia or any threat to the integrity of the country.”
Those fears were to build incident by incident during the coming 15 years. Still, he began his Presidency wanting to become part of the West.