Vladimir Putin: former KGB Agent, Prime Minister of Russia, and now President of Russia.
Putin viewed the collapse of the Soviet Union as a “National Tragedy” for the citizens of the Soviet Union, going further stating that “Ordinary citizens from the former Soviet Union and the citizens in the post-Soviet Space, the CIS Countries, have gained nothing from it”. This is an indication that Putin supported the continuity of the Soviet Union. Of course, these nations included Ukraine.
NATO has been expanding into eastern Europe as soon as the Soviet Union collapsed, filling the power vacuum that was left behind as the Soviet Empire fell apart. Since the 2000s 9 former Soviet Republics joined NATO not to mention the further 4 Balkan countries who joined as well. As NATO is an organization whose existence was a defensive pact against the Soviet Union, its focus shifted to Russia who was the largest member of the Soviet Union. Ukraine, Georgia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina are now in the process of and attempting to join NATO. This further terrifies Putin as former allies turns to antagonists.
Ukraine is the second most populous, most fertile, and frankly most successful of the Soviet SFSRs other than Russia. Ukraine stored Nuclear Missiles and grew grain for the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) and now it is attempting to join NATO, the organization built around combatting and containing the influence of the Soviet Union and now Russia. Therefore, for Putin to be able to tame Ukraine and influence its politics, it would be a massive political, economic, and strategic victory for Putin. However, it does not seem to be playing out well for Putin it has led to the Russian Ruble being worth less than currencies in games.
Putin’s actions were an attempt to regain territory lost in the “National Catastrophe” that is the dissolution of the Soviet Union and prevent the expansion of NATO into former Soviet SFSRs which Putin views as a threat to Russia’s National Sovereignty. However, it must be noted that Putin’s concerns of NATO expansion are very reasonable as they have been bombing people around the world for years, such as in the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya among other theaters of conflict. Many of those countries are still unstable and dangerous due to conflicts. Such as Iraq, which now has multiple militias within its borders amongst ISIS Cells, Syria which is still has pockets of militia-rebel groups within its borders, Libya in a still ongoing civil war, and Afghanistan who is now ruled by the Taliban who themselves are fighting ISIS-K. It seems all the nations NATO is involved in leads to said nation being destroyed and destabilized to the profit of Defense Contractors from NATO nations.