Russia like China sits in a difficult strategic situation. China's problem is that it is surrounded by other counties like Japan, Philippines, India, Russia, Korea, Mongolia in addition to scores of ethnic minority groups in China itself. Russia's problem is that most of it's territory and ports are covered in ice and snow most if the year. One of Russia's only warm water port in the Black Sea is in the Sevastapol, Crimea, Ukraine. The other major Russian cities on the Black Sea are Sochi and Novorossiysk.
Russia has developed its current economic power thanks to US companies coming in and developing its gas and oil economy for them and then exporting that energy to China and Europe. However, the problem Russia depends on the Ukraine for food. The Ukraine is still the "bread basket" of Russia. Russia says because of the Riots they are suspending some agricultural trade, but I doubt this will be permanent.
My point here is this. The fall of the Soviet Union was a farse. The failed coup of the KGB was political theater. Russia still maintains control of its former states. The rejection by the Ukrainian president of the EU trade deal in favor of a Russian trade deal with Putin is proof. Ukrainians dislike Russians and have always seen themselves as European. This is why we are seeing the protests in Kiev. The Ukrainians finally realized that Russia was still in control all this time. And if you talk to the other former Soviet states, they will tell you the same story.
In addition, while the US has been down-sizing and dismantalling our millitary and nuclear arsenal, Russia and China have been upgrading, expanding, and modernizing theirs. Russia maintains a secret weapons complex at Yamantau where they have been reprocessing old nulcear warheads not just into nuclear fuel but also into new warheads. Russia has developed new, new multi-MIRV Topo-M missiles, and hypersonic missiles, that can be delivered by new stealth submarine, rail-based, and shipping container missile systems.
Also, Russia is suspected of several political assassinations and attempts such as the crash of the Poland Tu-154 carrying most members of the Poland Government. Dioxin poisoning of Viktor Yushchenko. Polonium 210 poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and murder of reporter Anna Politkovskaya.
Joel Skousen on "Radio Liberty " with Dr. Stanley Montieth, commented on the sudden disappearance of the Ukrainian Riot police, the unanimous vote of the Ukrainian Parliment to impeach President Yanukovich. First, he believes that the Ukrainian protestors are sincere. However, he believes that the Ukrainian government has made no serious attempts to disband the demonstrators and that someone would have to have given the order for these events to occur the way they did. Skousen believes Russia is still in control in the Ukraine and will allow the Ukraine to receive money from the West which only will end up in Russia. Skousen believes that Russia is not ready to confront the West just yet.