Andrej Illiaronov, Putin’s economic adviser between 2000 and 2005 and now senior member of the Cato Institute think tank, said that “parts of Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic States and Finland are states where Putin claims to have ownership.”
“Putin’s view is that he protects what belongs to him and his predecessors,” he said.
When asked if Putin wishes to return to the Russia of the last tsar, Nicholas II, Illiaronov said: “Yes, if it becomes possible.”
Illiaronov admits that Finland is not Putin’s primary concern at present but, if not stopped in other areas of Eastern Europe, the issue will one day arise. Russian troops are currently massing on the eastern border of Ukraine, following Russia’s recent annexation of Crimea.