Provoker, I just have to disagree. I won't try to argue that everything that happened in Russia in the 1990s was great (the crooked "privatization" schemes were particularly odious), but you do not become a great country by acting like a jerk and threatening smaller countries in your area, nor do you become great by lying to your general public, nor by silencing your opposition. Those are cowards' tactics. It's bullying, and it sucks. Putin is lapsing into the old Russian dictator paranoia. That isn't "getting things done."