If some people, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, were tempted to sit back thinking that the Cold War was done and dusted, they have had to think again. For Russia’s President Vladimir Putin makes little attempt to counter the world’s growing conviction that he aims to restore, as far as he is able, the dominant position on the world scene once occupied by the USSR. As Putin put it in a speech to the Russian parliament in 2005 – a speech which accurately presages more recent developments: “Above all, we should acknowledge that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a major geopolitical disaster … Tens of millions of our co-citizens and compatriots found themselves outside Russian territory.”To implement his strategic objective, Putin uses the old Soviet Union’s tried and tested formula of mixing force with influence. The ruthless crushing of the Chechnya rebellion, for example, was intended to serve as an example to other constituent parts of the Russian Federation that might harbor dreams of independence. More recently, Russia’s annexation of Crimea, swiftly followed by the Russian-supported military uprising in eastern Ukraine, was a further signal that Putin is now set on a course of affirming, and indeed enlarging, what he perceives to be Russia’s essential interests. He regards NATO’s extension into the now-independent states of the old USSR as a major provocation.