Russia is bad
Or to put the sentence more meaningfully
Russia’s actions are largely determined by variables which makes it paraistical to global wealth and international peace.
States act in predictable ways. Their behavior is affected by important concepts such as their history, their geography, and their economy. International relations is not a true social science like voting behavior or organizational psychology, but nonetheless there is plenty of evidence that these three factors can be expected to explain variance once reliable paradigms are established in that field.
Russia’s history is one of authoritarianism. Russia’s action patterns are of a strong government, a standing band of thieves who provide minimal security services in exchange for expropriating the wealth of the countryside. First the Russian government organized the nobles to exploit the peasants, and once its capacities expanded it reduced the nobles as well. Unlike countries which were able to generate the income disparity necessesary to limit the central government’s influence (Iceland, England, etc), Russia stayed mried in tyranny with tyrannous traditions. The government’s patterns of actions are to expropriate wealth and to crush civil society. This is not necessarily because of any bad characteristic of individual leaders, but rather a function of the Russian government drawing on what has worked for a very long time.
Russia’s geography is one of authoritarianism. Free countries are those with easy transportation and ready access to the sea. Unfree countries are those with difficult transportation and difficult access to the sea. Thus pennsular countries are naturally predisposed to be free, while continental countries with long coast-lines will naturally face a “red-blue” divide of exophilia and exophobia. Landlocked countries, or those with very limited access to the sea, have little chance to develop external links and will naturally fall back to dependence on the government. Russia is such a country, with little access to the sea from population or industrial areas.
Russia’s economy is one of authoritarianism. To an extent, this is also a product of the first two risk-factors. Russia’s history has led to reegular confiscation of private property, and thus encourages a relatively short time-horizon (except for government service, which is a reliable method of earning the prviilege of looting the wealth of others). Likewise, Russia’s seperation from the sea means that wealth-generating international trade is difficult in the first place. Further, the one industry that Russia does have (oil and natural gas exploitation) gives it only a highly variable source of wealth to raise it up only to the level of Portugal. Oil is the opium of the masses, as it allows an awful government to dysfunctional indefinitely.
Russian influence must be limited to the extent possible. Russia, regardless of the particular leadership at any specific time, is overdetermined by factors outside its control to tend to be a bad actor.
Russia’s invasion of Georgia threatens to expand Russia’s power, and Russia’s ability to act on its bad instincts.
Invest in a better Eurasia. Expel Russia from Georgai.