"First and foremost it is worth acknowledging that the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century," Putin said. "As for the Russian people, it became a genuine tragedy. Tens of millions of our fellow citizens and countrymen found themselves beyond the fringes of Russian territory. The epidemic of collapse has spilled over to Russia itself."
The agency immediately cast this statement in a sharply negative light, reminding of Putin's KGB past and his "resurrection" of communist symbols. Complaints of dictatorship, curtailing democracy, muzzling the media, cracking down on "businessmen" (i.e. oligarchs loyal to the Empire) followed, rounded off by criticism from the usual gaggle of Imperial sycophants - whose political following in Russia is nonexistent, but who can always be counted on to say something bad about Vladimir Vladimirovich.
Here's the thing: USSR's collapse wasn't tragic in principle, but it certainly was a tragedy in practice, and about that, Putin is absolutely right. Thanks to the witless American puppet in the Kremlin, the USSR fractured along the Stalinist borders, leaving tens of millions of ethnic Russians stranded in hostile territory. The successor states came under the rule of pro-Western (i.e. anti-Russian) nationalists, who have been trying their best to invent anti-Russian ethnic identities, suppress Russian language an heritage, and even celebrate their Nazi alliances.
Nor has the Soviet collapse been bad only for Russians. Central Asian republics are having jihad trouble. The Caucasus has been writhing in open or covert warfare since 1991 - from the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict to factional strife in Georgia and the southernmost regions of Russia (Chechnya, Ingushetia, Ossetia, Dagestan).
In fact, only a very small segment of society in the former USSR profited from its collapse: politicians and criminals (or do I repeat myself?). While the "new class" parties in glitzy night clubs with the best vodka, best cocaine and best whores, the normal, ordinary folk - clerks, workers, farmers, teachers, etc. - struggle to survive, while their sons turn to crime and their daughters to prostitution. Is this not a tragedy? If not, what would be?
Yet the American Weltreich has the nerve to accuse Russia of "imperialism" whenever it tries to get up from her knees and the mud she's been shoved into. Putin has been increasingly demonized - and no, that's not too harsh a term to describe it - in the western press, almost like Slobodan Milosevic. Indeed, the Empire has practiced many policies eventually used in the former USSR in the Balkans, from manipulating ethnic conflict to "democratic revolutions."
Kind of puts things into perspective, doesn't it?