In the past, Russia was an empire, then a communist colossus, then a 'defeated' power expected to adopt Western ways. But current tensions with the West are fostering what may be the birth of a distinct Russian nationalism.
At least seven soldiers were killed amid shelling overnight near rebel-held Donetsk. The flare-up comes as foreign ministers from Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany meet in Berlin to address the violence.
This week marks the first anniversary of Russia's legal annexation of Crimea, a territory of Ukraine that was seized in the aftermath of a revolt in Kiev.
The Russian president's perceived provocations are leading many former East bloc nations – from Poland to the Baltics – to start their own military readiness campaigns.