To understand what the Russians want, one first needs to understand who the Russians are. In this interpretation, the usual convention of addressing of everyone in Russia as “Russian” does not help us much.
That is why we rely on names that are deeply rooted in Russian culture, politics and history, without which today's Russia could only be understood superficially. As for its ambitions: almost no comprehension at all.
Russki (singular) is a member of the Slavic tribe living in Russia. This word represents belonging to the Russian nation inhabiting the land of Russia; a Russian dominant tribe occupying most of the Russian Federation. Russkie represent the "chosen ones".
Rossiyanin (singular) is a citizen of the Russian Federation, which includes all tribes living in Russia. There are about 190 ethnic groups in today's Russian Federation and they are historically subordinate to the Russkie.
The Russian world, in the Russian language, is the Russki world. Clearly, that world was created by the Russkie. it belongs to them, and they want this status by subjugating all the Rossiyane.
It is a hard-line nationalist and aggressive ideology that has now been adapted and promoted by the Russian Federation and embraced by the Russian majority. The true name of the Russian Orthodox Church is also the Russki Orthodox Church.
The Patriotic War turned into a myth
The main pillars of the Russki world are Orthodox Christianity and the Soviet victory in the Great Patriotic War, a war that the USSR extracted from World War II in order to hide its original alliance with Hitler and Nazi Germany and to foster the myth, at least among the Soviet people, that the USSR solely defeated Germany and liberated Europe.
The conquest narrative of today's Putin's Russia is entirely based on reminiscences of World War II, the Soviet victory, evil Europe and the righteousness of Russia's fight against it.
The Russkie have been using patriotic sentiment to cause unrest in other countries that are of interest to them
The Russkie have been using patriotic sentiment not only as an internal ideology, but also to cause unrest in other countries that are of interest to them.
Back in 2007, long before Russian aggression against Ukraine, Russia orchestrated a crisis in Estonia over the Bronze Soldier, a monument honouring fallen Soviet soldiers during the Great Patriotic War. The Estonian authorities, to the horror of Russia, moved it from the centre of the capital, Tallinn, to the city cemetery.
Similar provocations took place a few years later in Ukraine and unfolded first in the annexation of Crimea, then in the incitement of a separatist rebellion in the Donbass by the Russkie, and then in full-scale aggression in 2022.
We can expect similar provocations related to the Great Patriotic War legacy or Russki Orthodox Christianity elsewhere in Eastern Europe, particularly in Moldova or even in the Balkans.
The Russkie do not want a melting pot in Russia
The Russkie have always been aggressors and conquerors. Most of the 17,098,246 square kilometres of the territory of today's Russian Federation were occupied and seized by the Russkie from other ethnic groups in the past.
People in Buryatia in Siberia, for example, were attacked long ago and forced to submit. The people of Yakutia or North Caucasus were also invaded and forced to submit.
A melting pot was not created in the territory occupied by the Russkie
Regardless of all the annexations and occupations in the past, a melting pot was not created in the territory occupied by the Russkie. Not even in the era of the most powerful and cruel ruler, Stalin.
Although a Georgian, Stalin embraced the chauvinism and racism of the Russkie, and changed his Georgian surname, Jughashvili, to Stalin. He ruled as a Russian. The Russkie were preserved as the dominant tribe decades after Stalin's regime.
His native Georgia was absorbed by the Russian Empire in the 19th century and dominated until the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. But the departure from Russkie did not last long.
The Russkie-led aggression against Georgia in 2008 or Ukraine in 2014 did not differ much from those led by the USSR against Finland in 1939.
Is there separatism among non-Russkie?
Given that today in Russia one can spend decades in prison simply for publicly advocating the need to conduct a referendum requesting to re-evaluate the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation, there are still separatist sentiments amongst other ethnic groups that live in the Russian Federation.
The rebellion in Chechnya is one of the last examples of how the Russkie and Russia under their leadership react to attempts at separatism. The rebellion was first crushed by the Russkie, and then by the leader of Chechnya loyal to the Russian leader.
The connection between the regions and the ethnic groups was only through Moscow, and therefore through Russkie
The Russkie were always trying to install loyal leaders in their republics and provinces and regularly caused inter-racial and inter-regional unrest so that other ethnic groups could not unite against the Russki rule.
The connection between the regions and the ethnic groups was only through Moscow, and therefore through Russkie.
Moscow has always tried to divert the attention of other ethnic groups and republics from the fact that they were occupied by the Russkie.
As a result, instead of rebelling against the occupiers, other ethnic groups in the USSR and now Russia have usually turned against their neighbours.
Now that the we have highlighted the genesis of the Russkie, there have to be two different and separate questions: What do Russkie want, and what do other ethnicities controlled by the Russkie want?
Ukraine - the key to liberating everyone in the “Empire”
The Russkie, as the dominant tribe, the historical aggressor and invader, want Ukraine to surrender and concede without a fight. The Russkie want Ukraine and Ukrainian heritage to be dissolved and destroyed in the shadow of the Russki world.
The vast majority wanted Ukraine to learn a lesson for betraying mother Russia. The Ukrainian declaration of its desire to merge with the EU was perceived by majority of people of the Russian Federation as a betrayal or a least as a mistake Ukrainian people made because of their incompetence, confusion or because they had been subverted by western influencers.
This discontent amongst all people of the Russian Federation was inspired and circulated by the Russkie. No one knows how the people of other republics and the regions of Russian Federation would have responded had they been able to express their own, independent will.
Some representatives of other ethnic groups may have been jealous watching Ukraine
It is also quite possible that some of the representatives of other ethnic groups inhabiting the Russian Federation have developed something similar to Stockholm syndrome towards the Russkie.
Some representatives of other ethnic groups may have been jealous watching Ukraine, a former fellow cellmate in the USSR prison, break away from the Russian Empire to the European democratic family.
These ethnic groups remained in the camp of the Russian Federation even though their tribe, region or ethnicity had the opportunity to escape during the early 1990s, when the grip of the USSR was much weaker compared to the shackles today's Russia is holding over other regions and ethnicities.
Today, many in the Russian Federation are truly ashamed of the aggression against Ukraine that started a year ago.
Many want the problems to disappear and for things to go back to normal. This has particularly been the case in the Russian rural areas, which were most affected by the military mobilisation.
The Russkie cannot afford losing territories, particularly ones rich with natural resources
Now, a year later, after humiliating retreats and surrender of territories, which were already added to Russian Federation based on recent constitutional amendments, sobering up has shaken some of the Russkie.
The Russkie cannot afford losing territories, particularly ones rich with natural resources, principally because those territories provide prosperity to the Russki Empire. That prosperity enables the Russkie to buy loyalty of allies and subvert enemies.
The key to the liberation of all tribes, regions and ethnic groups now controlled by the Russkie is in the hands of the Ukrainian army.
Deep down, the Russkie understand this, and that is why they have been trying to unite Russkie and other Russian ethnic groups against Ukraine. They use the same methods as always: coercion, violence and bribery, because they have never known any other way.
The alternative that they fear, and, what the defeats in Ukraine evoke for them, is the collapse of the USSR in 1991. For Russians, that would mean a life without an empire. And this is a life they know nothing of.