During the current crisis in Ukraine (fomented by the west or not) history should not be forgotten. As the Iranians don’t forget our role in the overthrow of their elected government in 1953, Russia has not forgotten that a coalition of western powers invaded Russia after the revolution. Japan and the U.S. invaded from the east, European powers from the west. (Yes, we had troops on Russian soil.) Also, you need to know that when Russia took so many countries into its embrace after World War 2, it did everything it could do to “Russianize” those “satellites.” It made Russia the national language of those states and the only language to be taught in schools. And it moved a very large number of ethnic Russians into those states as they had earlier moved large numbers of other ethnicities out of them. Because of this, Russia always had a sizeable minority, at the very least, of ethnic Russians “on tap” in those states, to oppose internal revolutions or external invasions.
Anyone shocked by Russia’s current tactics of smuggling in its own troops to blend with the ethnic Russians already in Ukraine or Russia’s honoring plebiscites in areas dominated by ethic Russians miss the point that they prepared those strategies a long time ago.