So, this, "Russian Stalemate," is a fascinating article by Frank Lee.
I found the second paragraph highly informative:
On 17 March 1991 a referendum was held in the Soviet Union on whether or not the USSR should continue to exist. There was an 80% turnout (some 185,647,355.00 of registered voters). The upshot of this election was that 113,512,812.00 voted to preserve the USSR. That’s 71.92%. Their wishes were disregarded, however. The entrenched bureaucracies and business interests, collectively the nomenklatura, decided that this was too good an opportunity to pass up; there was money to be made in this once in a lifetime situation.
I studied Soviet politics but was not aware that, that referendum had turned out that way or had simply forgotten about it after all these years.
I hope he's right in some ways and wrong in others. He points out the divide in Russia between the "capitalists" and the intelligence community, if I may reduce things to those terms. I have no doubt that, that divide exists, never did. However, it has always appeared to me that the intelligence side has had the upper hand by quite a bit and that Putin has simply been avoiding larger wars rather than appeasing capitalists in Russia.
My true hope is that the youth of America, who are rightly leaning more and more to the left, will straighten out US government along the lines I've been advocating all my life (save a period of being what I'd call open to some libertarian nonsense, though, with strong reservations) and turn to foreign policy to invite Russia to relax its nationalism and rather join the US in an extremely strong and peaceful, non-imperialist, social democracy at the very least but hopefully democratic socialism.