A hundred years after the outbreak of the Great War, one might have hoped that the leaders of major powers had learned from history and come to their senses. Not so, apparently, in Moscow and a few other capitals of erstwhile empires.
At the outbreak of the First World War, Czarist Russia included Finland, the Baltic States, much of Poland and most of today's Ukraine. Finland and the Baltic States declared their independence in 1917, after the Bolshevic Coup d'etat. By virtue of the Molotoc-von Ribbentrop Pact of 1939, the Baltics were re-annexed in 1940-1941 and from 1944-1991. Finland lost Karelia by virtue of the peace treaty of 1947 with the Soviet Union.
Putin Russia's propaganda is deliberately confusing modern nationalism with 19th. century imperialism. Those scholars and politicians who argue that Putin's hate propaganda reflects genuine concern about lost status, influence or territory should go back to school or visit a psychiatrist. Stephane Courtois', le Livre Noir du Communisme is a good beginning to restore one's sense of history. There are absolutely no valid arguments for destroying or destabilizing neighboring countries in the name of Russian inhabitants aroused to violent and criminal behavior by agents from Moscow's secret services and supported by Russian troops.
Putin's policies rightly acted as a wake up call for NATO, as can be read in the attached Summit Declaration of 5 September 2014. NATO essentially and necessarily returned to its fundamental task of COLLECTIVE SELF-DEFENSE against an aggressive Russia. Let us not be mistaken: NATO's enlargement with the Baltic Republics, Poland, Czech and Slovak Republic, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, was the outcome of an urgent request from these countries to be protected against a resurgent and aggressive Russia - and not from any American or European imperialistic scheme. All of these NATO members must be defended in accordance with article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty.