But now the country is run by an authoritarian ex-KGB regime with the cash to put its ideas into practice. Under Vladimir Putin's autocratic rule, Russia has used its soaring oil and gas revenues to pay off its debts and gain influence in the West, buying off criticism both at home and abroad.
Foreign firms are ősi anti aging titkok out of strategic industries in Russia, while the subsidiaries of 'Kremlin Inc' muscle their way into Western markets. Putin's Russia silences its critics and bullies its neighbours.
The murders of journalist Anna Politkovskaya and émigré Aleksander Litvinenko have sent a grim warning to others who might challenge the regime. The Kremlin uses energy blockades, trade sanctions, cyber-attacks, riots and Soviet-style disinformation against the countries of the former Soviet empire that try to resist its growing influence.
Russia has threatened to target its nuclear missiles on America's allies in Eastern Europe and resumed regular intrusions into NATO airspace.
Kremlin companies are stitching up Europe's gas market, striking separate deals with individual countries. Russia is not only playing divide and rule in Europe, but also sidelining America, its most formidable opponent in the last Cold War.