NewsFormer Putin advisor indicates potential territorial expansion to 18th-century Russian borders

Former Putin advisor indicates potential territorial expansion to 18th-century Russian borders

Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Youth Congress on February 1, 2024.
Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Youth Congress on February 1, 2024.
Images source: © Getty Images | Contributor#8523328

6:33 AM EST, February 2, 2024, updated: 4:29 AM EST, March 7, 2024

According to Illarionov, Putin aspires to a grand vision of Russia, including parts of Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic states, and Poland. The former advisor unveils what he believes to be Putin's deeply-held plans for territorial expansion.

Speaking to the Estonian newspaper 'Eesti Päevaleh', Illarionov argues that the initial steps toward creating Putin's imperial dream were evident in the assaults on Estonia back in 2007.

The 63-year-old economist and Leningrad State University alumnus, previously had roles as a scientist, lecturer, and government advisor involved in developing a privatization program before becoming an economic advisor to President Putin in 2000.

Illarionov is currently a research associate in the United States. Interestingly, he also has connections with Poland. In 2016, the now-dissolved Polish subcommittee appointed him as an expert to re-investigate the plane crash near Smolensk, under the auspices of then National Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz.

Former Putin advisor reveals desire for 18th-century Russian borders

"When Putin first entered the Kremlin, his perspective on the world was different. He was primarily interested in Western integration during the initial years of his rule, particularly within his first two or three years," Illarionov recollects. "He frequently expressed, in private conversations, a strong desire for Russia to become a full member of European Union and NATO."

Illarionov further expresses his surprise at how Putin's ideas had drastically changed two decades later. "Starting from 2008, Putin's primary goal has been the expansion of the Russian Empire. Georgia fell victim to Russian aggression first, followed by Ukraine since 2014. It is crucial not to overlook the hybrid cyber-attacks on Estonia as well. Putin is primarily driven by imperial expansion," Andrei Illarionov emphasizes.

Illarionov reveals that Putin envisages the assaults on Ukraine in 2014 and 2022 as merely the results of his larger strategic designs. He wants to see the likes of Ukraine, the Baltic states, and parts of Poland back within Russian boundaries.

Putin's ambition is to stretch Russia's boundaries to mirror those of the late 18th century. "He presented his perception of Russia's historical borders in a 2012 article. He openly discussed the Russian Empire in public," Illarionov stated in the Estonian newspaper.

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