Helsinki: Russian President Vladimir Putin ultimately wants to reclaim Finland for Russia, one of the ex-KGB agent’s closest ex-advisers has claimed.
Andrej Illiaronov, Mr Putin’s economic adviser between 2000 and 2005 and now senior member of the Cato Institute think tank, said that “parts of Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic States and Finland are states where Mr Putin claims to have ownership.”
“Putin’s view is that he protects what belongs to him and his predecessors,” Mr Illiaronov said.
When asked if Mr Putin wishes to return to the Russia of the last Tsar, Nicholas II, Mr Illiaro-nov said, “Yes, if it becomes possible.”
Mr Illiaronov admits that Finland is not Mr Putin’s primary concern at present but, if not stopped in other areas of eastern Europe, the issue will one day arise.
Russian troops are currently massing on the eastern border of Ukraine, following Russia’s recent annexation of Crimea.
“Mr Putin said several times that the Bolsheviks and Communists made big mistakes. He could say the Bolsheviks in 1917 committed treason against Russian national interests by providing Finland’s independence,” Mr Illiaronov said.
He believes that Putin is not planning to invade Ukraine for territorial gain but rather “the goal is a pro-Russian puppet government in Kiev.”
“Six years ago Putin conquered Abkhazia and South Ossetia from Georgia. The West let him do and now he has got Crimea,” he said....