Russian President Vladimir Putin is no longer a communist and has no interest in attempting to re-create the Soviet Union.

In fact, many Russian leaders now decry the Soviet state. Parts of the Russian Orthodox Church, with whom Mr. Putin has allied in a bid to tighten his grip on power, condemned Lenin recently and recommended destroying his mausoleum in Red Square.

No, Mr. Putin does not want to re-create the old USSR, but he does want a return of the Russian empire, or maybe even a hybrid version of the Soviet Union, without the communism. Skeptical? Just look around the world.

This week, in the Caucasus, the Russian government essentially closed the border between the Georgian territory of Abkhazia and the rest of the country Russian troops have occupied the ethnic enclaves of Abkhazia and South Ossetia since the Russo-Georgian war of 2008, recognizing them as independent states. Mr. Putin also signed an order to allow the recruitment of South Ossetians for enlistment in the Russian armed forces.

In Moldova, the Kremlin has been pressuring diplomats who are attempting to investigate the theft of 20 percent of the country’s treasury assets, billions of dollars, which they say ended up in Russia. They suspect a scheme to destabilize the pro-EU government in Chisinau and move the leadership back to the Kremlin’s orbit. The prime minister has accused Moscow of intimidation of its diplomats and other harassment.

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