'It is absurd to expect that Russia will stop putting pressure on its neighbours in the hope of "resuming a formal dialogue with the EU" (a dialogue in which Russia was already becoming less and less interested before the current stand-off). For Russia, pressurising neighbours is almost inevitable, because it stems from its chosen identity: Russia wants to think of itself as a great power, and its definition of great power includes having "a sphere of influence" around its borders. Great power status and the ability to control vast areas also legitimise the oppressive nature of the regime at home. Moreover, it would be wrong to think of great power rhetoric merely as a propaganda tool of the Kremlin. No – the idea of other countries being afraid of Russia enjoys true popularity among large parts of the population, who are happy to sacrifice certain freedoms for the sake of this national status.