Vince Dhimos answered a hugely biased, semi-literate question at Quora.
I normally would not bother to answer such a question written by a horribly biased person unable to express himself properly. However, this question reflects the mind set of many Westerners who vote and it needs to be addressed.
HOW DOES A COUNTRY LIKE RUSSIA, WITH A GDP BASED ON TOTALLY NATURAL RESERVES, LOW TECHNOLOGY, SCREW[ED] UP POPULATION, MEDDLING IN THE AFFAIR[S] OF OTHER COUNTRIES (MOLDOVA, AZERBAIJAN, GEORGIA, SYRIA OR SAY OTHER[S])? SHOULDN’T WESTERN POWERS ACCEPT THEIR DEFEAT? [no idea what he meant by that last question]
Your question is mostly an answer and it is incorrect. By that I mean, factually incorrect, though its political correctness is evident. What you say is right in line with the narrative spun by the US Establishment and NATO, which rely on low-information Western news consumers to keep up the pretences on which their aggressive behaviour is based. Without low-information citizens, the US Establishment would collapse.
Firstly, Russian GDP is not based totally on natural reserves. Russia is self-sufficient, manufacturing almost everything its population needs, and growing its own food. In fact,. Russia has held the record of the top wheat exporter for several years (the report does not come from a Russian news outlet, but from Reuters: Russia eyes 2035 grain crop boom with $70 billion investment plan).
Russia is also the second biggest arms exporter, after the US, and the US is so fearful that it could become no. 1 that it is sanctioning countries who buy its arms — which are reputed to be better and cheaper. This report is from National Interest (https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/russia-now-number-2-military-sales-any-guess-who-number-1-38767), a serious think tank that advises Pentagon officials and other Washington officials. In this context, Russia has hypersonic missiles so advanced that even arch Neocon John Hyten, a high ranking US commander, has admitted the US will not catch up before 2023. So much for your “low technology.”
Russia also manufactures autos, including autos made in factories financed by European brands https://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-russia/auto-makers-flock-to-russia-in-search-of-growth-id USBRE87S0RZ20120829. That was from Reuters. Reuters is not a Russian source.
Russia also makes machines of all kinds https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JSC_Russian_Machines
And an airliner https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/08/28/russia-aims-high-with-new-passenger-plane.html. That report was from Jakarta Post. Jakarta is not in Russia. The report originated in Agence France Presse.
Now getting to the Russian “meddling” you mention.
Firstly, let’s get Azerbaijan out of the way. There is no unwanted Russian meddling in Azerbaijan, although Russia has a deal with the country that is being upheld. The country trades in hydrocarbons with Europe, and Russia does not object. I suppose you may have been confused with the military incursions in the Soviet era. Today’s Russia is no longer part of the Soviet Union, which has ceased to exist. It is now called the Russian Federation and is no longer communist or atheist.
Now let’s look at Moldova, which like Ukraine, has a large Russian language speaking population. And this means, in all cases, that the Russian speakers identify with Russia culturally and are loyal to it. Generally speaking, the Russian speakers in Ukraine (which for some reason you did not mention) and Moldova are of special interest to Russia. The situation in these regions is perfectly analogous to that which existed in Texas around the time of the US war with Mexico. There was a large English-speaking population there that wanted to be part of the US. Now if you think it was wrong for the US to annex Texas at that time, then my argument is not as strong. But generally speaking, most Americans think the Mexicans were abusing the American population there and deserved to lose that territory. The same principle holds true in Moldava, where a region now known as Transnistria is populated largely by Russian speakers who absolutely refuse to be ruled by the Romanian speakers of Moldova, partly because these people want to ban the Russian language in a region that has spoken Russian for decades. In fact, Romania today is one of the most anti-Russian countries in Europe, thanks to US incitement.
The Russian side supported the Russian speaking Transnistrian side and fought off an invasion in that breakaway region. This gave the West an excuse to label Russia an aggressor, but in fact, the Russians were seen as liberators by the Transnistrians, whose lives and property were threatened by the warlike Moldovan government.
The problem with many Americans, and with the entire US and NATO establishment, is that their thinking is not based on reason and logic but on an “us vs them” attitude. Thus the principles applicable in the Western-dominated sphere do not necessarily apply in the rest of the world. Therefore, the principle applied to Texas supposedly does not apply to regions in which Russian culture prevails. This makes for inconsistent foreign policy that only the US and its clones understands and accepts. This is why many Americans are not bothered by Trump’s claim to Syria’s oil because instead of applying the universally accepted principle that stealing is illegal and unacceptable, they apply the “Exceptional Nation” concept whereby the US is the final arbiter in everything and no one else’s interests count.
As for Georgia, in 2008, https://www.history.com/news/russia-georgia-war-military-nato the Russians were provoked by Georgian president Saakashvili when he ordered the arrest of some Russians on unconfirmed espionage charges. Then when S. Ossetia and Abkhazia decided to declare their independence shortly thereafter, Georgia tried to crush the rebels with a military incursion that killed many civilians, but Russia came to their aid and overwhelmed the Georgian forces. This was not by any means a cases of Russian aggression because Russia made no attempt to take over the 2 breakaway republics or Georgia. What most Westerners and the whole Western Establishment fail to grasp is that Russia never tries to occupy a country that is hostile to it or has not asked for permanent protection. Even the Russian-speaking breakaway republics of Donbass that were once part of Ukraine have been hoping to accede to Russia but so far, to no avail because Russia is not ready to annex this territory. Therefore, it is silly to speak of Russian aggression.
The problem with Americans and their government is that if they did a little research or studied history, they would easily understand that the things they accuse Russia of are not within the MO (modus operandi, or habitual behaviour) of the Russians. In other words, if the Russians were aggressive toward their neighbours, they would not be Russian!
On the other hand, like the Americans, who like the phrase “don’t tread on me,” they do not take kindly to invasion and provocation and will always maintain a well-stocked and updated arsenal just in case.
As for Syria, anyone who thinks the Russians are the aggressors has simply got the shoe on the wrong foot. It was the US-led West that created the terrorist groups that all but destroyed Syria (as detailed here on the basis of thorough research: https://www.quora.com/Are-there-any-sources-for-American-involvement-in-the-Middle-East-since-9-11-It-s-for-a-paper/answer/Vince-Dhimos), and it was Russia that turned the tide of the war in September of 2015. Thus Russia saved Syria from Western aggression, and did so at the invitation of the Syrian people. The US, however, illegally entered Syria without an invitation, and that is what is properly called aggression.