Muscovy (predecessor of Russia) made its first major land conquests in the 15th century. The last happened in 1945.
Russia is the world’s largest country. Our territory is comparable to the planet Pluto. We Russians did it in four major steps:
Crushed the descendant royalties of Mongol-Tartars to the east and took their lands and dependencies (15th and 16th centuries) in Siberia and Far East
Crushed the Swedes in the west and got access to the Baltic sea (17th century). That´s where St. Petersburg is now.
Crushed the Turks and the Persians to the south and took from them the Crimean peninsula and Caucasus (1700s and 1800s)
Took East Prussia from the Germans and partitioned it with Lithuania and Poland (1945)
A few other land conquests (Alaska, Finland & the Baltics, Ukraine & Belorussia, Romania and Central Asia) don’t count because we lost them along the way.
The annexation of Crimea in 2014 doesn’t belong to that list. The official version states it was Russian even in Ukrainian possession, because it belonged to Russian empire before 1917, was part of Russian Socialist Federative Soviet republic until 1956, and joined Russian Federation as a result of a referendum, not a military conquest.
Also remember that the Mercator projection used on modern maps makes Russia look much bigger than it actually is. Below is an illustration showing the real size of Russia compared to Africa, without the Mercator distortion.
In plain terms, Russia’s neighbors where Russian-speaking minorities experienced injustice ran the risk of losing the territories where these minorities lived. Just like this happened to Ukraine. On March 7, 2014, President Putin’s spokesman Dmitri Peskov, announced that Putin was the guarantor of security in the Russian World.
Where exactly are the borders of the Russian world? Pretty much where Russia’s territory goes now, with some additions:
Estonia and Latvia (large Russian minorities there)
Belarus (we consider them to be Russians that need to be rescued from under an unfortunate Polish influence)
Ukraine, with the possible exception of its fiercely nationalistic westernmost part. We see them as slightly retarded Russians that speak a weird archaic dialect.
Transdnestria, the Russian-speaking enclave in Moldova.
Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two breakaway regions of Georgia with pro-Russian minorities.
The whole of Kazakhstan, or the northern part of it. Russians used to make up at least half of its population.
Alaska. It used to be Russian, before we made fools of ourselves selling it to Americans in the middle of 18th century.
Port-Artur and Dalian in China used to be our naval bases before the Japanese messed up with us a hundred years ago. We also built a railroad connecting Vladivostok with Siberia directly over the Chinese territory. Would be nice having these back.
Svalbard archipelago in Norway. We mean to be the first settlers there, not the Norwegians.
The entire Arctic Ocean in the triangle between the Bering Strait, the North Pole and the Russian border with Norway. If Alaska returns to Russia, we would like that additional slice of Arctic sector too.
Serbia + Montenegro + a selection of Orthodox monasteries in Greece would be an excellent addition to heartland Russia. Our brethren in the Balkans may have some doubts about losing their statehood, but we’ll explain how it is much better than being part of Godless, gay-loving, Muslim-infested Europe.
Armenia. The little nation’s only chance to withstand enmity from their Muslim neighbors.
Istanbul/Constantinople, with a sizable addition of adjoining territories. The Promised Land of Russian Orthodox church. Superior location for coronation of Russian presidents, winter Olympics and Mr Putin’s second winter residence.
The logic behind this is rather straightforward. The Russian world is the territories that at some point in time were controlled by the House of Romanov, or considered to be under their spiritual protection, or frequented by Russian colonizers.