Russia is Second World, India is Third World, soon to be the third largest economy is Third World, because it is about per capita income.
Russia lost the Cold War. It is an economy the size of Italy.
Syria is where Russia has decided to take its last stand before the world comes to realize Russia really, truly did lose the Cold War.
China was the biggest beneficiary of the end of the Cold War. It allowed China to ditch an economics that was obviously not working.
Putin is happy playing second fiddle to China. China does not think Russia is a superior military power. The two economies don't even compare. And it has been only a generation.
The irony is, in seeking power parity with America Russia is going down a path that takes it further and further away from true greatness. True greatness comes from growing the Russian economy.
Democracy and the market economy are it. Sooner or later Russia will have to come around to it for its own good.
It can also be said America did not manage the end of the Cold War as well as it could have. But then how much room to play was there?
The Russian people and leadership have to decide on their own to do right by Russia's future.
The tragedy is Syria. Innocents are getting killed in large numbers. That will be a drag on Russian stature in the long term.