- The Washington Times - Monday, March 31, 2014

Russian President Vladimir Putin ultimately wants to reclaim Finland for Russia, his former economic policy adviser has claimed.

Andrej Illiaronov, a libertarian economist who was one of Mr. Putin’s closest advisers from 2000 to 2005, said that “parts of Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic States and Finland are states where Putin claims to have ownership,” the International Business Times reported.

“Putin’s view is that he protects what belongs to him and his predecessors,” he said, adding that Mr. Putin wishes to return to the Russia of Nicholas II.

Mr. Illiaronov said that Finland “is not on Putin’s agenda today or tomorrow,” but if left unchecked, it could eventually be within his sights.

“Putin said several times that the Bolsheviks and Communists made big mistakes. He could well say that the Bolsheviks in 1917 committed treason against Russian national interests by providing Finland’s independence,” he theorized.

“Six years ago Putin conquered Abkhazia and South Ossetia from Georgia. The west let him do it with impunity, and now he has got Crimea,” he told a Swedish news website. “Now, eastern and southern Ukraine is destabilized so that the self-defense forces can take power there.”

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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