When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 it ended an era. The Cold War that dominated geopolitics since the end of the Second World War seemed at an end. No more would the war to stop Soviet Aggression be fought via client states and radical organizations. Peace at last, at least where it concerns the west verses Soviet Expansion. Like others the United States watched and encouraged the change in Russia hoping a true democracy would replace a repressive government only to see those in power divide the assets of the former Soviet Union amongst themselves. One person who worked for the Soviet intelligence organization, KGB, saw an opportunity and used connections to rise become a leading political power in Russia and eventually its leader. Vladidimir Putin used the knowledge he obtained from his days with the KGB, and the FSB which replaced it, to make alliances and eliminate opponents. Mr. Putin even appointed his successor to act as a placeholder prime minister until he could once again take the reigns.
Not happy with the shrinking power and influence of Russia, Putin began planning ways of making Russia a Superpower like the former Soviet Union but found the United States and her allies standing in the way. The US was not trying to keep Russia from playing a part in World affairs, it just wanted Putin to play by the rules and respect democracy. The problem is that Putin is former KGB and was taught not to trust anyone, especially the US. So Mr. Putin defaulted to his training using old KGB methods to obtain what he wanted. One thing he wanted was to annex the Ukraine into Russia because he and other Russians think the Ukraine should not be Sovereign because it is a natural part of Russia, unfortunately for him most Ukrainians and the world don't share this view. Putin gambled that he could manipulate the political situation in the Ukraine and lost. Following the revolution in the Ukraine that ousted his puppet in that country he undertook more drastic actions by sending in Russian special forces acting as separatists to stir up trouble. In doing this he took he Crimea and annexed it into Russia with a rigged election. His "separatists" still occupy parts of Eastern Ukraine and have shot down a Malaysian Airliner that over flew the area. When the US under President Obama stood up to Putin by slapping sanctions on him and the Russian Oligarchy, Putin became angry and wanted revenge. Putin wanted to not just revenge he wanted to weaken the US, to isolate it so he could continue unopposed in expanding Russian power and influence so he turned to his advisors in the Geopolitical Community to create a plan for political warfare against the United States and her allies. In Europe he has set up a campaign to take down the European Union by fanning Nationalism and hate against Muslims. Do you think Putin wants to end the Syrian war when he knows that the influx of refugees into Europe and the threat of terrorism works to his advantage by putting strain on the EU? No, he will keep that fire going as long as it is useful to him.
In the United States he played a Trump card by fanning nationalism and racism in the US by interfering in an election and aiding a man that is probably in collusion with Russian intelligence for one reason or another. What does he want? A weakened US that alienates its allies and whose only influence is isolated to that of the Americas. He wants to drive a wedge between us and other countries we have as allies. He wants the US to take on China to weaken both countries so Russia can reign supreme in world affairs. Why do you think Trump is threatening war with North Korea? To stop its nuclear program and protect our allies? Heck Trump already made it clear he would not come to Japan's aid if attacked. No Russia would like the US to attack North Korea and would not mind if Trump targeted North Korea's nuclear facilities with a nuke or two. He is gambling that China would not retaliate on NK's behalf using Nuclear weapons but conventional. China may have a nuclear arsenal but its capabilities are lacking and it is extremely outgunned by the US so it would not risk nuclear annihilation for North Korea. What it would do would be to throw world trade in turmoil by closing of the South China Sea and attacking American allies in that region, along with Japan and North Korea. Putin would love this.
Trump supporters claim Russia did the US a favor by helping elect Trump but they are very mistaken. Why? Because no country will act in such away that it will do something for the benefit of another country without gaining leverage over that country. Putin doesn't want America Great, he wants it weak, divided, and poor.