Re: The russian record != the record
"It makes you wonder if anyone inside Russia ever reads non-Russian media sources".
Presumably, by "non-Russian sources" you mean the "Western media", which seems to agree about everything. Not surprising, since it consists almost exclusively of Western government communiques and glosses on the same. (Where "Western" means "operated by Obama"). To my horror, even "Private Eye" has seen fit to join the chorus, adopting an editorial line indistinguishable from the New York Times, The Times, The Guardian, the BBC, Fox, etc. Namely: the Russians are the new Nazis, Putin is the new Hitler (but wasn't that Saddam and Assad and Qadafi and Khomeini and Bin Laden and Kim Il-Sung/Kim Jong-il/Kim Jong-un...?), and the USA must resist every one of their dastardly threats the way it didn't resist Hitler until Hitler declared war on it? Every day's Five Minute Hate comes to sound awfully similar, after a few years of it - except that it lasts all 24 hours around, something even Orwell couldn't imagine. And all to disguise our politicians' hopeless failure to improve matters in their own countries.
It may be news to you, but all human communities want a strong leader. This obvious and universal trait is sometimes masked by political ideologies that insist we are ruled by kind altruistic politicians, for our own good and by our own will. But ask yourself, if you will, why no-hopers like Bush, Blair, Obama and Cameron see fit to send our armed forces, paid for by our taxes, into the corners of the Earth to kill or maim millions of perfectly harmless people who have done us no harm and pose no threat to us. Isn't it obvious? They think that will make them look like strong leaders. In other words, to be perfectly blunt, they suffer from Stalin-envy.