Is that why Putin said Ukraine is not really a nation?
You know why he said that? It's pretty simple - up until 1991, there was no such thing as Ukraine. It never existed, unless you count the Ukrainian SSR - but that was still very much controlled by Moscow and with no real autonomy whatsoever. So - for a guy like him, it's no surprise that he thinks that Ukraine isn't really a nation. However, those of us who can think for ourselves know the truth - that Ukrainian identity is growing and growing irrespective of language.
It's a common attitude in Europe - you'll hear the Spanish say the same about Catalonia and the Basque country, the English about Scotland, the Germans about Bavaria - the list is endless.
Incidentally, if you knew Poles, you'd know that the attitude of "Ukraine isn't a country" is quite common here, too - especially among people living in the East and those who live in the "recovered territories".
Putin knows the value of having his ethnic Russians in sizeable numbers in parts of Ukraine.
Ethnic Russians aren't necessarily loyal to Russia, however. In the case of Ukraine, they look to Kyiv, not to Moscow. Look at Poland - the ethnic Germans here are looking to Warsaw, not to Berlin. The Czech minority thinks about Warsaw, not Prague. The list goes on...
But how did these power hungry Poles hold onto their kingdoms if Poland was whiped off the map?? That doesn't make sense.
Start by reading about the Targowica Confederation - you'll understand why they sold out to Russia. A read of the May 3rd Constitution and the ideals behind it wouldn't be a bad idea too - Catherine was far more in favour of strong nobles than the peasantry being given rights.
That may have been true in the beginning but afterwards Russia was just greedy for other nation's territory.
Not really - there's nothing in large parts of Siberia and so on. It's an inhospitable land, and they benefit from being joined to European Russia.
Why did Russia try to seize half of Europe? Why did Russia seize the Baltic states, Ukraine and even part of Finland after 1945? Was that so that Russia "would not be subjugated by mongols"?
The answer to that is pretty simple - "lebensraum". Stalin was understandably paranoid after WW2, and those buffer states meant that Russia was much further away from the rest of Europe.
Ask yourself MediaWatch - why did the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth stretch almost from sea to sea at one point? What was the need? Greed? They certainly didn't need all that land for the amount of people they had - but they took it. Was it because - as in Russia - the larger the territory, the more power they had?
The history of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in terms of expansion wasn't much different to Russia, really.