VLADIMIR Putin is constructing a tinpot empire of failing states and ruthless tyrants as he attempts to build new a "Soviet Union".
Russia is cosying up to a rogue's gallery of nations as it seeks to expand its influence – today sending in "peacekeepers" to crush protests in Kazakhstan.
Putin's desire to make Russia great again is no secret, and neither is his admiration for the Soviet Union – which collapsed in 1991.
Vlad has called the tyrannical bloc's collapse a "genuine tragedy" – and is believed by some to be seeking to set the map back some 30 years.
Ukraine intelligence warned Russia wants "to neutralise western influence and create a trading space" – in effect a return to the USSR.
Putin has used land grabs along with establishing key alliances with dictators in neighbouring states to expand his influence.
And it ranges far beyond the original borders of the Soviet Union, also striking up alliances in South America and the Middle East.
States who fall out with the West or dictators who need help are seen as an opportunity by Putin.
With tanks and troops rolling into Kazakhstan, it brings back echoes of the days behind the Iron Curtain.
Here are some of the nations and regions who make up Putin's worrying new empire-esque sphere of influence as he seeks to return to the glory of the USSR.