Renowned Moscow political scientist Stanislav Belkovsky says President Vladimir Putin is hoping to convert support for the US military action against the Islamic State for an American promise not to interfere in the former Soviet Union republics.
"Putin's main strategy currently is to commodify its role in suppressing the Islamic State. In return for being involved in the fight against the Islamic State, Putin wants the US to stop 'terrorizing' Russia in the former Soviet Union," Belkovsky told Postimees.
He said Putin's goal is to involve the US in resolving the crisis so that he, Putin, could negotiate directly with US President Barack Obama regarding former territory of the Soviet Union.
"The fact that the US refuses to take part in such talks forces Putin to keep on escalating the conflict," said Belkovsky, who is a founder and director of the National Strategy Institute.
Belkovsky said the West is still afraid of Russia, although the country is not as strong as it appears.
"Russia is no Iran," he said. "Russia is a nuclear armed country, although not as powerful as official Russian propaganda portrays it," he said.