Mr. Putin, his Foreign Minister and most of his foreign affairs advisors were at some time members of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The presumption must be that they believed then in the ideals of Marx – in socialism, class struggle, and other practical policies that underlined the policies and practices of the Soviet Union during the Cold War era. It is healthier to believe that they were Socialists who converted to Capitalism. The alternative would make them hypocrites which would indeed make the future of Russia look very bleak.
But switching ideology is a dangerous step with unpredictable consequences. Converts of this type, in attempting to repent their early perceived mistakes, may become so adherent to the new ideology that they get blinded to realities and turn into fanatics. We have examples of Arab communists who converted and became worse imperialists than the Neocons.