Current Russian policy is based on a nationalism that rests on state capitalism, and that speaks to nationalist sentiment built on the rejection of Western exploitation. This patriotic nationalist position becomes evident through the lack of any ideologically derived principles driving Russia’s position: state interests including national security are what drive current policy. The drivers for this new Russian policy mean that Russia can simultaneously suppress a separatist movement by armed force in one region and champion another separatist movement with armed force in another. In this sense, the Russian Federation has no fixed positions but only fixed interests, and even its interests can change. In Syria, critics suggest that the proximate aim of Russia’s policy is to defend the Assad regime, Moscow’s ally, from collapse. Saving the regime is not, however, an end in itself. Rather, it is a means of self-assertion and another step toward the goal of becoming a global superpower, this time in the Middle East. If the Syrian regime believes its rescue is the exclusive objective of Russia’s intervention, it is wrong. The exertion of Russian influence will at most provide a temporary respite. The mere fact of Russia’s military presence in Syria means that the regime is no longer master of its own destiny and no longer even a player on the international stage, since Russia is now its proxy at any international negotiations.