Like any other power, Russia is concerned about geopolitics. But, unlike its opponents, is frustrated and obsessed with its main geopolitical handicap: Russia is not a thalassocracy. In other words, is obsessed with the opposition thalassocracy-telurocracy.
Thalassocracy is the rule of the sea, brilliantly embodied by the USA and the UK and has the advantage that it is an active model of rapidly evolving society, with a very high mobility due navy that can reach anywhere in the world and has the basic fulminant development through trade.
Telurocracy is the rule of the land, embodied by the Soviet Union (in the Cold War), and now by the Russian Federation. Telurocracy is a model without too much mobility in the world and always based on the security of land, being concerned about the possibility of land invasions. That’s why Russia has this crazy need to conquer as much territory as it can: to have buffer zones. And from this reason we have russian conservatorism and a very sever Russian political system.
This obsession with this opposition can be easily observed from the soviet actions during Cold War and from the writings of contemporary Russian geopoliticians.
For example, Aleksandr Dughin in his book “The Foundations of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia” warns his readers from the beginning of the book and then repeated many times after that the fundamental law of geopolitics is this opposition between thalasocracy and telurocracy, which underlies all history of humanity, and any attempt to analyze other than through this key is not geopolitics.
If we talk about the soviet actions during Cold War, I think that the K-219 nuclear submarine event in the North Atlantic is representative to understand how the Soviet Union tried to become a thalassocracy.
In the latter part of the Cold War, the Soviet Union invested heavily in its fleet, especially in submarines, reaching in the late 80s until approx. 40% of GDP allocated to military spending. Why put so much into the fleet? Because Soviet Union wanted to become a thalassocracy.
Russia’s frustration is that it is very difficult to bring its fleet in the oceans, to be mobile all around the globe. Russia is not content with its telurocracy status. Therefore, it needs bigger buffer-zones to control them (see what is happening in eastern Ukraine) and needs strategic seaports at the Mediterranean Sea (see the port of Tartus and why Russia supports the regime of Bashar al-Assad) and at the Black Sea (see why Russia annexed the Crimea).
And its attempt to be a thalassocracy contributed significantly to the collapse of the Soviet Union from an economic point of view.