In most western capitalists, this narrative is vastly prevalent that Vladimir Putin is striving to regain the lost Soviet empire’s dominance in the world. Putin’s aggressive behaviour in Ukraine and extending support to Assad’s regime in Syria is advancement towards another Pax Russiana. This is a misreading of Putin’s motives — it appears that Moscow is neither striving for regaining dominance nor is it attempting to challenge the writ of the only super power of the world United States of America,instead Moscow is attempting to be world’s ‘number two’ and Putin doesn’t want any other country to fill this position. Putin wants Moscow and Washington to collectively decide world’s affairs just like it used to during the old days of Cold War.Russia in reality is no longer a super power and its strength is not equal to that of the United States, as US is much stronger. Putin himself has acknowledged this, however much later on June 17, 2016 in St Petersburg. He admitted saying that Russia respects the US as the world’s only super power and Moscow want to and are ready to work with the US. Putin essentially sees China and European Union (EU) as Moscow’s biggest competitors in the race to be world’s second biggest superpower. Putin undoubtedly has viewed EU as the unified political and economic powerhouse that can dictate or interact with the US and therefore EU has the propensity of filling that position as world’s ‘number two’. To compete with the EU for this position, Putin has planned to make the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU)stronger and more effective. The vision of EAEU was introduced by Kazakhstan in 1994 but soon afterwards taken over by Russia. Apparently, EAEU until today has been unable to deliver results for Russia and its union members. The idea was to take three old Soviet countries under one umbrella in the name of political and economic union ie Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan.Russia’s struggle for greater relevance in the world has met its biggest challenger ie China — a country that has an economy five times bigger than Russia and the western capitalists have talked about China emerging as the second most popular. Russia’s concern about China is real,despite the Beijing-Moscow façade alliance, the reality is that Putin has never allowed China to buy shares in its energy sector. The bilateral trade between Moscow and Beijing is low and the two nations still harbour high distrust. Russia’s struggle for greater relevance in the world has met its biggest challenger in China — a country that boasts an economy five times larger than Moscow’s. And if that weren’t enough — western capitalists have hailed it as the second most popular economyRussia may not have gotten directly involved in South China Sea dispute but it does seem to have strategic and economic goals in how the heated dispute plays out. Moscow does seem to be favouring China and Vietnam’s claims because of having close ties with both. However, Russia seems to be counterproductively warming up both old rivals at the same time — in his usual manner, Putin shows that he is a long-term strategist. Russian Foreign Minister has recently opined that it is matter of principle not to favour with any party. It appears that interference of Russia in the southern China Sea dispute is to keep Vietnam in its control by giving it gas and weaponry against China. To some extend China doesn’t mind Russia advancing its weaponry and support to Vietnam as long as Russia or Vietnam doesn’t disturb the equilibrium of Chinese interests hugely. China apparently seems to be more than just satisfied with Russian efforts of stabilising Vietnam as this will avoid or provide no space for US technology to be placed near by China.In culmination, it is submitted that what Moscow is doing is just to regain its relevance so that it could be considered by the US, while deciding world’s affairs in Asia and Pacific especially. Russia knows very well that it lacks propensity of challenging the writ of world’s only super power. Moscow’s interference in the southern China Sea dispute is to warm its relationships with Japan and South Korea to some extend around China so that relevance of Russia increases around the globe. It is unfair to suggest that Putin or his aides want to have hegemony against the US. Russia lacks weaponry and resources — it is a dying nation. The writer is an advocate of High Court and can be reached at email@example.com Published in Daily Times, September 24th 2017.