I'm in the middle of listening to the audiobook: "The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin".
It is pretty much a biography of his life starting before his birth with the war years of the Soviet Union. So far I'm up to where the Soviet Union is in the process of falling apart. The book has given me an idea of another way to look at the world. Putin is pretty indifferent to political systems and economic systems. His life shows no preference to socialism / communism vs. capitalism, or democracy vs. dictatorship. If there was ever a guy with the motto "My country, right or wrong", Putin is your man.
Putin's driving belief seems to be "Security and Stability". His actions first apply to the nation of Russia itself. He does whatever is necessary to ensure "Security and Stability" within Russia. It doesn't matter to him that his nation was a communist dictatorship during his years growing up and as a young KGB officer, nor that today it is more of a democratic capitalist nation. So long as these things don't endanger the security and stability of his nation, he has little interest. He just as much would put his life on the line to protect his nation and enforce its laws under either sets of rules and economies, if that is what it takes to protect the "Security and Stability" of his nation.
Naturally this view extends to the rest of the world, but just from the goal of keeping Russia itself "Secure & Stable". Unlike the Communist Party that he grew up under, he has no interest in spreading that philosophy to the rest of the world. Nor does he have any interest in spreading Russia's newly established democracy and freer markets to the rest of the world. His primary view of the rest of the world is ensuring stability, especially in neighboring nations, such that they will not endanger the stability and security of Russia itself.
Internationally Putin does believe it is essential for the "Security and Stability" of Russia that all the nations surrounding Russia be economically and militarily aligned with Russia. Many of the nations surrounding Russia are not, having been former satellites under the thumb of the Soviet Union. Putin will do whatever he can get away with to bring these nations back into the Russian sphere of influence. Not to spread any type of political or economic belief system as the communists did, but just for the "Security and Stability" of Russia itself.