Ukraine

I don't think there's any disagreement there. Russia deserves so much better - Russia has produced and continues to produce culture, scientists, athletes, etc. Russians deserve democracy. But they have never had it, going from Tsar to the Party, then to a transition to crony kleptocracy morphing into authoritarianism. If Putin is to end soon, will Putinism go with it? What will follow?
I agree, but at this point it’s hard to imagine Russia remaining democratic in its current physical make-up. Maybe, someday, if the Asian parts separate into their own countries leaving a “European” Russia that can once and for all look west and dispense with grandiose notions of an empire.

But I don’t see it. The Russians truly are genius in so many ways - maybe a bad analogy, but almost every genius-level person I’ve met in my own life had a screw loose.