Write a piece on all those post-Soviet states, especially Ukraine, and explain why Russia is not interested in taking Ukraine and Belarus on her balance for a number of reasons, especially in Ukrainian case, because Russians in general simply do not want to deal with this "brotherly" nation. But, luckily, there is Rostislav Ishenko who knows the issue much better than me and he wrote a superb piece on limitrophes in general, which covers Ukraine too. Use Google Translate--it is a superb piece, a typical Ishenko's succinctness and straight to the point essay (in Russian).
Russian/Soviet Navy has this saying:
Q: what is scarier than the nuclear war?
A: an arrogant sea-bass (Sea-bass is a title given to Navy's first year sailors). In Russian it sounds as oborzevshii karas'.
In geopolitics the rough equivalent of arrogant sea-bass are such nations as Poland, Ukraine etc. In other words, minor powers, at best, who think themselves the center of the universe. In practical geopolitics they play the role of a condom to be used and then thrown away, but they still think themselves powerful and important, nonetheless. But this is not how the real world works and once some minor player decides to get in between major powers trying to sort things out between themselves, well--look at Ukraine, which is turning fast into the full blown deindustrializing shithole, or you may take a look at Poland's real (I underscore it--real, not "valued" in US Dollars) economy and everything becomes very clear. So, read Ishenko's piece, it is wonderfully written and it gives a good sense of scale and proportion.