Russia's modern day propaganda always says that Russia is always, ALWAYS "defending itself" from "NATO provocation" or just "protecting Russian speaking minorities" from the hostilities and "terror" they face from their host countries, which also happen to be Russia's neighbors.
Since 1990, Russia has used these excuses to justify it invasions of Moldova in 1990, Azerbaijan in 1990, Chechnya in 1994 and 1999, Georgia 2008 and Crimea and Ukraine in 2014.
[Read more on Russia's 1990 invasion of Azerbaijan]
Russian soldiers with Georgian POWs, 2008.
But when Russia invades your country, it tends to stay, as was the case in Moldova (Transnistria), Chechnya, Ukraine (Crimea and Donbas) and Georgia which 20% of its land is currently under Russian occupation.
Russian soldiers in Ukraine, 2014.
[Read more on Russia's 2008 war with Georgia]
Yet useful idiots (a term that was coined by Lenin for people who fall for and promote Russian propaganda) worldwide continue to claim, no thanks to successful Russian propaganda efforts, that it is actually Russia that is being constantly provoked by its neighbors, NATO, the west, the US the tooth fairy and anyone and everyone.
[Read more about Russia's propaganda channel - RT]
To this day Russia has only attacked smaller and weaker countries than itself, and never a NATO member, and that's the main reason why almost all of Russia's neighbors want to join NATO, they don't want to end up like Chechnya.
[Read more about Russia's conquest of Chechnya]
Russian soldiers in Chechnya.