Then-candidate Trump signed a letter of intent to move forward with this project in 2015, while at the same time denying its existence publicly, repeatedly. Jan 2016: Michael Cohen speaks with Dmitry Peskov, Russian government press secretary, about the project. There is no way this would have occurred without the blessing, or instruction, of Vladimir Putin.
Meanwhile, everyone in the Trump campaign lied, repeatedly and inexplicably, about their numerous contacts with Russia.
We Americans thought it ended, anyhow — but we were wrong. The revanchism that in some sense was of high potential after the fall of the former Soviet Union indeed came to pass — and later to be accelerated by the rise of Vladimir Putin to power.
Along with that trajectory, a curious development path for the former Soviet state: mostly, a descent into organized crime at the highest echelons of government. In some sense, organized crime is the government.