Russia is not trying to bring back the USSR, President Vladimir Putin said in a documentary aired Sunday, but the problem is that "nobody wants to believe it".
Oh, I believe that. The communist Soviet Union maintained the fiction that Ukraine, Belarus, and the nations of the Warsaw Pact were independent nations.
The Russian Empire, by contrast simply had Ukraine, Belarus, and Poland--not to mention Finland--as provinces of imperial Russia.
So yeah, Putin doesn't want to rebuild the USSR. He wants to rebuild the Russian Empire.