Russia, notwithstanding Russia is very brutal and undemocratic but so is the EU quite undemocratic and authoritarian.
Russia has suffered 3 massive and disastrous invasions. The Teutonic Order, Napoleon and Hitler. Each time Russia was saved by the enormous distances necessary to resupply the invading armies and the Russian winter.
They have a compulsive need for buffer countries between them and Germany/France. They achieved this after WW11 with Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. These countries have been peeled away into the EU.
However the EU (ie Germany) still wants more Lebensraum in the East. They are trying to achieve this now dangling bribes for the Ukraine bureaucrats and politicians to join the EU with promises of salaries and pensions they can only dream of instead of tanks.
The EU has said it wants to extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
No wonder Russia is nervous.
This does not make Russia anything but a brutal regime.