What the Europeans have done in the last 50 years or so, 60 now, is they have brought together the shattered fragments of Empires into this thing called the European Union meanwhile telling themselves that it's just nation-states making a choice. That story is false. There are never nation-states. They don't appear on the stage at all.
In brexit, nobody, and I mean literally nobody, there are more than 70 million British subjects, more than 80 million now, not a single one of them said, hey wait, we've never actually been a nation-state. I think it's safe to say nobody said that.
Great Britain has never been a nice comfortable, intimate nation state. It never happened. Great Britain was a world power. It was the greatest power in the world. It was a maritime Empire. It won the second world War. It's all true but as an empire, never as a nation state. As it lost its Imperial possessions, it integrated into the European Union.
So brexit is not a loop into a comforting past... it's instead a step into the abyss because nobody knows what a British nation-state would look like. There is no history of a British nation-state.
The way that Russia plays Europe is by appealing to this subjective sense that says, yes, there was this comforting past that we have to get back to as a nation state. That's why Russia supported brexit....