Here's a link to the piece I did last week for Antiwar.com, about Russian President Vladimir Putin, suggesting some explanations for his recent behavior. I think it's basically that in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet regime Russia wants to think of itself as a great Power again, and when oil is at $65 a barrel (especially since the state took over most oil operations), and the world's largest reserves of natural gas, it has the financial wherewithal to start thinking of itself that way again. One of Antiwar's letter-writers said he was disappointed, that it was the kind of mainstream analysis he might expect on CNN (though I'm not aware of CNN doing it quite the same way) Ah, well. Judge for yourself.
Incidentally, I put the links to Antiwar a week or so late because the site always gives my most recent article the simple URL of http://antiwar.com/bock, then gives it a specific article number and puts it in the article archives when I send them a new one. So if you want to see mymost recent work there, that URL will always get you there.