Under Vladimir Putin’s watchful eye, the Russian military has been overhauled and strengthened; governments, military, judiciary and law enforcement of the strategically important former Soviet republics have been infiltrated.
It is clear he has been preparing for the situation at hand for a decade. But why act now? Why would he risk an isolation of his country, economic ruin, global instability and possibly even a large, if not global, war?
To answer this question one must understand his intrinsic motivation, which is, first and foremost, to remain in power.