“What, exactly, is running through Putin’s mind is NOT clear.”The short term is clear: Putin did not want a stable, western looking Ukraine on his border. Putin’s been reacting to the fall of his lackey, Yanukovych by seizing the Crimea & de-stabilizing the rest of Ukraine.Putin’s end game is totally unclear. If he really hopes to re-establish the USSR, he seems to have not noticed the big changes in the world since 1992. Germany is united & can become a major military power again if they feel threatened. Which they would if Putin makes a move on the Baltics.China has emerged as the second most powerful player on the world stage. Communism failed to bind China & Russia before. The Chinese have no trust whatsoever in Russia, now. Putin’s goal to make Russia an exporter of raw materials seems like a certain path to status as a second tier nation. The USSR couldn’t thrive in it’s own sphere of isolation. Putin’s “Greater Russia” has even less of a chance.Pessimistically speaking, the only question is whether it will require a major war to make the Russian people realize they are not being led into a promising future. Putin does not enjoy the monopoly on information that his Soviet predecessors had. He’s as vulnerable to public opinion as any American President.