For quite some time NATO and The West have benignly watched Putin deploy his Russian Army forces in Eastern Europe and in the Middle East. Now NATO has also promised to bolster the presence of its troops !
Putin has a complex array of Aims and Ambitions which drive his policies. These are hindered by an array of weaknesses which he cannot always prevent : they do stop him, but only temporarily.
His aims, his driving forces are:
- to maintain his own current status as a popular Leader of Russia.
- to restore the former "Greatness" Russia lost when the Berlin Wall was breached in 1989.
- prevent more countries joining the EU, particularly Ukraine.
- protect Syria and the ports Russian ships can use on the Mediterranean coast of Syria.
- obtain more concessions for Russian troops and aircraft in Syria.
- use the military might of Russia to extend its influence and presence in the Middle East but also to upstage the mixed and hesitant efforts of the West in the Middle East War !
Putin's and Russia's weaknesses are,
- low sales prices for Gas and Oil on World markets.
- sanctions by the West after Russia grabbed Crimea and its continued interference in Ukraine.
- the weak Rouble on exchange markets.
- weakening foreign exchange reserves caused by supporting the Rouble.
- cost of supporting troops, particularly in the Middle East.
- continually rising inflation in Russia.
It is clear that the difficult economic conditions afflict the Russian population and causes discontent. Putin's brave War in the Middle East does nothing to appease the pain felt in Russia by mothers of missing soldiers, in spite of a black-out on any information.
Ultimately all the foregoing could affect Putin's popularity as Leader of Russia !