Well I Did say that Russia was going to be making an aggressive move soon.
The nature of Putin, his goal of reviving the "Russia Empire" and reincorporating former integrated colonized satellite states was predictable as a pattern, but not in all its specifics. I need not cite the unrest in Ukraine and the re-annexation of the Crimea.
However, the Ukrainians themselves never liked that "integrated Colony status. It was disliked even more in the Baltic states which had a history of independence. They were the first areas converted, sometimess forcibly, by the Teutonic Knights, the least known of the "Orders Militant" (the Templars and the Hospitalers being active at least starting in the 11th Century, and in the case of the Templars, terminated in the 14th Century)
Nevertheless, the point is they have different language and culture, obviously affected by intermittent assimilation effects by its neighbors. I believe the Baltic States where colonized by the various Viking/Nordic for forces as early as the 10th Century. these incursions were not limited to the Baltics. The name "Rus" was the name these Nordic peoples gave to themselves and the Name "russia" is derived from that name. The Rus traded as far as Constantinople and some chose service in the "Varagarian Guard", the household Guard of the Byzantine Emporers . If interest is shown (or not) a more precise analysis of these cultural infusions in Russian itself I will post on later.
I did comment that Nicholas II, the Czar (Tsar) of the Russias who was Czar at the time of the October 1917 Revolution looked a bit like one George Matson, the Point being that the Czar of the "Mother of Slavic Peoples" , who went to was ,ostensibly to protect Slav (in Serbia?) walked and talked like a Slav, did not match our stereotypical image of the perfect Slav.
Now, as mentioned, Putin has acted to destabilize the Ukraine. (one could quote the signal from Tarawa to Gen. Vandegrif) "the issue is still in doubt".
More importantly, because of the increased range of carrier aircraft and combat aircraft such as the Su-27, Su-32, Su-34, Su-35, 36 and the the Su-37 Terminator. they might be able to make the flight to Syria from bases in the Crimea. The Su-32 and Su-34 are modified versions or the Su-27 Flanker. They are very effective in the dual purpose mission. Also, at least the first of this line of aircraft out of the Sukhoi Design Bureau, in the Su-27k mode can operate from the remaining Russian full deck carrier of the "Varyag" class (Soviet name, it probably has changed) as can the Mig 29K. these carriers use the ski Jump launch system.
There was also the smaller Su fighter (Forger-I forget the class number) can fly off the Helicopter Carriers Kiev and Moskva.
The presence of the Russian effort is nearly a first, or at least I cannot remember any Russian or Soviet direct action and/or boots on the Ground. If they shore up the Baathist regime of Assad, it will seroiusly affect the revolution there. Ostensibly there are there to " stabilize" This is bad luck perhaps, for the anti Assad rebels, which could act to actually take pressure of Syrian insurgent efforts against ISIL.
The refugee problems arising from the war(s) obviously will cause problems. In the Middle East a refugee stays a refugee for a very long time.