I suspect that the Russians might be trying to reassert their major-power status (TU-95s are flying over the North Atlantic again) but is this necessarily a bad thing?
Few want a Russia with 200 divisions, but 25-40 divisions and a credible Navy, Airforce and ICBM fleet suggests a sufficiently strong Russia, with international influence. A Russia that feels influential in its own right might feel much less need to support enemies of the US and Europe (e.g., Iran).
Unfortunately, I had to use the words "might" and "suggests", so my argument is weak. But there is some evidence that a situation along these lines might be the best for all; the Russia of the 1990s is also in no one’s interest.
Russia also seems to be looking at a more capitalist / "consumerist" approach to rebuilding their society. The quality of Russian industrial products could make them a very large "1970s Germany" in many areas, but with lower labor costs. Additionally, "consumerist" countries tend to be very stable.
I think that a number of Russian leaders see this, and are trying to make it happen. They seem to be using some of their oil & gas revenues to invest in consumer infrastructure; this points to not primarily militaristic short- and long-term policies.
My point is that I think that the Russian long-term policies and goals will drive their short-term policies and goals, unless something goes wrong.
But the thread question asks specifically about the next 2 years, not the 10+ year forecast.
The Russian "Oil and Gas" card seems to have worked quite well recently vis-à-vis Ukraine and Europe. The Russians probably realize that with just a little care, they can continue to play it.
So, yes, pressure on Ukraine seems probable (if Russia isn’t currently exerting pressure).
Not sure about military action against Georgia; it seems politically undesirable. Perhaps a variation on the "Oil and Gas" card will work.
But I think that conditions in Iran are probably well known in Georgia. I suspect that if Georgia starts experiencing enough Islamic activity, many Georgians will welcome Russian influence and presence.
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