Putin, whose background is in running the KGB, considers the collapse of the Soviet Union to be one of history's greatest tragedies. He blames America and is making it his life mission to resurrect the USSR.
Good news /bad news on Syria. Latest reports are that Assad feels he is doomed and would voluntarily step down except his own supporters would kill him if he did. This is potentially dangerous because he may now resort to using the chemical weapons he recieved from Iraq against the rebels. On the other hand, the rebels now have stinger missiles supplied by Qatar, which may fall into terrorist hands when Syria falls.