See, Pooty-Poot, he of the transparently benevolent soul and dreamy blue eyes, is consolidating power both internally (squashing dissent; brazenly assassinating journalists and defectors; nuclear terrorism) and externally (restoring an entente relatioship with the ascendant Chinese; shaking down neighbors with exorbitant and sudden price increases on energy resources).
So far Putin's tactics have worked, whether on independence-minded former soviet states such as Ukraine, or de facto satellite dictatorships such as Belarus.
Stay tuned on this one. Whether it's murdering and imprisoning political enemies, continuing a dirty war in Chechnya, false-flag terrorism in his own country, or shaking down his neighbors just to remind them who holds all their energy cards, Putin's got major hand right now, and he's clearly not shy about using it. Right now he's just waiting to see what our next move on Iran is going to be, given Russia's business interests in that country. This is Big Picture Strategery stuff, and no doubt Putin is twenty moves ahead of The Decider. If he can use this to start wedging the U.S. and Europe, he will.