One of those undiscussed morsels of news: apparently the former soviet Satellites are forming a new version of the Warsaw Pact. A joint security pact centered in Moscow. This on the heels of Kyrgyzstan's ousting of America's base, but also not long after Russia's invasion of Georgia.
It is, of course, merely Kreminology to speculate on what's going on. But ah, speculation is unfortunately what I'm here for. I would say that Putin has come up with a new way to extend control deeper into its neighboring countries. The mission to "combat terrorism" is what's interesting. Obviously, uprising against the authoritarian governments of Russia and its neighbors (none of the nations involved have a very good track record with democracy themselves) would be terrorism, and thus Putin has carte blanche to combat them directly with his own troops in neighboring nations. And if a government goes off the rails, he can intercede, citing terrorist-sponsoring nations.
Putin's greatest talent has been figuring out how to use former President George W. Bush's stances and policies for his own benefit. Putin has finally figured out how to combine the West's "War on Terror" with the old Warsaw Pact to be able to extend control into his neighbors autonomy.