Paul Goble, a leading American Russia analyst, has a fresh piece out on his Window on Eurasia blog in which he offers an explanation for Putin's latest actions and possible next moves vis-a-vis the Baltic states.
"It is a near certainty that Russian agents are even now encouraging through false flag operations some radical nationalists in all three countries to speak against national minorities or even act against them in ways that Moscow can count on Western media outlets to cover and Western governments to distance themselves from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania," he writes.
He says resisting such provocations will be the most critical action of all that Balts can take in their own defense.
Besides that, he writes, it will be key to resist defeatist attitudes - that Russia has free rein to meddle along the borders, or the idea that an lightning invasion would go unchallenged - and to continue a "confident buildup and thoughtful preparations" against aggression.
Goble says Russia is already "overextended." "The costs of Crimea and now southeastern Ukraine are mounting. As the Ukrainians have proved by their heroic resistance, Moscow is anything but an irresistible force. That Russia is a big country with enormous resources is true; that it cannot fail to win is not."