This is the Russia you have heard about but don't see.
I can understand why Putin is so popular with the Russian masses. He says the right things. He promises a return to the glory days of Empire. It doesn't matter that he won't and can't deliver on these promises.
The corruption is astonishing. A handful of oil oligarchs reap billions from state oil deposits and purchase megayachts and castles in England. They bankroll Putin and his machine.
With the upcoming collapse in oil prices, what will Putin do to hold Russian society together? Putin's Georgian adventure was a desperate roll of the dice, I think. He wanted to rebuild Russia's pride and reinflate the collapsing oil bubble. He only accomplished one of those two goals.