As always excellent analysis. I've avoided responding to the Vlad bromance comments because they are not really what the OP is about. Vlad, as I've pointed out before, is KGB through and through. Since he came to power, anyone in Russia directly confronting or challenging him has died swiftly and mysteriously, and he is leading Russia into a recurring 2nd world status economically. To think he is now the moral example for anyone other than mafia hit men or napoleonic wannabes is laughable.
He has accomplished some positive things for Russia, including modernizing the military and getting the economy out of the hole created by Yeltsin and others, but his threats and actions in the Crimea and the Ukraine suggest a return to the worst of the 20th Century. No one blames them for wanting to secure Mother Russia, and their desire to spread their influence there is of course reasonable. But the 'little green men' firing high tech guided missiles and operating the other military equipment in E. Ukraine are not Ukrainians - they are a Russian trained and equipped assault force. And the population has not welcomed them with wine and roses as he had hoped. He isn't likely to get any of the former republics back, which appears to be his desire, without a lot of bloodshed and a possible escalation of the conflagration to a worldwide level.
He is a lot of things - a moral compass isn't one of them. Ask the oligarchs; all of them have established an offshore presence, and their moving more of their assets to other countries in a large manner since the recession has really angered Vlad, which is why one of them is now in a Siberian prison. The oligarchs made a deal with the devil so to speak by agreeing to give up any political power in return for their ability to become rich. And stay alive.
He is also waging 'war' with Russians who don't agree with him, creating laws to punish dissenters quickly and harshly, including by his own paramilitary hit men more reminiscent of the Fedayeen Saddam than anything approaching western views of democratic reform.