While I was on the font lines of the spectacular saga of the poisoning death/assassination of Alexander Litvinenko, I didn't realize it was perhaps the first in a recent string of publicity stunts crafted by the Kremlin to signal Russia's resurgence as an international power.
Since Litvinenko, a former Russian agent, was poisoned with easily traceable Polonium-210 in London last November, Moscow (read: Putin) has (and this list is not exhaustive by any means) waged cyber attacks on Estonia, fired missiles into Georgia and just the other day sent bombers to buzz US military installations on the Pacific island of Guam. Although there is some dispute regarding how close the Russian planes actually got to Guam, the fact remains that Russia (read: Putin) is hoping to revive its standing in the world.
However, Putin hasn't let his military "exercises" do all the talking. He has also been engaging in a war of words with the UK over the continued fall-out from the Litvnenko case, refusing to negotiate on the issue of independence for Kosovo and threatening to point missiles at Europe.
So if you were a Soviet analyst and have been out of work for the last 15 years or so, well, there might be some positions opening up for you about now. And maybe we should all start worrying that every plane you hear flying overhead may be a Russian nuke. Cause that's what I did when I was 6 and I think I may start thinking that way again.