In the life of any country a situation can arise that requires a clear choice between positive change or stagnation and decline. At such times, only the collective will of the people can generate sufficient will to begin the process of change. And yes, sometimes the awakening of national consciousness begins with struggling over a mountain of dirty and snowy slush on the side of the road.
The scent of nationalism was present in the former-Yugoslavia before Vladimir Putin effectively assumed power in Moscow. Already during the early stages of the conflict in Bosnia & Herzegovina, "BiH" solutions were being fashioned in the hope of, well appeasing is perhaps an appropriate term, those leaders in the region but also Moscow who saw feudal nationalism as the vehicle to replace authoritarian communism.
Putin wants to regain that same "respect" that the West held for Khrushchev, and he sees no other way but to underscore his own unpredictability. I suspect that the recent sorties by Russian strategic bombers over the Atlantic Ocean and the Baltic, North and Black seas are a manifestation of this new unpredictability.