With the USA sinking in chaos and being occupied with itself under a fascist new president Trump, Russia’s government can think about its next steps to restore the once great Russian Empire.
For example fighting in Eastern Ukraine has increased, greatly supported and conducted by Russian military personnel. A lot has been speculated what Putin would do with Trump as president and what Trump would do or not do.
One scenario goes that Putin might order his army to invade the Baltics and thus possibly neutralize NATO being the poker player he is.
Another interesting scenario that has not been discussed here is that Russia might occupy Belarus during the Zapad 2017 military exercise. Allegedly the Russian Ministry of Defence intends to send 4,162 railway carriages to Belarus instead to for example 50 in 2016 or 200 in 2013. Some now speculate that Russia might actually not conduct a joint military exercise with Belarus, but occupy it instead as the relationship between both countries are getting worse for some time now anyway. By occupying Belarus, Putin would build up military presence against NATO and have the only land corridor between the Baltics and Poland (the Suwalki gap) cornered right between Kaliningrad and a Russian occupied Belarus.
Naturally this is all speculation and it could also be possible that nothing happens or that Putin will just deploy troops in Belarus with the consent of the Belorussian leadership.
But: Assuming that a large amount of Russian troops would be in Belarus, why not just occupy NATO member Lithuania? This would on the one hand create the possibility to neutralize NATO as described here and on the other hand it could create a corridor from Kaliningrad to Russia via Belarus. That would be two flies with one hit, naturally the stake would be high, but individuals like Putin and Trump might just say: “No risk, no fun.”.