Putin’s goal in the Middle East is to raise the price of oil.
Putin's Russia has only one big money world class export sector, energy. Many of their major competitors in the world energy market are based in the Middle East. Putin hopes war and chaos in the Middle East will result in less oil and natural gas production in the region, which would drive up the price of oil. Putin probably needs an oil price of at least $100 per barrel to keep his regime out of bankruptcy. Today, the price of oil is about $46 per barrel. All of the prestige arguments are nice extras for Putin. But Putin's rise to power came after Russia's financial crisis in 1998 when the price of oil collapsed, Russian inflation topped 80% and Russia defaulted on its debts. The aftermath of the 1998 crisis forced Boris Yeltsin to leave power and Yeltsin choose Putin as his successor. Putin knows he can't survive another Russian financial meltdown. He needs a much higher price for oil and natural gas. So Putin is stirring the pot in hopes that he can foment a major war or at least continued chaos which reduces or completely shuts down oil exports from the Middle East.