Occasionally the notion of ritualised Western warfare pops up in discussions, contrasted by a supposedly less restricted Russian way of war.
I see little evidence for this, and in fact it sounds to me like the ages-old theme of criticising the own society for becoming weak, limp, unprepared against external threats. Many people just love to delve in such opinions, which are usually only loosely rooted in reality.
Russia has been doing different foreign policy under Putin, but it still participated in what could be called "rituals": It's participating in many UN peacekeeping missions (though only at military observer strengths) and calls its own troops in troubled areas such as South Ossetia, Abchasia, Transnistria "peacekeepers", and used this ritual / farce to delay a disadvantageous conclusion of conflicts (particularly in South Ossetia).
Russia is also participating in arms export games, such as offering S-300 air defence systems to Iran as a counter to Israeli and U.S. pressures and threats, but then delaying the delivery as a means to pressure Iran itself.
Its coalition-building is largely below the radar of Western observers except very few professionals, but Russia has a very close military integration with Belarus and lots of permanent coalition- and alliance-building efforts in the CIS.
Russia doesn't shy away from exploiting calls for ceasefires as a means to interrupt advances of hostile powers in a far away conflict, similar as to how the West just loves the idea of imposing a ceasefire on Assad whenever Assad is making progress (we saw this exploitation of ceasefires as a delay of undesired conflict solutions on the battlefield at least since the war in Bosnia). Nor is the West more above rejecting such ceasefires when its favoured conflict party is making progress.
Some Western powers (particularly the U.S., UK and France) are notorious for violating the Charter of the United Nations and treaties at will whenever their head of government (or head of state in France) really wants it. There's little evidence that they're truly bound by "rituals" or conventions.
Overall, I see no merit in considering Russia as less bound by rituals than the West or in trying to interpret its actions in this framework. I greatly prefer to consider Putin's foreign policies as driven by a quest for Restoration of the Russian Empire within the freedom of action offered by commodity prices and foreign powers.
Western countries are in no comparable quest (not counting Turkey as Western here), and thus the Russian behaviour looks more daring, aggressive and also quite alien to us in the West.