Tatarstan has had a problem with Islamic extremism. But the Russian republic has avoided the violence that consumed Chechnya, by both resisting Wahabbism and promoting its own native Muslim traditions.
The sudden retirement of Sergei Ivanov, a longtime ally of Putin's, is just one of many recent changes in Russia's government, which seem to be aimed at bringing in younger Putin loyalists with new ideas.
Easing tensions between Ankara and Moscow would seem to benefit both Mr. Erdoğan and Mr. Putin. But Turkey also presents a complicating factor to the Kremlin in its dealings with Turkic peoples at home and abroad.
Runaway housing developments have been going up around Moscow, threatening the 'lungs' of the city – the ring forest around the capital. But locals have been fighting back against the project – with success.
Russia's national team is on probation after a few hundred of its supporters attacked English fans in Marseille, raising concerns about Russia's hosting of the 2018 World Cup. Some fan groups have connections to ultra-nationalist political forces.
Turkey, Egypt, and other favorite vacation spots are out of reach these days for Russians. But the north coast of the Black Sea, spanning from Crimea to Sochi to Abkhazia, offers an affordable alternative.
The statelet, which the world doesn't recognize, has retained its de facto independence from Georgia for years, thanks in large part to Russia's patronage. But many Abkhazians worry about being smothered.
The 'immortal regiment' parade, started in 2012, was meant to allow Russians to highlight their forebears' role in beating back the Nazis during World War II. But it has grown immensely in popularity and prominence since then.