Moscow has shifted its foreign policy gaze to the defense of Syria's regime amid a lull in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Some worry that the US could downplay Ukraine's plight in order to cooperate with Russia in Syria.
Leveled by the British in World War II and ethnically cleansed by the Soviets afterward, the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad has long had a shaky relationship with its Prussian past. But now its residents are beginning to restore its history.
Residents of Baltiysk rejected an entire slate of district council candidates from Putin's United Russia party, instead voting in independents. But while the election demonstrated that democracy still exists in Russia, it also showed its limitations.
After years of supporting Iran in its efforts to reach a deal on its nuclear program, Russia comes away as a big winner in last week's accord. But that isn't likely to continue if and when Iran rejoins the global economy.