Small businesses are a small part of Russia's oligarch-dominated economy. But despite the headwinds they face – and the instability they could bring to the current order – they are showing resilience amid the downturn.
With economic woes at home and tensions with the West abroad, Russians are putting a new gloss on the Communist years – one that even previously unsupportive authorities seem to now be tacitly backing.
The Andrei Sakharov Center, one of the last safe spaces for Russia's liberal community, has been fined and fined again for its purported 'political activity.' But celebrity support and crowdsourcing have kept it alive.
The halting Minsk process, meant to peaceably reunite Ukraine with its restive eastern regions, got a big boost in recent weeks with the assignment of two top Putin officials to key positions in the Russian team.
The Russian Orthodox Church sees itself as the spiritual generator of public policy and the ideological bulwark of the state. Under Putin, priests have become fixtures in the military, schools, and other public institutions.
Russian reporting is as sophisticated and compelling as US reporting in Iraq, thanks to the military's adoption of 'embeds' and the media's adoption of Western techniques. But it's also repeating US mistakes.
At the insistence of the powerful Russian Orthodox Church, the Kremlin is trying to determine if the remains of Czar Nicholas and his family are who there are said to be – despite little doubt among historians.