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.
The Kremlin is increasingly concerned about an Islamist uprising in one of the weak autocracies along its southern flank, most of which will be attending the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit today in Ufa, Russia.
Images of a Putin alongside leaders of other large countries, signing economic deals, will reinforce Russia's argument that it doesn't need the West. It's a seductive view, but a superficial one, say analysts.
The two oil-producing giants seem to have made a breakthrough last month in their often adversarial relationship, signing several cooperation pacts. But incompatible foreign policies may yet cool the new warmth.
Newly released documents reveal a systematic campaign to reverse-engineer anti-virus software produced by firms like Russia's Kaspersky Labs, allowing intelligence agencies to uncover vulnerabilities that could help subvert them.
The Russian government is unveiling several new high-tech weapons at this week's Army 2015 show, including a microwave anti-drone cannon and new tanks and planes. But the show is about more than just sales.
No new trade deals or policy changes came out of Putin's visit with the Italian premier. But Russia sees his state visit as another step towards outlasting European resolve on sanctions against Moscow.