Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai before a meeting as part of the Turkey-Afghanistan-Pakistan Fifth Trilateral Summit in Istanbul December 24, 2010. Osman Orsal/Reuters
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) shakes hand with Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari during a meeting as part of the Turkey-Afghanistan-Pakistan Fifth Trilateral Summit in Istanbul December 24, 2010. Osman Orsal /Reuters
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad pose for cameras before a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010. AP
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, and his Syrian counterpart Naji al-Otari, center, inspect a military guard of honour during a ceremony before their talks in Ankara, Turkey, Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010. Erdogan and al-Otari chaired a meeting of their countries' ministers aimed at boosting their trade and cooperation. Burhan Ozbilici/AP
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meet in Ankara December 5, 2010. Adem Altan/Reuters
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (R) gestures as he welcomes Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev in his office in Istanbul December 22, 2010. Tolga Bozoglu/Reuters
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou (l) and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a ceremony for the 2011 Winter Universiade, or Winter University Games, an Olympic-style event that will take place later this month in the eastern city of Erzurum, Turkey, Friday, Jan. 7, 2011. AP
Russia's petroleum-dependent economy is facing a perfect storm of bad news, brought on plunging global crude prices and an ever-tightening set of Western sanctions imposed over the Kremlin's Ukraine policy. The Kremlin, which failed to diversify the economy fast enough during the fat years, now faces the urgent task of carrying out painful economic restructuring and public belt-tightening at the same time. If it doesn't, it risks losing the political and social stability that have been the hallmarks of the Vladimir Putin era.