Gorbachev calls it a 'bad copy' of the Communist Party. But the United Russia party has relentlessly trounced any serious opposition to Putin, who is now running for president again.
Al Jazeera spends seven weeks with both sides of the protests in Syria; the Guardian's reporter unpacks a 1981 trip to Afghanistan, and Pakistanis are losing that loving feeling with the US.
Former President Vladimir Putin, who announced yesterday that he will run again next year, is likely to win. But falling oil prices may create social discontent – and push him to make political reforms.
Moscow is looking to Russia's Far East as a region poised for better times, and a building boom aims to make Vladivostok an investment hub. But young residents are still leaving the city in droves.
Estonia's Singing Festival, which happens every five years, has become a symbol of the country's triumph over domination, oppression, and hardship.
Twenty years ago today, Communist Party hard-liners staged a coup to guard against further democratic reforms. The takeover failed but triggered the Soviet collapse.
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev chose a painful anniversary – that of the 1991 August Coup, which tried to reverse his democratic reforms – to criticize Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Until Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the new law today, beer was considered the same as soda and sold just about anywhere.
The new US- and Brazil-led initiative to encourage government transparency could provide the US another means to promote democracy and free trade.
A Christian Science perspective: You don't have to be a world leader to make a difference.