Russia has made a sudden shift when it comes to combatting narcotics trafficking in Afghanistan. For years, Russian officials saw US involvement in Central Asia as a greater national security threat than Afghan drugs.
They may not appreciate it, but the host of wild animals who have shared encounters with Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin over the course of his political career enjoy a certain kind of celebrity.
There's Mongol the endangered snow leopard, who "frolicked" with Putin last year shortly after being rescued from poachers. He's now an official mascot of the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
International monitors say the March 4 presidential election that swept Prime Minister Vladimir Putin back into the Kremlin was unfair, while Russian volunteer monitors denounce widespread voting fraud. Most of the alleged irregularities reported are time-tested tactics observed in previous elections. But the election also yielded some innovations.
Dmitry Medvedev’s and Vladimir Putin’s apparently amicable decision to swap jobs is being touted by the Kremlin as a way to ensure Russia’s stability. Yet if Russia’s historical tradition is any guide, changing places is a move fraught with uncertainty.