Grave violence plagues the North Caucasus, which should be a key humanitarian concern for Europe. But the economic crisis will largely determine how much will be done to help the region.
The federal highway occupation by workers in the small town of Pikalyovo illustrates both the fact that the Russian people have no way to communicate with their government and that the government's only method of resolving problems is through Putin's direct intervention.
Newly-released survey results show that Russians are holding regional leaders, rather than the federal government, responsible for the economic crisis in their regions. But federal authorities won't be able to get away with this forever.
By appointing Khabarovsk Governor Viktor Ishayev as the presidential envoy to the Far East Federal District the Kremlin is establishing a powerful and competent government lobbyist for the interests of the Far East.
Dimitry Medvedev's decision to meet with political liberals suggests he understands that without democracy Russia will not have a successful and stable future.
The mayoral campaign in Sochi illustrates the Kremlins desire to demonstrate a more liberal approach to domestic politics while also emphasizing the extent of its political control.
Regional elections in Russia are increasingly more contested, which is more a reflection of the growing number of unaddressed grievances in Russia’s localities than a sign of Russia becoming more democratic.
The mayoral election in Sochi on April 26 marks a serious turning point in Russian politics; competition, both from the opposition and from within the party of power, is becoming more intense.
The political system set up under Vladimir Putin's presidency is likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future, despite the impact of the global economic crisis and the aftershocks of the 2008 Georgia conflict.
Despite President Medvedev's claims to support the rule of law, he has not acted to correct the distortion of justice that occurred during the trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky.