The Russians just keep making headlines. It should be obvious why they are keeping an eye on the negotiations between the UN and the Iranian nuclear program. Russia, as does China, has a huge stake in the Iranian economy. With that said I would like to bring attention to what the government appears to be doing in Russia.
I studied abroad in Russia last summer for a month. I stayed in St. Petersburg, and then spent a long weekend in Moscow. While I was in Russia I noticed some parts were trying to modernize, but as a whole I couldn't tell if the Russians really wanted to get away from communism or modernize. The new Russia definitly has a lot of work left if they want to reemerge as a world superpower. However, the Putin-led government seems to be taking Russia back into a dictatorship. Let me explain why this may not be the worst thing for the Russians. Under the communists the Russians had their neccessities (ie. shelter, food, clothing, jobs). Since the fall of the communist regime there has been little of that. The big cities (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk) may not show the ill-effects of post-communism, but the farther away from Moscow you go, so does a comfortable life. In the regions around the Siberian coal mines, and around the Urals (Stavropol) the citizens hardly have anything. Under the communists they at least had their neccessities.
I don't want to endorse communism, because as history shows us, it doesn't seem to work in practice very well. Another problem with Russia reverting back to communism, or a dictatorship, is the next-in-line may not have the best interests of the state on their mind. Lets just hope that Russia doesn't revert back into its old practices, and cross our fingers that they keep growing into a healthy country, because the world would be better off with a stable free Russia than one tangled up in dictatorship.