From the Sugar Plum Fairy to Musetta's Waltz, the former Soviet republics showed off some brilliant young talent performing Romantic Era greats: Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Puccini.

The election of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has led to a real rapprochement between Ukraine and Russia that has happened far more quickly than anyone expected. We have seen a fleet-for-gas deal and breakthrough initiatives in nuclear energy and the aviation industries.

Even as more and more Russians are concerned about reports that Russians are converting to Islam and that radical Islamists are recruiting Russians into their networks, the Russian Federation’s oldest organization for ethnic Russian Muslims is struggling with the question: who is a Russian?

A festival of Polish culture and history will begin on Sunday in the southern Russian town of Krasnodar, the town mayor's press service said on Tuesday. A range of events dedicated to promoting Polish culture and improving Russian-Polish relations will then be held across the town.

India is satisfied with the outcome of the recently concluded BRIC summit in Brazilian capital Brasilia, which has taken on significance as its four members stressed the importance of building a fairer international order and fight against terrorism, said some Indian experts on Sunday.

Big human tragedies are moments of change but can also provide the spark of unity. Political differences, competing interpretations of history, and differences in values all - even for a short moment - disappear in the face of death.

Coupled with a visit on Thursday to Argentina and then to Brazil by President Dmitri Medvedev, Russia is raising its profile in the Western Hemisphere, waking up from its self-imposed post-Cold War hibernation to expand its regional ties.