Russia is currently in the process of building a network of promoting the nation’s language and culture throughout the world. The idea of promoting the Russian language and Russian culture as national heritage and creating a Russian diaspora abroad has received strong support from the state ever since the Russky Mir (Russian World) Foundation was founded in 2007.

Far from aggravating frictions in Russian-Polish relations, as initially feared, the plane crash that killed Poland’s president and a swath of the upper echelon of politicians and military leaders on Saturday appears to have achieved the opposite effect, encouraging kindness and understanding on both sides.

The question of whether Russia is Europe's partner or challenger is the wrong question," Karaganov said. The former advisor to Presidents Putin and Yeltsin said that politicians ought to be asking whether the two sides are "allies or strategic idiots.

By all appearances, the United States faces a serious public diplomacy challenge in Kyrgyzstan. Washington’s sluggish initial response has enabled Russia to take the early lead in what is shaping up as a race to cultivate the goodwill of the Kyrgyz provisional government.

Boris Sokolov suggests in an essay posted on today, shows that Putin not only was unprepared to acknowledge many aspects of that horrific act but openly lied about it to bring pressure on Poland to stop raising the issue either bilaterally or internationally.

The presidents of the United States and Russia will sign a new arms reduction agreement in Prague on Thursday signalling a willingness to rid the world of nuclear weapons. But experts on the whole are disappointed.

Russia's greater openness toward examining Soviet-era crimes such as the Katyn massacre could help normalise its relations with the EU's eastern flank.

Last week, Russia delivered 15 additional batteries of S-300 surface-to-air missiles to China, making good on an about 2 billion dollar deal signed in the mid-2000s. Yet despite the publicity surrounding the sale, the Russian-Chinese arms transfer relationship is in trouble.