Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko speaks at a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine on Sunday. Mykola Lazarenko/ITAR-TASS/Landov hide caption

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Written during the Soviet era, Mikhail Bulgakov's classic novel, The Master and Margarita, continues to resonate in today's Russia. Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images hide caption

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Ukrainian military officer Nadezhda Savchenko speaks to journalists shortly after her capture in Luhansk, Ukraine, on June 19, 2014. She was apparently captured by pro-Russian insurgents during fighting in eastern Ukraine. But she is being held in Russia, which claims she was arrested in that country. Ukrainian officials say the separatists handed her over to Russia. Igor Golovniov/AP hide caption

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A rebel fighter takes aim during a training session in Eastern al-Ghouta, a rebel-held region outside the capital Damascus, earlier this month. Russia is inviting Syrian opposition groups to peace talks in Moscow, but few of them want to go to a country that supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Abd Doumany/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Igor Girkin, a Russian citizen who headed the pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine last year, walks with his bodyguards in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk in July. Alexander Khudoteply/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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NPR's Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep interviews President Obama on Dec. 17 in the Oval Office, where they discussed U.S. involvement in the Middle East and the world as a whole. Kainaz Amaria/NPR hide caption

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President Vladimir Putin speaks in Moscow on Dec. 23. Russia's current economic crisis stems from Western sanctions and diving oil prices. Maxim Shipenkov/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his brother Oleg Navalny (right) appear at Moscow's Zamoskvoretsky District Court on Tuesday for the announcement of a verdict in the Yves Rocher fraud case. Alexei Navalny was given a 3 1/2-year suspended sentence. His brother was sent to prison for the same period. Alexei Navalny was detained later Tuesday after breaking his house arrest. Mikhail Pochuyev/ITAR-TASS/Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Mikhail Pochuyev/ITAR-TASS/Landov

Marine Le Pen (center), leader of France's far-right National Front party, has visited Russia on several occasions, and a Russian bank recently lent her party $11 million. Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks in front of the map of the Russian Federation, with Crimea on the left of the map, during his annual news conference in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday. The Kremlin has responded angrily to the latest round of U.S.-EU sanctions over the annexation of Crimea. Alexei Druzhinin/AP hide caption

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Russian President Vladimir Putin, shown delivering his state of the union speech earlier this month, was riding high this year as the country hosted the Winter Olympics. Russia is now embroiled in economic turmoil, and Putin has alienated Western countries that could potentially help. Pavel Golovkin/AP hide caption

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An employee displays a gold bar at a gold refining workshop of the plant of Uralelektromed Joint Stock Company (JSC), the enterprise of Ural Mining and Metallurgical company (UMMC) in the town of Verkhnyaya Pyshma, outside Yekaterinburg, Oct. 17. Maxim Shemetov/Reuters/Landov hide caption

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An undated handout image released by the British Museum of a headless sculpture of the river god Ilissos. The British Museum has put the sculpture, one of the Elgin Marbles, on loan to the Hermitage Museum in Russia, the first time one of the Parthenon sculptures has been lent. AP hide caption

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A sculpture of oil workers in Caracas, Venezuela. The country is heavily dependent on oil exports, and falling oil prices have had a ripple effect on the country's already troubled economy. Ariana Cubillos/AP hide caption

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Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his state of the union speech on Thursday, defended the Kremlin's aggressive foreign policy, saying the actions are necessary for his country's survival. Pavel Golovkin/AP hide caption

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