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

itoggle caption Pavel Golovkin/AP

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

itoggle caption Maxim Shemetov/Reuters/Landov

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

itoggle caption Ariana Cubillos/AP

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

itoggle caption Pavel Golovkin/AP

FIFA President Joseph Blatter is flanked by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov (right) and Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani on Dec. 2, 2010, in Zurich, Switzerland, after the announcement that Russia will host the 2018 World Cup and Qatar in 2022. Michael Probst/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Michael Probst/AP

FIFA President Joseph Blatter (second right) is flanked in Zurich, Switzerland, on Dec. 2, 2010, by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov (right) and Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani after the announcement that Russia will host the soccer World Cup in 2018 and Qatar in 2022. Michael Probst/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Michael Probst/AP

A pro-Russian rebel fighter guards an area of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash site in the village of Hrabove, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, earlier this week. Investigators erect a "no trespassing" sign in the background. Mstyslav Chernov/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Mstyslav Chernov/AP

Russian President Vladimir Putin looks to his side during the family photo session of the G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, on Saturday. Putin was sternly criticized by Western leaders over Moscow's involvement in eastern Ukraine. Rob Griffith/AP hide caption

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The Swedish corvette HMS Visby is engaged in a military operation on the fifth day of searching for a suspected foreign vessel in the Stockholm archipelago, Mysingen Bay, Sweden, on Oct. 21. Swedish authorities say they have proof it was a foreign sub but don't know the nationality. Fredrik Sandberg/EPA/Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Fredrik Sandberg/EPA/Landov

FIFA President Sepp Blatter and Qatar Football Association President Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Bin Ahmed al-Thani exchange documents in Doha, Qatar, on Dec. 16, 2010, after the Arab country won the bid to stage the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Osama Faisal/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Osama Faisal/AP

NATO has reported a spike in Russian military activity at sea and in NATO and other western European countries' airspace as tensions have mounted over Ukraine. Here, a Russian military long-range bomber aircraft flies in international airspace on Oct. 29. Royal Air Force/AP hide caption

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