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Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov (poster in top left) is a staunch supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, but both men have been criticized by human rights groups. Tens of thousands of people took part in a state-sponsored rally in Chechnya's capital Grozny on Jan. 22, with many holding posters of Kadyrov, Putin (right) and Kadyrov's late father, Akhmad Kadyrov (center). Ilia Varlamov/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Ilia Varlamov/AFP/Getty Images

Chechnya's Strongman Praises Putin, Threatens 'Traitors'

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Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian security agent, died in 2006 after drinking tea laced with the radioactive element polonium at a London hotel. A British inquiry found Thursday that his death was the work of the Russian security service. Natasja Weitsz/Getty Images hide caption

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Natasja Weitsz/Getty Images

Rescue workers help Russian Orthodox believers marking Epiphany by swimming late Monday in a pond in Pushkin, outside St. Petersburg. Thousands of Russian Orthodox Church followers plunged into icy rivers and ponds across the country. Dmitry Lovetsky/AP hide caption

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Dmitry Lovetsky/AP

In Russia, Epiphany Comes With A Shockingly Cold Swim

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"I trust her, she is a very open person," Vladimir Putin said of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, seen here at last month's climate talks in Paris. But, he told the German daily Bild, "she is also subject to certain constraints and limitations." Alain Jocard/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Alain Jocard/AFP/Getty Images

Russians flocked to Egypt's Red Sea resorts, like the one shown here in Sharm el-Sheikh on Nov. 7. But after a Russian plane was blown up, Russians have been barred from going. Russian tourists have also stopped going to Turkey, which recently shot down a Russian military plane. Ahmed Abd El-Latif/AP hide caption

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Ahmed Abd El-Latif/AP

Russians Find Favored Holiday Destinations Suddenly Off Limits

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The Rev. Vsevolod Chaplin, shown here in 2012, was dismissed with little explanation. The high-ranking religious conservative was known for making controversial statements about politics and public morals. Ivan Sekretarev/AP hide caption

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Ivan Sekretarev/AP

The two sides of a new 100-ruble banknote depict a memorial to sunken ships in the port of Sevastopol, the site of Russia's naval base, and the Swallow's Nest, a mock castle on a clifftop near Yalta. Press-service of the Russian central bank/Reuters/Landov hide caption

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Press-service of the Russian central bank/Reuters/Landov

During a Dec. 5 protest against new highway fees in Moscow, a Russian Communist Party supporter stood in front of a banner with portraits of wealthy businessmen including billionaire Arkady Rotenberg, far left. Rotenberg's son, Igor Rotenberg, controls the business operating the new road fee system. Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA /LANDOV hide caption

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Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA /LANDOV

In A Rare Protest, Russian Truckers Rally Against Putin's Highway Tax

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The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution endorsing a peace process for Syria including a cease-fire and talks between the Damascus government and the opposition. Bebeto Matthews/AP hide caption

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Bebeto Matthews/AP

Czar Nicholas II is shown with his family in the 1910s. All were executed shortly after the 1917 Russian Revolution. Remains of the czar, his wife, Alexandra (top right) and their children — Olga (from left), Maria, Anastasia, Alexei and Tatiana — have all been identified. Now the Russian Orthodox Church has ordered new DNA tests to confirm the identities of Maria and Alexei. Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images hide caption

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Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images

Will DNA Tests Finally Settle Controversy Surrounding Russia's Last Czars?

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A Turkish boat (in the foreground) escorts the Russian naval destroyer Smetlivy, in the Bosphorus in Istanbul, in July 2012. Murad Sezer/Reuters/Landov hide caption

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Murad Sezer/Reuters/Landov