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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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Kainaz Amaria/NPR

Waiting For A Break: Obama On 'Strategic Patience' In Foreign Policy

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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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Maxim Shipenkov/AFP/Getty Images

Sanctions Intensify Russia's Free Fall Into Economic Crisis

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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

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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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Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP/Getty Images

Europe's Far Right And Putin Get Cozy, With Benefits For Both

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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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Alexei Druzhinin/AP

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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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

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Maxim Shemetov/Reuters/Landov

Oil Prices Go Down, Russia's Gold Buying Goes Up

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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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AP

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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Ariana Cubillos/AP

For World's Oil Exporters, Falling Prices Have A Domino Effect

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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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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

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Michael Probst/AP