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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

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the audience Friday during an annual meeting at the Defense Ministry in Moscow. Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik/Reuters/Landov hide caption

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Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik/Reuters/Landov

When Russia began its bombing campaign in Syria, Russian officials said it would be a short-term air operation. Since then, things have gotten messier. In his state of the nation speech Thursday, President Putin reminded Russians that it took nearly a decade to crush terrorists who staged attacks around Russia in the 1990s. He cast the fight in Syria in similar terms. Ivan Sekretarev/AP hide caption

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Ivan Sekretarev/AP

With Few Signs Of Progress, Russia's Putin Warns Of Long Fight In Syria

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Russian Defence Ministry officials sit under a display showing the Turkish-Syrian border during a news conference Wednesday in Moscow. Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters /Landov hide caption

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Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters /Landov

Standing beside his country's flag, Foreign Minister Igor Luksic of Montenegro attends a news conference after Wednesday's meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels. Eric Vidal/Reuters /Landov hide caption

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Eric Vidal/Reuters /Landov