The world buzzes with headlines of Vladimir Putin and Russian action and reaction to world events. On the surface it seems virtually all Russian foreign policy responsibility is vested in Mr. Putin alone.

Most of the world raised a curious eyebrow when news broke of a Russian military jet being knocked from the sky by Turkey, resulting in the murder of the Russian pilot and rescue of the fighter’s navigator.

There is no shortage of security threats to the NATO alliance: a resurgent and militarily active Russia; the territorial and global jihadist threat of DAESH; and the movements of over 4 million refugees.

A Russian aircraft, a Sukhoi-24, which NATO calls Fencer, the low-flying tactical bomber - an aircraft considered better than our Tornado - was shot down north of Latakia by a Turkish F-16. The Russian aircraft was flying at an altitude of 6,000 meters.

Strengthening of Russia-Iran alliance in Syria can lead to strengthening positions of Tehran in the Middle East and disruption of situation in several Gulf States.

The past month has seen increasing tensions between Washington and Moscow over the Syria-Assad-DAESH nexus of seemingly perpetual conflict. This tension has not been mitigated by the sometimes-substantive but always-political interventions in the region.

It has been almost one year since the IV Caspian Summit in Astrakhan, Russia, where the presidents of the five Caspian states signed a political declaration that denied any foreign military presence in the Caspian Sea.

The bad cloud that portends a perfect storm continues to build. Perhaps the most serious development on the near horizon is a possible Putin pivot from Syria to Libya. It may be in the works - if it is, bad things are bound to happen.

The policy of the United States concerning climate change in the Arctic has been and is one that is ever-changing. Since 2009 there have been adaptations to the policy in order to face the concerns of today while anticipating the challenges of tomorrow.

Authors: Matthew Crosston, PhD & Dmitrii Seltser

We have undertaken an inter-regional comparison of seven subjects of the Russian Federation: the Ryazan, Samara, Tambov, and Ulyanovsk oblasts and the Republics of Mordovia, Udmurtia, and Chuvashia.

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