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10302014_20140803opart-k8201.jpg

Illustration on Putin and Russia's increasingly belligerent position in the world by Paul Tong/Tribune Content Agency

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Putin.jpg

Russian President, Vladimir Putin pumping gas.

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currency: Consumer goods prices and inflation are at all-time highs in Russia, but the country's citizens are hesitant to blame their lot on President Vladimir Putin. Some analysts say such unwillingness may be due to fear of state-sponsored persecution. (Associated Press)

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Crude prices have plunged by 25 percent since June, making it painful or uneconomic for producers in Russia, Venezuela and Iran, for the pioneering shale oil drillers in America's heartland and for Canada's oil sands extractors. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

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Oilers Kings Hockey_Lanc.jpg

Edmonton Oilers' Justin Schultz (19) and Los Angeles Kings' Slava Voynov (26), of Russia, compete for the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, in Los Angeles.(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

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Russia Ukraine Putin.JPEG-04fb4.jpg

Russian President Vladimir Putin listens during a cabinet meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Monday, Oct. 13, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered thousands of his country's troops who were posted near the Ukrainian border to return to their permanent bases. A Kremlin spokesman said Putin had ordered approximately 17,600 troops to return home from the southern region of Rostov. The withdrawal may be a sign of goodwill ahead of Putin's trip to Milan on Thursday, where he is set to meet with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and European Union leaders.(AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Presidential Press Service)

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Capitals Bruins Hocke_Lanc.jpg

Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin, of Russia, celebrates his second goal of the first period during an NHL hockey game against the Boston Bruins in Boston, Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

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Belarus Russia CIS Summit.JPEG-0b321.jpg

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to the leaders of ex-Soviet states during a meeting in Minsk, Belarus, Friday, Oct. 10, 2014. Putin lashed out at the European Union for “not considering it necessary to discuss the risks” of political and economic integration with post-Soviet countries. Ukraine’s decision to sign an association agreement with the European Union in September provoked complaints from the Kremlin that the deal would hurt Russia’s economy. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)

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Hurricanes Capitals H_Lanc.jpg

Washington Capitals right wing Alex Ovechkin (8), from Russia, has his shot deflected by Carolina Hurricanes defenseman John-Michael Liles (26) in the first period of a preseason NHL hockey game, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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Russia black sea fleet.jpg

Russian President Vladimir Putin inspects the nation's Black Sea fleet at the Crimean port of Sevastopol on May 9, 2014. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

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20140919-national-opinion-cover.jpg

National Edition Opinion cover for September 19, 2014 - Russia and China, masters of mischief (Illustration by Donna Grethen for the Tribune Content Agency)

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Despite popular support for a visa regime with former Soviet republics, Russian President Vladimir Putin has opposed such a move, saying "A visa regime would mean that we are pushing former Soviet republics away, but we need to bring them closer." (Associated Press)

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Washington Capitals right wing Alex Ovechkin (8), from Russia, skates on the ice during a pause in the action in the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Sunday, April 13, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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Illustration on Russia's incursion into Ukraine by Nancy Ohanian/Tribune Content Agency

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Illustration on Russia's incursion into Ukraine by Nancy Ohanian/Tribune Content Agency

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Serena Williams, returns a shot against Ekaterina Makarova, of Russia, during the semifinals of the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Friday, Sept. 5, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

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2014 US Open Tennis_Lanc(15).jpg

Ekaterina Makarova, of Russia, reacts after defeating Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, in two sets during the quarterfinals of the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

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National Edition News cover for September 3, 2014 - Concerns grow that Obama underestimated Islamic State, Syria, Russia threats: An image taken from a video released by the SITE Intelligence Group shows journalist Steven Joel Sotloff, 31, before his execution.

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President Obama called Russia President Vladimir Putin to tell him that Moscow was violating the 1994 treaty. Nearly three weeks later, Russia annexed Crimea. (Associated Press)

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2014 US Open Tennis_Lanc(10).jpg

Caroline Wozniacki, of Denmark, reacts after defeating Maria Sharapova, of Russia, during the fourth round of the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)