Foreign help was critical to the success of the American Revolution. Many people know about the important roles played by France and Spain. But less well-known is the indirect help the US got from Russia. On this July 4, we explore how Russia accidentally helped the American fight for independence.
Vladimir Putin's Russia took a hard line against protesters on Monday, just days after protesters brought down the president of neighboring Ukraine. A Russian judge sentenced anti-Putin demonstrators to as many as four years in prison, while special police arrested scores of protesters outside the courtroom.
Frequent contributor Alina Simone was born in a Russian-speaking part of Ukraine. Sometimes when she's feeling nostalgic, she goes to a Russian pirate-themed restaurant in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn -- a bastion of Russian-speaking immigrants.
Masked Russian troops have moved into Crimea, with unmarked uniforms and heavy arms. Some of the residents cheer them, while others fear them. And they may be the undoing of the delicate ethnic balance in Crimea.
Russia is the world's largest exporter of natural gas, and it has used that power before as a geopolitical weapon. But the US recently became the biggest producer of natural gas due to new fracking technology. And the US is working to use its new might to undercut Russia's sway over Europe.
Russian media has been saying that fascists run Ukraine's new government. Now some members of the far-right, nationalist Svoboda Party — which is part of the governing coalition — have helped that image, by beating the head of Ukraine's state TV and posting a video of it.