Leading up to the March 8 holiday, some Russian environmentalists have been discouraging consumers from going too crazy with the bouquets. They say that cultivating some of those pretty flowers and transporting them way over to Russia is harmful for the environment.
Historian Margaret MacMillan sees parallels between the lead-up to World War I and today's instability in the face of rising Russian nationalism. She says the West failed to appreciate Russia's feeling of humiliation after the Cold War. She warns against dangerous miscalculations and for a strong response to Putin.
Ukraine's military is starting to fight the masked, pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine who have been taking over government buildings. As fears of civil war grow, there's another sign that the conflict is escalating. New, masked militias with a pro-Ukraine agenda are now training to counter the separatists.
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.