Lucian Kim

Russia's hottest political talk show isn't listed in any TV guides.

On Thursday evenings since April, Russians have been navigating to a new YouTube channel to get their weekly dose of biting commentary and political agitation from anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny.

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Anna Sazonkina never used to go to rallies. The 41-year-old viola teacher and her husband, an oboist, were too busy raising their four boys.

But on Sunday, the couple went out to protest for the first time in their lives, joining thousands rallying in downtown Moscow to save their homes from the wrecking ball.

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A couple of years ago, Kiev business journalist Yuliya Savostina decided to try an experiment: to spend a year living off food and other goods produced exclusively in Ukraine.

Inspired by the local food movement in the United States, Savostina started a blog to document her experience. She didn't expect it to last very long.

Paul Manafort quit as Donald Trump's campaign manager last summer amid questions about his consulting work for a disgraced Ukrainian leader who now is a wanted man in his own country.

While Manafort vanished from Ukraine's political scene even earlier, his name lives on in Kiev.

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The Kremlin's rhetorical cease-fire is officially over.

Following Donald Trump's inauguration, the Russian government and its loyal media gave the new American president the soft touch. But following the U.S. missile strike on Syria, the gloves have come off in Moscow, as hopes for friendlier relations fizzle.

When Rex Tillerson makes his first trip to Russia as secretary of state next week, he can no longer expect a warm welcome. Instead, he will be faced with well-rehearsed accusations of American hypocrisy and double standards.

Russians are still trying to understand exactly what happened over the weekend, when thousands of people — many of them teenagers — turned out for anti-government rallies in dozens of cities across the country.

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The German city of Trier has never been particularly fond of its most famous son, Karl Marx, who helped turn communism into an ideology that changed the course of history.

Conservative and Catholic, the picturesque city on the French border took an ambivalent view of the radical revolutionary, born into a Jewish family in 1818.

Kiev's Solomyansky District Court is a four-story pink building squeezed between an Orthodox church with golden domes and the soaring office tower of Ukraine's tax service.

"It's a very symbolic place," said Maxim Eristavi, a journalist and activist, as he returned to the site of a dramatic standoff that took place in early March.

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Back in the olden days – maybe five years ago in Moscow time – the Russian word for barbershop was rather quaint: parikmakherskaya, or literally, "wig shop."

While women could tend to their coiffures in ubiquitous salony krasoty, beauty salons, men had to content themselves with surly babushkas delivering awkward, cookie-cutter haircuts in spartan halls.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made his way to the Duma, the lower house of parliament, on the eve of Defender of the Fatherland Day. The Feb. 23 national holiday was once known as Soviet Army and Navy Day, and Shoigu, dressed in the uniform of a general, came to boast about the Russian military's latest achievements.

"We tested 162 types of contemporary and modernized weapons in Syria, which showed a high level of effectiveness," Shoigu said. Only 10 weapons systems performed below expectations, he added.

The young mother spoke softly but with determination. After fleeing from her abusive boyfriend, she and her newborn baby found refuge last month in a women's shelter on the outskirts of Moscow.

According to Russian law at the time, he could have faced criminal prosecution for striking her. Now, under legislation signed Feb. 7 by Russian President Vladimir Putin, her partner would most likely face an administrative fine of up to $500.

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Thomas Graham, managing director of the Kissinger Associates consulting firm, doesn't like to discuss speculation that he may become President-elect Donald Trump's next ambassador to Moscow.

But the former diplomat and adviser on Russia in the George W. Bush administration does like to talk about something else: how to salvage U.S.-Russian relations following accusations that Russian President Vladimir Putin interfered in the November presidential election.

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On a bright Sunday afternoon last November, Anastasia Popova was picketing outside the Russian Embassy in Washington with a dozen other activists.

"Russia will be free! Russia will be free!" they chanted at the hulking white building on the other side of the street.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin downplayed Donald Trump's tweet Thursday calling for the United States to expand its nuclear capabilities.

"There's nothing out of the ordinary here," Putin said, since the U.S. president-elect had advocated a stronger military throughout his election campaign.

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Russia is paying its last respects to the country's ambassador to Turkey, who was assassinated in Ankara Monday night. As NPR's Lucian Kim reports from Moscow, political life in the Russian capital came to a halt to remember the service of Andrei Karlov.

Tuesday was supposed to be a day of triumph for Russian diplomacy, when Russia aimed to replace the United States as the indispensable power in the Middle East. Instead, it became a day of mourning, with a Turkish honor guard in Ankara loading the flag-draped coffin of Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov onto a Moscow-bound plane.

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