As one of his activities marking the Unity Day holiday, Vladimir Putin joined Patriarch Kirill to view an exhibition commemorating the Rurik Dynasty, which established tsarism in Russia and ruled for seven centuries.
A former Soviet republic has its sights set on moving closer to Europe, a move staunchly opposed by Moscow.
With the Kremlin's tacit support, one of its majority ethnic-Russian cities votes to secede, sparking fears of violent conflict. Officials in Moscow vow to defend the rights of its smaller neighbor's Russian-speaking residents.
Like many of his generation, Aleksandr Gorbachev steered clear of politics for most of his adult life.
He moved to Moscow in the autumn of 2001, graduated from the prestigious Russian State University for the Humanities, and ultimately landed himself a good job as a deputy editor at "Afisha," a popular lifestyle magazine and web portal.