Robert Siegel speaks with Susan Glasser, editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy magazine, about Russia. Speakers at both the Republican and Democratic conventions brought up America's relations with the country.
Russia has been facing troubling demographics ever since the Soviet breakup two decades ago. The population has contracted by several million people over this period. The birth rate is low. Life expectancy for men is still less than 65 years.
And there is also a sense that many educated, talented people are leaving the country.
To take one example, the world of science lit up in July, when a billionaire Internet investor named Yuri Milner announced nine prizes for some of the world's most innovative thinkers in physics.
In Russia, three members of a feminist punk band are preparing to appeal their two-year prison sentences. The young women were convicted 10 days ago of hooliganism after staging a protest in Moscow's main Orthodox cathedral. The group, Pussy Riot, also announced on Twitter yesterday that two other members who took part in that protest have fled the country to avoid being arrested. The tweet came after police said they were still searching for the activists, who are part of a broader opposition to Russia's President Vladimir Putin.