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Not all eyes are on the prize: Eurovision is often as much about undeclared alliances, voting blocs and political paybacks. Andres Putting (EBU)/Eurovision

Glitz meets politics: an Australian viewer’s guide to Eurovision voting

For the first time, Australians can vote for this year's Eurovision winner. But it's as much a political battlefield as a song contest -- so hopefully the Russians have forgotten the “shirtfront”.
When Vladimir Putin reviews the troops marking the 70th anniversary of Russia’s victory of Nazism, he won’t have many leaders of democratic nations to accompany him. EPA/Alexey Druzhinin/ RIA NOVOSTI

Russia still struggles with a violent past, 70 years after the defeat of Nazism

Victory over Nazi Germany is one unambiguously positive accomplishment of the 20th century; and yet, constructing a positive narrative about the Soviet second world war has proven hard – largely because there are some stubborn facts to contend with.
Sanctions intended to be biting have more often been toothless and about giving supporters the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from taking a principled stand. Cat dollar via www.shutterstock.com

Sanctions and divestment are feel-good policies that often fail

Sanctions have a terrible track record of success because they’re usually too weak to work and too easy to get around.
Alexis Tsipras' visit to Moscow this week drew a terse response from Angela Merkel, but no deal has been announced. Alexey Nikolsky/Ria Novosti/Kremlin Pool/EPA/AAP

Greece will survive another D-Day – no thanks to Russia

As Greece wastes time seeking war repatriations to help cover its debts, a better solution would be debt forgiveness - with conditions.
Once upon a time it was an eternal indestructible friendship Keizers

Do Cubans still dream in Russian?

The remnants of the Cuba-Soviet relationship are still very much part of Cuban culture – a fact on display at this month's Miami International Film Festival

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