The UK and Russia are nations that have both been blessed with rich cultural heritages with great artists, composers, writers and performers known throughout the world. And alongside this history, we also have vibrant contemporary cultures which is why I am delighted that this year, starting on 24 February, has been designated the first UK-Russia year of culture.
Evgeni Plushenko, bowed out of the competition right before he was to take the ice in the singles event. As disappointed as he undoubtedly was (not to mention the fans), 31-year-old Plushenko has the rest of his life ahead of him, with a stack of Olympic hardware to his name and a celebrity brand to build upon. In time, his decision may be seen as noble- or at the very least, inevitable. Sometimes, you just have to know when it's time to quit. Street protesters in Ukraine and besieged civilians in Syria are probably hoping that the Russian government will follow their golden boy's lead and have the nerve to admit that their current foreign policy just isn't cutting it anymore.
It is unsurprising to see PACE, which brings together all these countries (along with the US and Canada as observers), taking an interest in the issue. Able to speak on behalf of all the key countries - both those generating exiles and those giving them refuge - it is well placed to inform INTERPOL of the risks and recommend appropriate reforms.