From Russia, with love
Michael McFaul, the American ambassador to Russia, has announced he will step down after the Sochi Olympics -- and he did it on LiveJournal, by the way. He cites familial separation as the primary reason: "We tried to make a 9,000 kilometer commute work for our family. But after seven months of separation, I simply need to be with my family again. Anyone who has followed my blogs over the last two years knows how deeply I value my time with my wife and sons. It’s time for us to be reunited." Steve LeVine reflected at Quartz, "@McFaul is sincere and wish him well. But reset became quickly farcical and Russia a more brazen actor."
In other Russian news, we learn from The New Republic's Julia Ioffe that someone strapped a giant wooden sculpture of male genitalia on a Putin critic's car. Yes, we mean what you think we mean. Freelancer Saira Peesker elaborated, "Someone chained an elaborately-carved, 200-pound wooden penis to the car of a critic of the Kremlin." By the way, the critic seemed oddly flattered by the gesture: Tessa Stuart with the Village Voice shared this choice quote: "'Finally,' Katya Romanovskaya wrote, 'the day has come when my work has been noticed and appreciated.'"