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Counting down to Obama's visit

A new poll shows that only 5 percent of Russians think their country enjoys friendly relations with the United States. But there's good news too — 43 percent say they view the U.S. "well or mainly well," a steep rise from the 22 percent who thought so in September.

At least one group is planning to stage a protest during Obama's visit, with members of Moscow's embattled gay community saying they will defy a ban and gather in front of the U.S. Embassy on Tuesday. The group staged a similar protest during Eurovision last month, capitalizing on increased attention to get their message heard. That protest was roughly dispersed by riot police, but it's unclear what actions they can take in front of the embassy.

The AP's Catrina Stewart has a fun story on Russians' perceptions of Michelle Obama, who will accompany the president on his Mon-Wed visit.

http://www.globalpost.com/notebook/russia-and-its-neighbors/090704/counting-down-obamas-visit