Must Reads from Around the World: Jan. 30, 2012

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Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin speaks while chairing a meeting with activists of the All-Russian People's Front in Moscow on October 26, 2011. (Alexander Zemlianichenko / AFP / Getty Images)

Russian Around — The New York Times explores the uneasy alliance fraying between Russian liberals and nationalists opposed to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The Washington Post reports on the other side: “The authorities are watching, and preparing to head them off.”

Grand Alliance — Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, argues in favor of a “grand Eurasian alliance” between Russia and China in Global Times – the nationalist-slanted Chinese establishment tabloid. “While the idea of a new Sino-Russian alliance appears unworkable, one should not throw the baby away with the bathwater,” he writes.

Most Accommodating Foreign Affairs details how Iran is accommodating – predominantly under house arrest – some of Al-Qaeda’s most senior leaders. Meanwhile, the New York Times takes (another) long look at the likelihood of an Israeli attack on Iran.

Election 2012 – The U.S. presidential election isn’t the only closely watched political race in the hemisphere; 2012 also marks an important election year in Venezuela, Mexico and the Dominican Republic, America Economia reports.

Rejected – Royal Bank of Scotland CEO Stephen Hester succumbed to mounting pressures and rejected his planed bonus of nearly £1 million ($1.6 million).  Following the announcement late Sunday night, reaction has poured in from financial and political leaders around Europe.

Igloo Diplomacy?The Atlantic’s Steve Clemons takes a different view of the World Economic Forum by comparing the igloo encampment of OccupyWEF protestors with a music festival “Igloofest” in Montreal. Could combining economic protest with late-night partying lead to a breakthrough?