I did finally make it to Switzerland, and it was beautiful. And right now, my passport and tourist visa application are at the Russian embassy. I'm planning to visit St. Petersburg after a weekend in Tallinn. After immersing myself in Russian politics, history and culture for the last four years, including spending a year and a half studying the language, I'm excited. It's an interesting time in Russia, too.
Ahead of the presidential elections, the BBC showed a great documentary, "Putin, Russia and the West." The four-part series is available on YouTube and is well worth a look:
On a related note, painter Aleksei Sergienko has an exhibit of portraits of once and future President Putin, entitled "The Kindest Man," on display in St. Petersburg. I wouldn't mind going to that although not sure how long art exhibits last.