To Russia with Nuncios

Who calls Russia by its official name: the Russian Federation?

Apparently the Vatican press office, which recently released a statement indicating that Rome and Russia are soon to be trading top agents.

According to the Vatican Information Service, "the Holy See and the Russian Federation, in the desire to promote their mutual friendly relations, have decided by joint agreement to establish diplomatic relations, at the level of apostolic nunciature on the part of the Holy See and of embassy on the part of the Russian Federation."

Pretty straightforward news—but equally as groundbreaking.

The new concord comes after Thursday's meeting of Pope Benedict XVI with Russia's premier, Dmitri Medvedev.  But despite the "cordial" atmosphere of the encounter, Vatican officials are saying that a papal visit to the Kremlin isn't likely. (New York Times)

Still, if the Holy Father's recent dealings with the Eastern Orthodox patriarchs have anything to do with this...I wouldn't rule such a visit entirely out of the question.