Space.com reports that, with last week's resupply failure putting NASA behind schedule, Russia needs to get its Soyuz craft back up to speed. If they don't, the ISS will be an empty vessel after the last of the current crew leaves in November.
This wouldn't be the end of the world, as NASA is capable of controlling the ISS from Earth. However, it does put pressure on Russia to see that their Soyuz rockets function so we can continue research there. The Soyuz-U spacecraft that fell back to Earth is similar in design to the craft that will carry the next batch of astronauts to the station. Russian scientists are racing to test their rockets and give them the green light for lift off, but they may not have enough time to meet their deadlines. The current crews scheduled to return mid-September and mid-November. NASA may have no choice but to go it alone thereafter. [Space.com via NPR]