While Sazonov has won the boardroom political battle, elements of Sturmer's regionalization plan still make it through. The Baltic governorates + Prussia are rounded off as one krai, with no ethnic majority in order to facilitate a "You've got minorities too!" strategy similar to the one in Poland.
This treatment is being considered all over the empire, but not all areas are getting it at the same time, hence why Belarus isn't one yet.
IOTL, by August 1915, the German advance into Poland had spurred the government to finally abolish the Pale of Settlement, on the grounds that not doing so given that about half the empire's Jews were now under German control and not subject to the Pale, and the other half would be a national security risk if the discrimination wasn't loosened. ITTL, that happens several months later.
IOTL, the imperial government began reconsidering
its Ukrainian policy around the same time because of a different problem: what to do about Galicia? That area was the source of a lot of Ukrainian nationalist agitation, so dealing with it would also be necessary. The solution arrived at in mid-1916 was to support Ukrainian regionalism, make Ukrainian language co-official in the Ukrainian governorates, and avoid the subject of the Orthodox vs. Eastern Catholic split. In short, Russification in Ukraine was to end. ITTL, the same happens, and Left- and Right- Bank Ukraine + Novorossiya are made krais as well.
The empire's Caucasian territories are given the same Sturmer treatment, with shades of "You've got minorities too!"
The major flashpoint between Russia and Britain is the question of Persia. IOTL, both sides had spheres of influence there; most oilfields in Persia wer staffed by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, and the Persian Cossack Brigade, trained in Russia, were the elite troops of the Persian army. There was also a cadet branch of the Qajars who served
with high honors
in the Russian military. IOTL, the British edged out Russian influence during the civil war and eventually staged a coup which put Reza Pahlavi on the throne. ITTL, the Russians exert more influence over the Persian court after the war, with the aim of evicting the British from the country.
IOTL, Italy established a protectorate over Albania in 1917 with the aim of retaining it after the war. However, it was forced to leave due to strong anti-Italian sentiment in Albania after it was decided by the Entente powers to partition Albania among its various neighbors in 1920. ITTL, the Italians don't agree to the plan and continue ruling in Albania for a while longer.
Spain is still on a slow road to civil war, except now the local leftists don't have Russia to rely upon for support.