Liberties, logic suffer in Vladimir Putin’s Russia

Enforceable or not, restrictions rising as president’s popularity soars

Russia’s authoritarian political system under Vladimir Putin fuels the popular impression among many Americans that Moscow is a dark, foreboding, dangerous place. In fact, the repression, while pervasive, is not palpable. People are not being dragged off the street and disappeared the way they were under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. There is much less of the rampant violence that was common in the early years following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Especially in summer, the city is brash, lively, walkable, always open, and in many places, quite lovely. Colors are bright, people tend to be upbeat, and you can get most anything, anytime.