I was deeply moved by the Beckham column. At a time when media are filled with the most ridiculous anti-Russian propaganda, Russians are vilified and made into some sort of caricature Nazis, she had the courage to go against the prevailing opinion.
As someone who grew up in the Soviet Union, I can confirm that all those “police state” stories are complete and utter nonsense.
The Red Square and the churches around it were always beautiful. They look drab because the photos are black and white and pre-selected.
The persecution of the church in Soviet times is much exaggerated as well. Most of the churches you see today were functioning back then. My mother is very religious — she’d always drag me to church. I hated it.