Understanding Russia

Russia is an easy country to enter.  Procedures at Moscow's airport including passport control allow passengers a speedy departure from the airport, and the hour-long journey to the center of the city and hotel passes quickly along the six-lane highway. Similarly, the reception is pleasant at the hotel, and the imperfect facilities in the room are of little account.  The first surprise is the availability in the hotel of various foreign newspapers or mimeographed versions of them, including those in English such as The New York Times, Le Figaro, and The Wall Street Journal, as well the local Moscow Times, which contains articles mildly critical of President Vladimir Putin, and whose cover features an image of Jimmy Stewart in the film, where he plays a journalist. If Russia is easy to enter physically, it is not equally easy to discern politically.  Russia today, under the rule of Vladimir Putin, is becoming increasingly autocratic, but it is not a...(Read Full Article)