Moscow is always a surprising kind of place. I expected Putin’s us-against-them nationalism to be more strident than ever. But I find the city uncharacteristically subdued and anxious about the future.
It was a very strange feeling to find out that Mikhail Khodorkovsky had landed in Berlin. I’d moved to the German capital in part to kick the adrenaline addiction of reporting from Russia. I was tired of the news always coming to me.
The judiciary is the Putin system’s last line of defense. The president stands fast behind the fairy tale of Russia’s impartial, independent courts. Mumbling judges, bumbling prosecutors and crumbling testimonies are the props for due process.
“In place of an archaic society where the leader thinks and decides for all, we will become a society of smart, free and responsible people,” Dmitry Medvedev said in his annual state-of-the-nation speech.
The iPhone, the ultimate consumer attribute of an open society, clashed with Vladimir Putin’s closed political system. It was the contradiction between free global citizen and disenfranchised Russian subject that drove young Muscovites to take to the street.