Why Russia still loves Putin

Preliminary Draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia

It’s a weekday afternoon in Kostroma, a drowsy provincial center 250 miles northeast of Moscow, and something is stirring in a quiet apartment yard on the city outskirts. Upbeat instrumental music is pouring out of a sound system, summoning residents—most of them military families—down for a campaign stop by Ilya Yashin, an opposition candidate for the regional parliament. As mothers with strollers and pensioners with shopping bags walk by, two surly young men with vests reading “Patriots of Russia” make sure to hand them and about a dozen gathered for the speech fliers labeled “We’re against the Moscow opposition.”

“The USA is trying to destroy Russia not only with sanctions, but also with the help of its henchmen, the ‘Moscow opposition’ that’s participating in the elections,” the flier begins. It identifies Yashin as the leader of this group, accusing him of selling information to the U.S. State Department and trying to return Crimea to Ukraine, “dooming to repression 2 million residents who want to be part of Russia.”

Read on at Politico

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