>What is the most common way for a professional to travel in an urban setting?
I everyday get to work by bus. There nothing has changed since the Communist period except the fact that transport has become more expensive.
>What is the most common way for a common laborer to travel in a rural setting?
Usually by bus. If you ask about a remote village that doesn't have a bus line then you can reach it either hitch-hiking or asking your local relatives or friends to travel for you to the nearest railway station by their own or borrowed motor-bike.
>What American tunes are being played on local radio?
I listen only to radio news programs - mostly BBC and Liberty. As about entertainment programs I don't know, probably the same that in America.
>You'll never believe - a friend of my sister, a Dutch girl, totally fell in love with Bodrov Jr. I understand he was a bit of a sex symbol in Russia,
I remember a popular slogan that recently could be seen on the streets: "Plisetskaya (a ballerina? - I'm not sure) is our hope, Danila is our brother, Putin is our president"
>...this girl fell in love with him, in as far as they'd seen Brat or the poster - fell over laughing. ;-)
I must condole for her because she has very few chances to see Brat 2 & 3. I guess these movies will be forbidden in the West due to their racist nature.
>Well, about DocentP. He obviously belongs to minority that is openly dissatisfied with his President.
As I noticed at the beginning I never pretend to show all the Russian population's feelings.
>As far as I know, the broad majority of the polls' participants in Russia are satisfied with Mr. Putin
Which is very questionable. Comrade Putin himself would disagree with you. If everyone is satisfied why should the government fight medias, replacing them by propaganda? For example just recently the Novye Izvestia paper was closed for their article "+ putinisation of the whole Russia" (an analogy with the Lenins phrase "Communism is the Soviet power + electrification of the whole country).
> (and this is not the same as 100 percent of popular support to Saddam,
Ok, not 100% but just 99.98% as it was during the Putin's election in one Chechen region. Putin got the highest percentage in Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia and the lowest one in Moscow and Petersburg. Seemly the Chechen citizens are the happiest of him in Russia
>verbal dissenters are not prosecuted in the modern Russia, unless they disclose secret documents and collaborate with enemies).
I just remember that Nikitin's dossier (published abroad documents which he was prosecuted for) were considered secret despite being compiled from different newspapers' extracts. Being asked, how a newspaper could be a secret document, one FSBist said that these separate extracts were not secret but collected together they contain the state secret.
Speaking about the people's love toward Putin I can confirm that there was a short period in 1999 - early 2000 when this guy became very popular. The reason was so called "Moscowian syndrome" - expressed in this phrase "we will elect you dear comrade Putin but please stop exploding us" (the explosion of several dwelling houses in Sep 99 caused almost unanimous conclusion among usual people about the FSB's responsibility). Really there were even serious political experts(!) who insisted that the Chechen War would stop as soon as Putin is elected. Unfortunately these optimist were wrong.
Another category of Putin lovers are youths - really the young generation is the most stagnant, sluggish, undemocratic part of Russian society (I guess as well as in any other country). Once I tried discussing one such guy's logic, then I had this dialog: Why do you like Putin? - Because he is good. - Where have you picked it up? - I know it. - Have you read it in any paper? - No, all the papers are bullsh*t. - Ok, what about TV? - All TV programs are propaganda. - May be you got it from foreign radio "voices"? - No, they are propaganda as well. - Whose propaganda? - Damned capitalists'. - So what sources do you get your info from? - No sources. - Who told you Putin is good? - I know it. ... then see the beginning
. Seemly that guy had already been in the ward 101.
But the situation is rather different than in 1999. Lets see the recent protest actions when pensioners in different regions were sending their pensions' additions to Putin. This story began more than a year ago when Comrade Putin made a loudly declared in his TV speech that thanks to his personal initiative pensioners' life became better up to 40%. The President was a little wrong. It took more than a year for pensioners to receive their first increased pension. But instead promised 40% they were given only 6% - to be exact 1$ more to their previous 18$. Someone decided to post this 1$ to Putin, soon the wave of postings grew up over the all Russia, for example only from Voronezh Putin has received 15,000$. I don't remember any pensioners' protests during the Gorbachev's or Yeltsin's periods in such scales.
Only after reading Mr. Steissd's comments, I have realized how strongly my country has changed for last years.
>The latter was, btw, IMH the worst the local government could have done: the really used a closed area - houses of former Belgian, Canadian and British troops in a really 'closed' area - for settlement.
I have heard a lot about the rudeness of American embassy workers. Don't you see it as a form of the "white man syndrome"? When "civilizated" colonizers very quickly adopt the worst traditions from indigenes?