A picture shows the Lefortovo prison on Jan. 8, 2019, in the Russian capital and largest city Moscow.

Photo by AFP

Opinion polls pointed to declining trust in Russian President Vladimir Putin at home and abroad, while a less formal survey – a prank involving a portrait in an elevator – provided a laugh-inducing lesson on shifting attitudes toward the Russian president. On the darker side, long prison terms for defendants who alleged they were tortured in a trumped-up terrorism case drew comparisons to Stalin’s show trials.

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