The instruments of lesser terror are still routinely employed today. Vladimir Putin uses them to stay in power despite a weak economy, rising poverty and rampant corruption. The Kremlin allots state assets, government credits and university deanships to those in favor. Streaks of independence or defiance are punished by charges of corruption, confiscatory taxes and denial of business licenses. Political opponents are disqualified from the ballot, and ordinary protesters are sent to prison or put under house arrest. Anti-riot forces are given free rein to fire on demonstrators. Dissidents who become a real danger can be shot or poisoned. The murderer will never be found, despite an elaborate investigation and court proceeding.
go to Wall Street Journal