LETTER FROM MOSCOW: Will Putin's Power Play Make Russia Safer?

Not if you believe his critics, who say the new measures are all about politics

OUTWARDLY, RUSSIA HAS not changed since the barrage of terrorist attacks that culminated in the school massacre in Beslan on Sept. 3. There are lots of police on Moscow's streets, but that's always the case. Many are traffic cops, shaking down drivers for minor or imaginary offenses. Commuters still pack the subways, even though they have been targeted by two bomb attacks in the past seven months. In Beslan, where parents are still searching for remains and burying their dead children, school resumed last week for the living.

Look deeper, and you find a nation scarred. "Externally my life is the...

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