I wasn't particularly talking about journalists killed as it happens, but your statistics are rather alarming and do little to support your contention that Russia is more democratic and 'free' now than it was under Yeltzin - more organised, no doubt...but...'democratic".... ? and before you jump on your high horse to condemn my western viewpoint again - I am NOT arguing that 'democracy' as such is the answer to the issues that modern Russia has to face....and having access to the internet and different political views is one thing - being able to actively debate and vote in a meaningful contest is entirely another...how many political debates are televised in Russia...on state TV....do you actually have a meaningful "opposition"...of course people will vote for Putin and Medvedev - what other real choices do they have?? and once again, I am NOT saying that the politicians we have to put up wiht here in Australia are any 'better' - frankly, the level of debate is pathetic - if you listen to ABC news radio they broadcast the proceedings of the Senate AND Parliament and it's ...well...there are times when I would expect more meaningful arguments to take place in a school yard - BUT I would rather live in an imperfect "democracy' than an imperfect "oligarchy"....
Is it safer yes, are living standards better yes a lot better(The middle class of Russia was approximately 5 million in 2000, latest sources show it to be close to 80 million), does Russia still have problems with police and corruption yes it does. In reality a lot was done from 2000-2011. It is actually amazing to see where the country is now compared to 10 years ago, like I said I am not the biggest supporter but I know the country has stability under the current leadership and Russia is moving in a positive direction. Everything else you said in the sense that Russia has no meaningful opposition I agree with you on this, problem is the opposition are a joke and it will take years before we have a normal political system. , A stable good opposition system won't happen for another 10 years until we have a proper generation cycle.
Once again hope I am not coming across as insulting, I agree with most of your views.