Belorussians have been put on trial for complicity in last month's teddy bear air drop by two Swedes protesting Belarus's poor human rights and democracy record.
In less than 100 days since he returned to the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin has further curbed Russian civil liberties and dissenters. But this is risky. As political dialogue no longer becomes an option, radicals on both sides are emboldened and the threshold for violence is lowered.
Like too many Russian leaders, Vladimir Putin's long shadow makes it hard to see the real owners of Russia -- its people.