Re: Foreign power
> Surveillance in Russia is much the same as in most of Western Europe
I see there are a few downvotes on that post (which turns out to be mine: no wonder I was mostly agreeing with it when I started to read :b). Anyway, given the lack of explanation I presume those are from people who are somehow shocked by the idea that perhaps a) things elsewhere are not that different to what one sees at home, and that b) things elsewhere could be anything other than what we're told by the media, especially television.
As a long-time expat I see this type of reactions all the time back home. People will rather believe, even on points of fact, some lifestyle magazine article than what they're told by someone who lives there, knows the culture, speaks the language fluently, and happens to be a trusted friend of yours! (I'm not referring to Russia here, but same story)
Our propaganda is subtle but incredibly effective, same as our censorship (cf. "Veline e silenzio", U. Eco, 2009).