TERRY GROSS, HOST:
This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. We've read a lot in recent years about the aggressive foreign policy of Russian President Vladimir Putin and about protests in Moscow against his crackdown on human rights activists and independent journalists. Our guest, former NPR foreign correspondent Ann Garrels, says if you travel into the interior of the country, you'll find Russians beset by a shaky economy and widespread corruption who are nonetheless fiercely loyal to their controversial authoritarian president.