These are simply my observations and thoughts and by no means is this an in-depth report/comparison of the US/Russian political systems or societies. We all know that any country has its own unique problems.
That being said, it was eye-opening and even scary to view firsthand the differences between our nations at this point in time. What I saw was in stark contrast to the way Russia is depicted in our media. This being my first trip to Russia, I did not know what to expect.
Arrival (SVO Airport)
1. Entered immigration, NO armed officers, just the average immigration workers. I walked up to a friendly and smiling lady, she stamped my passport and waved me on.
2. Wow, that was easy, I thought, surely customs would be more like the U.S. I approached the customs section, had nothing to declare, I started to take my backpack off to show to the official, but she didn't seem to think I required extra scrutiny and waved me through.
3. That was it, in 10 minutes I was let loose in the "Evil Russian" empire.