And that time may come sooner than many expect: all the measures of trust in leaders are going down, including in Putin. While the regime is preparing to resist, that may matter less than many think because the problem in the case of Russia is that “the system itself forces people who earlier were indifferent to go out into the street” to have any hope of solving their problems.
Stability in Russia “ended with the crisis in 2009,” Volkov says, and “while it is impossible to speak about the creation of a massive civic movement for democracy,” the situation today is fundamentally different than in was a decade ago. Networks are being created, activists are emerging, and local deputies are getting involved.
Up to now, this is taking place mostly in the big cities, but things are spreading, and the regime may even now becoming nostalgic about the protests it worried about so much five years ago.