Advancing a Free Society

Putin is in a Box: What the Demonstrators Should Understand

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fifty thousand demonstrators are shouting “Russia without Putin!” as I write this post. Symbolically, they are milling in Bolotnaya Square, the site where the Don Cossack Pugachev was beheaded in 1775, after fighting a two-year war against Catherine the Great.

Madeline Albright used to tell us that “Saddam is in a box.” He was not, but Putin is. His siloviki (power men) can handle a demonstration of one thousand but not fifty thousand. He can no longer claim any kind of legitimacy after the party he founded (and now distances himself from) could not win a majority against ancient communists and bumbling nationalists.

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