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.