There is a growing discontent in Russia, mainly over living conditions but also, especially in the big cities, over violations of civil rights. Even if the backbone of the state apparatus is showing cracks, the opposition still has a long way to go. A post-Putin regime might not be any more democratic than the present system. However, for now the only real challenge to the established order is coming not from the nationalism and conservatism that are entrenched in the heart of the Kremlin, but from a yearning for democracy.
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