The Duma electoral campaign will lock in the inertia of parliamentary party dynamics. The regime will arrive at the 2024 presidential elections with a solid parliamentary majority.
Chinese and Russian online propagandists share broadly similar goals and tactics, but they still tend to work separately. Any efforts at greater coordination would have to surmount considerable barriers.
Declaring all opposition figures enemies of the state and illegal entities precludes any chance of dialogue: there might have been a place at the table for a non-system opposition activist, but not for an extremist.
To save its approval ratings, the Kremlin might be better focusing its energy elsewhere.
A generational shift will take place if young Russians decide to break with the values of an antiquated state. This process could take a very long time and include periods of regression, but it could also happen much quicker than expected.
The political messages of the opposition aren’t enough to rouse the average Russian, who still fears one thing above all: that a change in political regime might only make things worse.
Ahead of his trial for defaming a war veteran, Alexei Navalny quoted from the bible and confessed that he has become religious, pitting two ideological pillars of the Russian regime against each other: wartime victory and Christianity.
Navalny is pushing ordinary Russians out of their comfort zone. The mass conformism endemic in authoritarian regimes is working against him.
Since arresting Alexei Navalny on his return from Germany and hastily packing him off to prison, the Russian authorities have turned the country's politics into a binary affair: you are either with Navalny or with President Vladimir Putin. And that is a contest that Putin is no longer confident he can win.
The prison sentence for Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny handed down by a Moscow court last week is an even more radical move than last year’s attempt to poison him. By putting Navalny behind bars for at least two and a half years, Vladimir Putin’s regime is creating far greater risks for itself than if it had managed to secretly do away with him.