The U.S.-Soviet alliance during World War II has often been presented in Russia as a paragon of ideal relations between Moscow and Washington: co-equal, realist to the core, and successful. Even during the Cold War it was praised as an example of what the two powerful countries could do if only they were united by a compelling common cause.
The experience of the Soviet-American-British wartime coalition was unique and inimitable. Pulling the U.S.-Russian relationship back from the brink of confrontation to less antagonistic rivalry will only be possible in the event of major changes in the domestic politics of one or both countries.
The communication channels between the president and society are shrinking. Some events are apparently too important for the president to discuss seriously with the public, while others are uninteresting or unpleasant for him, so they aren’t discussed either, no matter how big those issues might be.
Russian officialdom has been eyeing China’s pervasive use of technology to surveil and control its citizens’ activities. Yet Moscow is not copying Beijing’s model whole cloth.
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.
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.