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Russia | The Guardian: The Russian people can’t throw off their tsarist yoke | Letters

Putin’s position may be weak but his citizens won’t push back against him as they have no democratic tradition

Peter Pomerantsev identifies the weaknesses of Vladimir Putin’s position but I fear he overstates the extent to which the Russian people will, indeed will be able to, push back against him (“The nuclear threat might change the mood in Russia itself, stoking widespread fear”, Comment).

Recent world history is littered with brave protest movements which are eventually snuffed out – Belarus is a pertinent example. Moreover, unlike citizens in many parts of Europe, Russians have no tradition of democratisation to lean on. Rather, they appear to be unable to throw off the yoke of requiring a “tsar” to lead them – from Nicholas II through Lenin and Stalin all the way along to Putin. Now, with European liberal democracy in retreat, may not be a propitious time for that to change.
Roger Gane
London SE21

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Russia | The Guardian

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