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    Post-Putin Russia Won’t Be Democratic

    Opposition activists  take part in their authorized rally at the Bolotnaya Square  in central Moscow, on December 10, 2011, to  protest against the alleging mass fraud in the December 4 parliamentary polls. The poster depicts Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin looking  old and reads: "2050 - No!" Tens of thousands of election protesters turned out today in Moscow and other major cities across Russia in open defiance to strongman Vladimir Putin's 12-year rule. AFP PHOTO / YURI KADOBNOV (Photo credit should read YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)

    Yuri Kadobnov / AFP-Getty Images

    With thousands on the streets of Moscow and a new billionaire challenger emerging against President Vladimir Putin, it looks like Russia's on the brink of a democratic uprising. But not so fast, says Paul Starobin at The New Republic. "Russian liberalism—which identifies itself with Western-style democracy—has a tepid mass following, its ranks consistently overestimated over the last twenty years by ever-hopeful Western governments, analysts, and journalists. And the current groundswell of protest, while promising on the surface, looks more like a popular rejection of a strongman who has overstayed his welcome—not like a rejection of the model of strongman rule."

    Read it at The New Republic