Paradoxical as this may sound, I would prefer if Putin’s regime did not collapse too quickly. Let him resist at least another year or so. If he left right away, without squandering his popularity to the end, he might yet come back in a fully democratic way — when the crisis hits the living standard, people will begin to talk nostalgically of the “fat years.” A “second coming” would be a catastrophe for the country.

In addition, the still very young shoots of civil society need time to grow and become stronger. The best way for them to mature would be a continuing assault on a rigid, unyielding authoritarianism. In such a struggle, civil society would strengthen and learn to organize. A palette of real political parties would develop — not puppets, as in Putin’s Parliament: a powerful democratic center, with the new left of socialists and communists to one side, and the new right of nationalists on the other.

Boris Akunin op-ed, translated in the IHT: Let’s Not Rush to Win in Russia

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