The disconnect between Russia’s population, civil society and the political elites means that popular revolt can only have a limited impact, Anna Arutunyan, author of The Putin Mystique, writes for the European Council on European Relations:
However, despite achieving little of its own accord, it could have the potential to set off regime change from within the Kremlin: as various elites vie for power, some will inevitably take better advantage than others of the general sense of instability that accompanies a persistent, millions-strong demonstration and especially of the mounting pressure it would place on the incumbent ruler, leading to a palace coup. While acting as a trigger, however, the protests themselves would still have extremely limited leverage on whatever new government emerges. Such a scenario might change the state representation, but would not fix the disconnect that keeps civil society agentless.
Anna Arutunyan is a Moscow-based writer and journalist, formerly of @themoscownews. She is the author of The Putin Mystique and contributed two fiction pieces to ECFR’s 2014 publication “Russia’s Pivot to Eurasia”. She has just returned from a George F. Kennan fellowship at the Wilson Center in Washington.