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Protests Expose Russia’s Regime Rivalry

The government clearly underestimates the nature of the crisis simply because it contradicts Putin’s worldview: that he continues to enjoy broad popular support and there is a “responsible” opposition which is represented in parliament, plays by the rules, and doesn’t rock the boat. As per Putin, the other opposition simply doesn’t exist, and the protesters are just a bunch of thugs. No one tells the president that the situation has drastically changed since his triumphant election victory in the spring of 2018, and that the country has entered a new phase.

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