Russia protests: Riot police violently break up Moscow demonstration as thousands take to streets in defiance of Kremlin
Hundreds arrested during protest calling for free elections
That was the moment that a local problem became a national crisis — and one that is certain to grow, says Tatyana Stanovaya, an analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Centre.
“Nobody in the Kremlin is looking for a solution, because they have denied themselves the political instruments they need to find one,” she says. “Putin has made it clear that there will be no concessions to the unsanctioned opposition. He doesn’t consider them politicians. He thinks they are westernised gangsters trying to take over the state.”