Excellent analysis.
One two pronged mistake though.
Putin was raised in a completely different environment than Nixon and the Russian Silent Majority is rather different than the American one. Not that different as some might think but nevertheless different enough as to accept a lot more authoritarianism from Putin than their American counterpart accepted from Nixon. And Putin is only happy to deliver.
So no, I don’t think leaving him alone may accomplish much. If anything, this would reinforce Putin’s conviction that the West is nothing but a bunch of degenerated pussies. He is wrong, of course, but the fact that he makes again the same mistake Hitler did 70 years ago doesn’t bode well for anybody. East or West of the Urals.
And yes, it is extremely unfortunate that “intelligentsia liberals and Moscow yuppies are elitist snobs on a scale that would turn anyone into a Bolshevik. They even named their go-to glossy “Snob”— and they meant it. It’s not just the new rich who are elitist snobs — liberal journalist-dissident Elena Tregubova’s memoir on press censorship interweaves her contempt for Putin with her Muscovite contempt for what she called “aborigines,” those provincial Russian multitudes who occupy the rest of Russia’s eleven time zones. Tregubova flaunted her contempt for Russia’s “aborigines,” whom she mocked for being too poor and uncivilized to tell the difference between processed orange juice and her beloved fresh-squeezed orange juice. I’m not making that up either.”

You see, this is the real problem that needs fixing, And not only in Russia.

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