I feel bad for the Russian people. They have been fucked over and over by their government leaders in all known history. The Russians have never experienced real justice, real freedom or real including and constitutional democracy. Yet they are clinging to emotional crutches like history and patriotism, which always' been edited by the leaders of Kreml. And even if there's a nanosecond of opportunity for Russia to be an open, tolerant and including country in cooperation with the rest of the world, it is always hindered by paranoia campaigns by the isolationists in Kreml. And now:
Once more "the lecherous bear" seeks to take over another state by any means necessary. This has been the role of Russian leaders in all modern history: They're The Bully, plain and simple. Lenin, Stalin, Chrusjtjov, Breznej and now Putin. Jeltsin was never in a position to become the same kind of bully like all the others - there simply was too many chiefs present at that time, and Jeltsin was too dependent on many different business men to run it all on his own. So here we are again, The Bully can have its day in the sunshine, and no one will stop them from getting what they want by force and coercion.
The assumption here is that the never-ending misery of Russia must be explained in terms of its history, its connection to the global world, and its present democratic movements.
Historically speaking, there has been a lot of democratic movements, but all of them have shifted towards avantgarde elitists (like the Bolsheviks/Soviets) or have been crushed by the these avantgardes (what happened to the Mensheviks, the autonomous anarcists and syndicalists movements, the liberals and conservatives democrats). So the only one left standing are the Bolshevik elites, who force-fed the common people their own version of reality, history and democracy. And since the Russians have been used to autocratic rule for so long (like the Tsars) it wasn't much of a big leap to quietly accept the totalitarian Bolsheviks. In overall, it was a pretty stable system, but like any other dictatorship, it had so many flaws it was bound for self-destruct, especially if certain key figures lost control of power and communication or simply died without suitable heirs.
Russia's connection to the outside world has, ever since Lenin, been that of a reserved Bully, ready to raise the fist at any possible sign of political or economical resistance. And this is mainly due to the governments of Russia, and not the common people or their associations in various societal sectors. These leaders, and the backing of the key military figures are the main reason Russia has been on edge with the outside world for so many decades. Stalin always judged foreign leaders out of his own personal traits, so did Lenin, and all leaders after them both. They have all lacked the ability to think outside their box, for empathy alien to their own political culture. And like any other political extremism, the reason why they are so clueless to this is that they've embraced a notion of Elitism (i.e. the common people are too stupid and weak to make public choices of new rule) and isolated revolution, which brought all the paranoia and nationalism. All the dissidents who have been outspoken about Russias development have been silenced, with Trotskij been the first of many to come.
The democratic movements in Russia had some early progress and chance to build institutions among the common people after the collapse of Soviet and during Jeltsin's mandate. Unfortunately, they have met strong resistance from the leaders in Kreml. Over these last fifteen years, mass-demonstrations have always been met with police brutality, mass-arrests and even assassinations of peaceful opposition. And the man behind the curtain is as strong as ever. Putin and his entourage are the main concern for the democratic justice, tolerance and freedom of Russia, and the sooner the common people realise this the better.
So, what would alter the course of Russian history in modern times? If we simply remove Putin and all of his support out of the equation, what happens then? Surely there would be a power vacuum and a struggle for power among all the idiotic nationalist movements, but also peaceful and open-minded movements would have the opportunity to have their say among square meetings and other public areas. The ability to affect and inform the citizens increases rapidly for these movements once the police state is out of order.
And if Putin and his gang are the main problem in Russia, how can the people remove him? In older history, during coups, there have been documentations of whole families wiped out, down to the last child, to avoid any possibility for opposition to regain strength. Clearly, this is not an option. It would mean mass murder on an enormous scale, and you would be no better than the current leaders of Russia. It's also en extremely insecure way to remove one problem. Not only would it be a taxing and complex operation to wipe out all of these persons, Putin and his family, all of his political and military support and all of their relatives. It would also be very unsure whether or not everyone is captured and killed, down to the smallest cubs.
It would be a hideous act and just replace one brutal rule with a new one, since the new rule already would have their taste for blood. One can only hope the future opposition understands the crucial lesson: That violent revolutions always turns into shit. Look at all the other revolutions who went bloody, they've really gone backwards in so many ways it's a joke to call it a civilized and progressive country.
If not wiping out Putin and all of his support and so forth, what would political and economical sanctions do to the Kreml leadership? Only strengthening their leadership. They can with-hold public information about the foreign intentions and their speeches, shut down websites about this, and claim to the public that the rest of the world is The Bully, not them. They're just answering the call for help by their friend in the south.
What about peaceful, tolerant and democratic movements - what are their mobility and flexibility these days? Last time we heard of them they held a mass protest against the assassination of a journalist and persecution of an oligarch, who happened to be a liberal politician as well, but nothing changed the Kreml rule. They remained intact. And since then they have gained support for their intervention in Georgia, their handling of the terrorist actions in Russian schools and the so-called "seizure of funds" from "corrupt leaders", while really all they are doing is putting that money into their own pockets and make sure no one else can have capital to raise popular support for oppositional election.