This will probably be of no surprise to people who follow Russian sentiments, but still worth pointing out that according to the latest polls by Levada – an independent polling agency headed by pro-Western liberals – support for this thing called “Western-style democracy” has never been lower. This is quite a change from 2012, at the height of the post-Soviet protest fervor, when it was neck and neck with the Soviet system and the legitimacy of the current system came close to its local maximum.
Likewise, support for free markets is also near, though not quite at, an all-time low. The catastrophic events of the 1990s, first the epically crooked privatizations, then the 1998 default, disillusioned Russians from “reform” for the foreseeable future.
You don’t really need many Kiselevs when two decades of geopolitical double standards and Cochita Wursts can do the job even better. In the great scheme of things, considering Russians’ enthusiasm for Western democracy and free markets directly after the fall of the USSR, which was still detectable even when Putin first came to power and mooted the possibility of Russia joining NATO (on which he was cold shouldered), this can be interpreted as one of history’s greatest ideological PR fails.
These figures demonstrate that there is more to Russia’s pride and accumulated resentment than the headline 80%+ approval ratings for Putin after Crimea. One consequence is that Russia is more or less “immunized” against coups and color revolutions until at least the next round of elections in 2017-18. Western policymakers might not like this fact or even be unduly interested in it, but reality is.