From Brian Whitmore over at the excellent blog The Power Vertical:
Putin and his closest allies revered Andropov (most of them joined the KGB in the mid-1970s when he ran the spy agency) and tried to establish a new version of his “authoritarian modernization” over the past decade. It all looked successful when oil prices were soaring. But now, the lack of diversification in Russia’s economy is exposing Putin’s economic miracle as a mirage.
But history isn’t exactly repeating itself (it never does). Unlike in the 1980s, there is nobody with the clout and political will to pick up the reform mantle and seize the moment. Despite his recent friskiness, Medvedev doesn’t appear to fit the bill.
So for the time being at least, the choice appears to be one between Putin’s teetering authoritarianism and chaos. And as long as that is the choice, most Russians will choose the former.