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Defying Expectations

This one comes from Nina Khrushcheva:

Indeed, Russia’s liberal promises have been shattered time after time. Nikita Khrushchev’s de-Stalinization reforms ended with Leonid Brezhnev’s stagnation; Boris Yeltsin’s democratization resulted in Putin’s authoritarianism. In the sadly immortal words of Victor Chernomyrdin, Russia’s prime minister during the Yeltsin era, “We wanted for the better, but it turned out to be like always.”

But, as predictable as Russia’s undemocratic system of governance usually is, the country does defy expectations once in a while. Khrushchev denounced his mentor, Stalin. Mikhail Gorbachev was originally installed in power to press on with Yuri Andropov’s KGB-inspired vision of communism, but instead diverted the Soviet Union’s course into glasnost and perestroika , and accidentally into freedom.What if Putin is wrong in his choice of successor, and Medvedev refuses to be his clone, but instead follows in the footsteps of Khrushchev, Gorbachev, and Yeltsin? What if the supposed puppet starts to pull the strings?