From Yevgeny Kiselyov in the Moscow Times:
It seemed at first that our prayers were answered when Mikhail Gorbachev became general secretary in 1985. Those hopes came crashing down, however, when the price of oil dropped several years later. Despite introducing unprecedented political reforms and freedoms that the people had craved for decades, Gorbachev was unable to hold onto power. Gorbachev lacked not only petrodollars, but also political willpower and strength of character. On the other hand, that might have been a good thing. Had a more authoritarian leader than Gorbachev been in power — someone like Slobodan Milosevic, the former President of Yugoslavia — Russia might have ended up awash in blood.
Today, Russians who are tired of the country’s longstanding social stagnation look at the people close to Putin and Medvedev and try to guess who among them might possibly become the next Gorbachev? They also hope and pray that this leader doesn’t turn out to be a Russian Milosevic.