Reuters is calling it the "rise of the middle class" in Russia and after working closely with Russians for the last eight years, I'd have to agree. The Russia of today is not what it was even ten years ago, but Putin doesn't understand what happened. Things may become a little more clear for him today as Russians plan a large protest in Moscow and many more smaller protests around the country.
To his credit, Putin's policies helped grow the middle class. Unfortunately Putin missed a few history classes and failed to understand that when this happens, people want and expect to have some say in the future of the country. Being pushed aside while the mega-rich zip by, above the law, is not sustainable. Russians now expect more and will eventually get it. Al Jazeera:
Russia is bracing itself for the first nationwide protest against Vladimir Putin's 12-year rule amid signs of swelling anger over a poll won by his ruling United Russia party with the alleged help of widescale fraud.
Moscow authorities gave permission for 30,000 people to gather on a square across the river from the Kremlin at 10:00 GMT after detaining some 1,600 activists over the past few days who joined unsanctioned rallies against the December 4 vote.
The opposition is also organising rallies in at least 14 other major cities in a rare outpouring of mistrust in a system put in place by Putin when he first became president in 2000.