The mass protests in Moscow and other Russian cities after the parliamentary elections on 4 December 2011 shattered long-standing assumptions about the Russian political system and the apathy of Russian society. They raise new questions about the evolution of Russian society and state-society relations. These are extremely serious issues not only for the protesters and external observers, but also for a Russian leadership whose legitimacy is at risk and who, in one way or another, will have to react to this vocal expression of discontent and demand for change. This EUISS Report features contributions from a group of Russian authors with outstanding expertise on important Russian domestic and foreign policy issues. They all contributed analytical papers to the Institute’s ‘Russia Insights’ series, which were published online during the weeks before the parliamentary and presidential elections. Therefore, some of the papers where written before and some after the public protests started. Together, they provide valuable insights into Russian politics and society and into the country’s economic system as well as into Russia’s foreign policy posture. The result is a very complex picture combining elements of dynamism, stasis and stagnation.
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