The Kremlin's latest moves to eviscerate the fledgling political reforms and to continue manipulative politics of managed democracy are troubling signs.
There is a pent up demand for honesty and sincerity in politics to dispel the cynicism and political imitation of the Vladimir Putin era. The nation is on a lookout for authentic leaders who actually do what they say and exude a refreshing personal humility before their constituents.
There is a palpable interest for a serious political movement that puts forward a realistic strategy for Russia's comprehensive upgrade with a viable plan to pay for it. People want to freely change their rulers at all levels of government before they develop a sense of entitlement to power.
So far, the Kremlin's response to this has been more manipulation and more cynicism. The new law on political parties provides for unlimited opportunities to multiply fake, pro-Kremlin parties while barring meaningful coalition building and pooling of resources by the regime's opponents. The promise of direct elections for governors has all but been retracted. Instead, a multi-tiered system of stage-managed nomination of candidates will be put in place to allow the Kremlin to strike down undesired opponents at the very early stages in the campaign. This will provide for East Germany-style elections where only pro-Putin candidates get to run. In an Orwellian move, the Kremlin is rushing to appoint loyal governors before the new law kicks in.
Not that the opposition understands the country better. Those who are competent enough to provide a credible alternative — for example, Alexei Kudrin, Mikhail Prokhorov, Oksana Dmitriyeva are in no rush to challenge the system. Those who are passionate enough to actually fight for freedom — Alexei Navalny, Sergei Udaltsov, Yevgenia Chirikova or Oleg Shein are still too lightweight to rally millions.
Prokhorov has been particularly disappointing. The man who got more than 6 million votes less than two months ago has taken a long sabbatical from politics and had nothing to say on issues dividing the country since the presidential election. He is reportedly busy building a new liberal political party, but who needs a party that is running away from the debate?
The new ideological divide is between sincerity and cynicism and honesty and duplicity. Those who take the right side of the issue will lead this country to freedom and greatness.