Anatoly Chubais, the architect of Russia's 1990s privatizations and head of Rusnano, said the authorities can't stop anti-Kremlin street protests and predicted that the rallies could easily swell to half a million people.
"The process has began, and it cannot be stopped," Chubais said in an interview published in this week's issue of Itogi magazine.
"Even though the last march attracted only 30,000, not 100,000, that does not mean things are drying up," he said.
"There will be 10 more rallies of 3,000 people, and then suddenly a half a million people will gather," he said. "I am 100 percent sure of that! This train is not going back to the station."
He said the protest movement marked an end of an era of stability and served as a "testament to the emergence of the middle class."
When asked about his forecast for the coming years, Chubais was uncertain. He said anything was possible, from the peaceful, organic development of democratic institutions to large-scale social upheaval comparable with that of the 1990s.