Russia is so battered and beleaguered that Putin is politically resuscitated to right the ship. However, Putinism is in its last throes, and even he can't undo the damage. "By 2015," Kuchins' divines, "it was painfully obvious that Putin's luck had run out and that his administration was financially and morally bankrupt."
No need to fret dear reader, for as John tells us, "I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, 'Come!' I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest" (Revelation, 6:1). Or in Kuchins' case two messiahs on two white horses!
Enter the gods from the machine. The "two old liberal warriors," Boris Nemtsov and Grigory Yavlinsky, return (from where who knows) to strike down evil and mobilize the democracy. Backed by the internet, civil society, and hidden cash from a "grizzled and withered" Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Nemtsov and Yavlinsky's "united liberal front" wins the Presidency in 2016. They immediately institute "extensive economic reform" and "restore international confidence" in Russia. The siloviki are vanquished and the formerly apathetic Russian people, now fully conscious, are triumphant. "After a 25-year roller coaster from the bottom to the top and back to the bottom," Kuchins' concludes, "Russian citizens had a faint hope that a more sustainable and prosperous future awaited them." Right-fucking-on!
Such is Kuchins' social scientific masterpiece. It's no wonder Kommersant derided it as a "suspense novel." A suspense novel it is, though I would have inserted the word "crap" before that description. Kuchins complained last week that Kommersant misrepresented him and his report. What did he expect? "A Shot in the Dark ... " and "... and Democracy Rises Again" are so wild that I can't imagine anyone not ridiculing it. Especially from a guy who feels the need to send, according to Kommersant, "a personal letter to Putin explaining to him how to observe democratic principles." That's patronizing. And so is his "alternative scenarios" and by extension his whole damn report.
All of this proves, yet again, that even in the future, Russia is a slave to America's own split screen illusions. And just when we think Russia's shroud of darkness is too thick to cast off, the old deus ex machina appears to save the day. The benefits of liberal democracy in the figures of Nemtsov and Yavlinsky are so pleasant, so bright, that they alone can shake off Russia's historical baggage. All we, or should I say, "the Russians" need to do is believe that the truth is right there, in hack social science fiction.