A very interesting post.

Russian language skills, that I lack, appear necessary to gain full benefit. There may be a way to copy and paste cited passages into Google Translate; however, I am not finding it.

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Are you sure about the use of the word "smuta"?

I have always understood it as a period of time when the state collapses and there is no strong ruler. Mutinity is not needed here. That is why the whole 90s is often called smuta - there was President Yeltsin and there was no mutinity, but the government was weak. Wages and pensions went unpaid for months. People were uncertain about their future. And worst of all, there was no one to ask for help against the local boyars.

Then Putin came along and ended it. He bombed rebellious Chechnya, he started paying pensions on time (thanks to rising oil prices, but who cares...) and he removed old boyars from power and punished some of them. And he ended with "dermocracy" (shitocracy), which led to Yeltsin-era smuta. So the election results did not decide who will rule, it is the ruler who decides about the election results. Also, many elected officials were changed to presidential appointees.

Of course there were new boyars, but people knew that the tsar loved them and that they could ask him for help. And at least once a year he had a big TV event where he solved the problems of a few commoners and jawed at stupid officials. The smuta was over.

Now that one of the boyars has almost managed to take over Moscow, it seems that a new smuta is about to begin...

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