Vladimir Putin's Unintentional Gift to the Opposition
There is a small silver lining in the government's concession that freedom of speech and freedom of assembly need to be protected. It would be ironic indeed if a law intended to ban dissent had the effect of offering it unprecedented legal protection, but then history is full of such ironies. Pseudo-democracies like today's Russia often get into a lot of trouble when they simultaneously promote the formal trappings of democracy while working to undermine its essence. I sincerely hope that the Russian opposition seizes on the opportunity that the authorities have just given it, and that it is able to use these free speech zones to the greatest possible effect.