WASHINGTON -- Zbigniew Brzezinski, a former U.S. national security adviser and longtime advocate of human rights in Eastern Europe, says Russian President Vladimir Putin's rule "may in fact already be a form of anachronism."
Speaking on May 23 at Washington's Woodrow Wilson Center, the Polish-born Brzezinski suggested Putinism marked "an idea and style of leadership associated with the past, not particularly relevant either to global conditions or to the specifics of Russia's own condition."
He said the emergence of an empowered middle class in Russia meant that "Putin's influence on the future course of Russia will perhaps not be quite as great as it would appear today."
"For the first time in Russian political history, the element of individual fear is gone," Brzezinski said of the civic and political organization that has reverberated through Russia since highly criticized State Duma elections in December.
Putin was inaugurated to a third term as Russian president earlier this month, following an election in March, amid widespread public protest against his domination of national politics.