A good summary of Russian history. Russians have a sense of having their own civilization, which doesn’t owe anything to any one else. While Russia has emerged from Communism in reasonably good shape - perestroika is a process that will take decades to complete. Dismantling the totalitarian system was the easy part but building a modern, humane and civilized society is very difficult.
Middle class Russians want a society with European values and having the kind of life people in the West have with the freedoms that go along with it. But other Russians fear too fast change and these people are Putin supporters. Its the typical divide between well-educated urban people and working class people in the small towns and countryside.
There are two Russias and while they both agree on Crimea there is hardly a consensus between them on anything else. And with a corrupt and inefficient political system, its remarkable that anything at all actually gets done. And reforming this system is an uphill undertaking. Putin’s policies have not really addressed where Russia needs to go in the future.
The thing is, Putin knows he has to walk a fine line between those distinct two groups of Russians.
If Putin allowed Ukraine to go completely independent and take Crimea with it, Putin would have been run out of Moscow.