In fact, Roshchin says, “there is a restraining factor” in Donetsk that wouldn’t be present in a Russia without Putin. That is “the SINGLE really positive demand” that the authorities there have made – about language. “The ‘revolt’ has no other ideas,” and happily for them, he says, the Ukrainian authorities don’t seem to understand how easy it would be for them to undercut such an appeal.
“However in Russia, this would not be the case,” Roshchin says. And that in turn highlights “the ideological weakness of the opposition” in Russia, an opposition that currently offers the population no clear path forward “except ‘Down with Putin.’”
One need not agree with Roshchin regarding the Russian opposition or Putin’s rule, although there is perhaps some truth in what he says, to recognize that the Kremlin leader may have yet another reason to allow Donetsk and Luhansk to descend into chaos: to remind Russians what real chaos looks like and to suggest what might happen to them without him.