Group annotations on this page
It is impossible to fully disentangle these reactions from what has been going on inside Russia over the last year, as a decade-long contract between Mr. Putin and his citizens began to fray.
Though there is little comparison on the ground between the Arab uprisings and Russia’s unrest — the Russian opposition movement remains small, Moscow-centered and moderate in its tactics — the sudden change has left the government wary of legitimizing any popular dissent. State-controlled news media paint a bleak picture of Arab countries that have seen uprisings, and Russian diplomats have approached new authorities in the Arab world slowly and awkwardly.
Meanwhile, Russian leaders fear that rising Islamism in the Arab world will breathe new life into the armed insurgency in the northern Caucasus, which is mostly Sunni.
As the body count rises, one of Moscow’s real concerns may be the hardening of Arab public opinion against Russia, said a senior Arab diplomat
Russia’s officials have been forced to accept that “unlike the last four decades, now the Arab street has a voice,”