Demoralized as the Russian capital's protest movement may be, there are still plenty of angry people out in the hinterlands. They have less to lose than well-fed Muscovites, and president-elect Vladimir Putin has yet to figure out how to handle them.
In the southern provincial capital of Astrakhan, population 520,000, a soft-spoken, bespectacled historian named Oleg Shein has emerged as the new hope of the opposition. As of this writing, he has been on hunger strike for more than a month, putting his life on the line to prove that the city's mayoral elections were stolen from him. Federal officials, including Putin, have been forced to take notice.