There's one ploy Russian President Vladimir Putin has mastered and perfected in his 14 years in power: If something appears to threaten your power, create its evil twin.
When radical young Russians started organizing against him, he responded by generously funding a cluster of pro-Kremlin youth movements. When the Russian blogosphere turned hostile, pro-Kremlin resources sprang up and hundreds of active Putin-friendly commentators emerged from nowhere. When, in 2011, the Moscow middle class protested a rigged parliamentary election by holding mass rallies, Putin's staff sought to organize bigger gatherings by ordering public sector workers out on the streets with preprinted signs. Recently, even the anti-corruption agenda of blogger Alexei Navalny, who has been banned from posting while under house arrest, has been replicated by the Putin-created All-Russian People's Front as mild criticism of the government auction system. Putin's fake civil society dwarfs the genuine one, because it is a more efficient social ladder.