How did such a movement emerge in the first place? A number of more or less compelling explanations can be adduced. One revolves around the internet. As the Russian print and broadcast media was evacuated of any challenging content, political discussion gradually moved online. Ten years ago, only a tiny percentage of Russians could go online, and they were unlikely to cause any trouble. As internet access radically expanded, however, and the Russian LiveJournal–based blogosphere came into contact with the Russian diaspora, online dissent became more unified and much more difficult to control. (The government is currently implementing an online censorship bill that at long last seems to be a serious attempt to clamp down on internet activism, though its stated justification is protecting children from immorality.) Another explanation is purely Maslovian: a new middle class has emerged, and a large segment of the population can finally pay attention to more abstract needs than security and shelter. Corruption is of particular interest to this new social force, since it is a direct threat to its economic prospects. At least as significant, however, is the fact that the government’s behavior diverged from its antipolitical line. While the four-year rigmarole with President Medvedev may have been intended as a play to a knowing crowd—and certainly Medvedev was not taken seriously at the beginning of his term—by 2009 significant numbers of Russians had been persuaded to buy into the new president’s program of reform and modernization. Many Russians began to become aware of the possibilities of idealistic collective action. They organized local groups to fight developers, corrupt officials, and deficiencies in public services. At first, the aspirations of these activists were limited, but it could not have been long before they awoke to the fact that corruption was not simply an incidental part of the Putinist system.