The West tends to anticipate the eventual downfall of Vladimir Putin with certain exuberance and optimism due to expectations of a more ‘pro-Western’ alternative or even the return of Yeltsin-era policies. The anti-Russian sanctions following Moscow's seizure of Crimea were envisioned to turn the population, business community and political elites against Putin, compelling the president to revise policies.
There is now evidence that pressure is indeed mounting on Putin to modify Russia’s stance. The pressure is however not coming from a pro-Western opposition, but the hawks that are calling for the president to abandon his conciliatory approach and respond more coercively to deter NATO.
The main question asked in Moscow is why NATO is suddenly amassing its troops in an unprecedented military build-up on Russia's borders under the pretext of ‘Russian aggression’, more than two years after the seizure of Crimea? The prevailing response is that efforts to reconcile have not only failed, they are perceived as a weakness that has emboldened NATO.
General Aleksandr Bastrykin, the head of Russia’s Investigative Committee, recently warned that Russia must rapidly develop its military and abandon illusions that a political settlement can be reached with the West. The resulting debate is mounting pressure on Putin to reverse what is deemed to be dangerous appeasement of NATO, and instead make preparations for the growing prospect of war. The West’s failure to recognise the growing pressure on the Russian president derives from a failure to acknowledge that Putin actually represents the ‘pro-Western’ alternative in Russia.Russia Insider
West Doesn't Comprehend Putin Is the Last Chance for a Pro-Western Russia