When the protests in Russia erupted in 2011-2013, they soon became encapsulated by one particular interpretation. According to the public discourse supported both by the liberal mainstream and by the Kremlin propagandists, there are two social groups in Russia, almost two distinct nations: an apathetic and conformist people and an enlightened minority (which includes the protesters). This essay proposes that the culture war waged by the liberal opposition coexists with government propaganda in a kind of symbiosis that blocks the creation of a broader popular protest movement and outlines the possibilities of unlocking this trap.

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