Here is an interesting analysis from the Washington Times.
The hardening of the public’s attitude about Mr. Putin was on display at a sports event in Moscow in mid-November, when at least one section of the crowd appeared to boo him.With Putin being already appointed to be President, it is only through the Duma elections that people can express their feelings of antagonism, if these are strong enough. The results should be interesting.
Alexei Navalny, an anti-graft activist and widely read blogger, said the jeers and catcalls signal “the end of an era.” He is a highly influential figure in an increasingly politicized Russian Internet community, and coined United Russia’s popular, unofficial nickname: “the party of swindlers and thieves.”
Dissent has been growing about a number of issues, such as suspected mass corruption by United Russia officials and the prospect of two more terms in the Kremlin for Mr. Putin, who will seek a third presidential election next year after being constitutionally bound to step down as president in 2008.
Opposition leader Grigory Yavlinsky, head of the liberal Yabloko party, has suggested that the sudden spark of opposition to Mr. Putin’s rule represents a “deep historical shift” in the nation’s mindset.
Others agree. “People are fed up with Putin,” senior Yabloko official Galina Mikhaleva told The Washington Times. “State-run TV earlier zombified the people, but the Internet has played a huge role in waking them up.