The coronation of Dmitri Medvedev as Vladimir Putin’s annointed successor has unleashed the usual deluge of stereotypes about “the Russians” in the Western media. They are backward, they cannot ever escape from their dreadful history, they are “different from us”. They are “reverting to type” and the next stop was a new Cold War. Putin’s eight years in office gave Russians stability and a measure of prosperity after the political chaos and economic banditry of the nineties and they don’t want to lose that. The experience of the nineties is also why a large majority of Russians show no great enthusiasm for “democracy” or even openly reject it.