Here’s a bit of advice from someone who has experience in the subject matter (the author grew up in Poetin’s Russia, according to BoingBoing): “The New York Review Of Books – Autocracy: Rules for Survival“.
Rule #1: Believe the autocrat. He means what he says. Whenever you find yourself thinking, or hear others claiming, that he is exaggerating, that is our innate tendency to reach for a rationalization.
…in the face of the impulse to normalize, it is essential to maintain one’s capacity for shock. This will lead people to call you unreasonable and hysterical, and to accuse you of overreacting. It is no fun to be the only hysterical person in the room. Prepare yourself.
Unfortunately, this advice seems to be needed in more and more countries these days, not just in Russia. It’s imperative for any real democrat to read this article – being a democrat does not mean giving in to just anyone in the seat of power.