Although they have quieted down as quickly as they flared up, the clamorous protests that followed the dishonest Russian legislative elections in December 2011 have essentially destroyed Putin’s regime, the infamous “managed democracy.” In order to unravel the enigma of “managed democracy,” we need to answer a few simple questions: What is the political function of rigged elections for a government that has never really pretended to be a democracy? Why have rigged elections under Putin seemed both meaningless and indispensable? Why has Putin regularly rigged presidential elections when he has been well positioned to win them even if competition were free and fair? And why did the Kremlin rig elections in a manner so flagrant that nobody could doubt that they were rigged and that the Kremlin was doing the rigging?