Reading this BBC article about Putin:
I expected criticism. After all, her son had died fighting Mr Putin’s war. It was the Russian president who sent troops back into Chechnya more than four years ago.
“Oh no”, Tatyana said softly. “It is not Mr Putin’s fault. He cannot be expected to know everything that is going on in the country.”
“But he is the president”, I argued. “Does he not bear ultimate responsibility?”
Tatyana disagreed: “I think that it is the people around the president who are to blame.”
That is a view I have heard so often in my travels across Russia.
Made me think of this quote by Lord Acton:
The monarchy which had been engaged from the 13th century in curbing the nobles, was at last thrust aside by the democracy, because it was too dilatory in the work, and was unable to deny its own origin and effectually ruin the class from which it sprang. . . . The substance of the ideas of 1789 is not the limitation of the soverign power, but the abrogation of intermediate powers.
From Lord Acton, “Nationality”, Mapping the Nation, p. 24. (Emphasis added.)
UPDATE: Added link to the date in the quote.