We've never had it better here in fact, than since that monstrosity of a union disappeared, and Russians could have had it just as good, were it not for Putin.
And yet when either old age or an "accident" does Putin in, the next leader will be about the same or worse. Putin might make a passable impression of a supervillain, but he's just a man; he didn't beat people into submission with his superpowers, he rose to power because he's the kind of person who gets power in a country like Russia.
So no, Russians couldn't have had it just as good were it not for Putin. Some details would be different, but the country would still be just as authoritarian and obsessed with domination. Lenin did away with the outer trappings but not the inner essence of Czarism, and added a cartful of "ends justify the means" to the mix, which then made Stalin the best available match for the resulting muderous abomination. The later leaders then renounced Stalin but not the essence of the system, and the ball simply kept rolling until the empire collapsed. But even then only the symbols and forms of Russian institutions changed, while the heart of the system went to live on. Which then led to Putin's being the next behind to keep the throne of Czars warm.
Until something is done to its national psychosis, Russia will always be a country where a leader like Putin is the best people can hope for, since he's the least nasty embodiment of Russian national spirit (which still makes him pretty damn nasty). Did I say leader? Because all decisions of importance are made by the nature of the Russian system, and Putin simply handles the logistics of implementing them, getting his share of the loot as payment.
Every country has the government it deserves, and Russia is no exception.