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Odds and Ends
22 6, 2:30pm
Well... the picture is really to big and complicated to try and describe it all, but I'll try to cut it short.
1. There was the USSR. Everybody had a guaranteed job, a guaranteed free (tiny) flat, free health care, free education (including university) and you didn't have to worry what to feed your kids with.
2. At the same time you could not go abroad, buy a car, start your business or criticize Communism or the government.
3. USSR died. Everybody was happy because we were supposedly getting that second point we were missing.
4. In Russia of the 90-s under Yeltsin the Drunk you could speak freely (and get killed, that happened to a lot of liberal journalists actually), buy a car (only criminals and corrupts could afford that), start a business (provided you share with the criminal (or get killed) and pay no/few taxes (or go bankrupt)).
5. Health care was already not so free (we have capitalism now!) to receive free education you had to pay a lot of bribes just to enter the university, and people started suspecting they were fooled. I remember my Dad bring home a head of cabbage, and I was so happy because I was a hungry kid then. Really hungry.
6. 90-s are called "harsh" in Russia and "fat" in the US btw. For a reason.
7. On the international stage we just suck America's d*ck. Betrayed Serbia when they were bombed by NATO. We still feel bad about it. People started losing self respect, like once you were able to stand your ground, and now you just bend to your knees whenever told so.
8. The West is happy with Russia and calles it democracy despite the fact the country is ridden with poverty, criminals, oligarchs and is further from upkeeping human rights then in Soviet times. But, Yeltsin lets the West do as it pleases, so the media reports everything is just fine.
9. Putin comes and spends 10 years reviving the country. He didn't really kill the corruption, but he stopped the Wild West that we were having. You can now be pretty much sure, that even if you can't afford a car, you will not starve. Most people in cities can afford a car anyway. Getting a flat is still very hard, but the improvement is there.
10. So people start feeling a bit safe now, looking back at the 90-s in terror. When we were destroying ourselves and the West was applauding to it.
11. Then Ukraine suffers a coup and people come to their government who were just yesterday chanting "Put the Russians to the gallows" in the streets. That is really one of the slogans of people in power in Ukraine now.
12. One of the first things they do is to say "Of course we will remove the Russian naval base from Crimea and put NATO there". Mind this is the only Russian naval base in the Black sea and it was there since Tzarist Russia times. Effectively we were going to lose the Black sea fleet, if not get a NATO fleet at our doorstep at the same time.
13. And then Putin, instead of taking our habitual bent over position, out of the blue shows everybody his middle finger and takes back Crimea, inhabited by Russias (mainly) and perceived as "ours" in cultural sense.
You don't have to wonder why people were full of pride then and why they would support Putin, who made that feeling in them real. He might not be perfect, but he is our leader, who reached some very real goals to improve everybody's life. And brought the pride back.
Now I am aware there are different points of view, and all I wrote can be called propaganda by people who believe otherwise. What is true, that a lot of people around me think the way I put it. And that is the answer to "what gives support to Putin".