In the documentary, Putin says, according to the RIA Novosti news agency, that the collapse of the Soviet Union 30 years ago “still remains a tragedy for most citizens.” He is also personally affected. “Sometimes I had to make some extra money,” he said. I mean: make more money as a taxi driver with my own car. It’s unpleasant to be frank about it, but that’s how it was then, unfortunately.
In the early post-Soviet years, it was common for Russians to play taxi drivers with their cars (or work cars) to make ends meet. At that time, all you had to do on the street was raise your hand or the car driver would stop and pick you up.
Even those with a job could not keep their heads above water at that time due to hyperinflation during the transition from communism to capitalism. As a result, tens of millions of Russians saw their savings, pensions, and a significant part of their income disappear like snow in the sun.
It remains unclear how many times Putin actually worked as a taxi driver. He worked for the KGB intelligence service, but said he resigned in August 1991 in protest of the (failed) coup against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. Several months later, Putin was appointed the second in command of the reformist mayor of Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), Anatoly Sobchak. In this position, he was involved, among other things, in distributing relief items from the West.
Putin quickly used this position on the Saint Petersburg board of directors to build a network of business friends, some of whom grew into billionaires under his auspices.
Putin previously described the disintegration of the Soviet Union as “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century”. In the documentary, he asks, “Because what does the collapse of the Soviet Union actually mean?”. It was the collapse of historical Russia under the guise of the Soviet Union.”
The resentment that Putin left with that period is reflected in the language he uses when talking about Ukraine. According to him, Ukraine has no right to exist as an independent state, since it has always been part of the Russian Empire.
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