In the documentary, Putin says, according to the Ria Novosti news agency, that the collapse of the Soviet Union 30 years ago “is still a tragedy for most citizens.” He was also personally affected. “Sometimes I had to make some extra money,” he said. “I mean: earn extra money as a taxi driver with my own car. It’s unpleasant to be open about it, but it was like that back then, unfortunately.
In the first years after the collapse of the Soviet regime, it was common for Russians to play taxi drivers with their (or work) car to make ends meet. At that point all you had to do on the street was raise your hand or a driver would stop and pick you up.
Even those who had jobs could hardly keep their heads above water at the time due to hyperinflation during the transition from communism to capitalism. Suddenly, tens of millions of Russians have seen their savings, their pensions and a large part of their income disappear like snow in the sun.
It is not known how many times Putin actually acted as a taxi driver. He worked for the KGB intelligence service, but said he resigned in August 1991 to protest the (failed) coup against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. Several months later, Putin was appointed second man to the reformist mayor of Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), Anatoly Sobchak. In this position, he was in charge, among other things, of the distribution of aid from the West.
Putin quickly used this position on the St. Petersburg board to create a network of business friends, some of whom have become billionaires under his care.
Putin has previously called the dissolution of the Soviet Union “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century.” “Because what does the collapse of the Soviet Union actually mean? He wonders in the documentary. “It was the collapse of historic Russia under the guise of the Soviet Union.”
The resentment that Putin left during this period is reflected in the language he uses when talking about Ukraine. According to him, Ukraine does not in fact have the right to exist as an independent country, since it has always been part of the Russian Empire.
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