To the editor,
When communism collapsed in Russia, it was all chaos.
As the late John le Carre (a.k.a. David Cornwell) pointed out, instead of guiding Russia to democracy, every “carpetbagger” who wanted to grab a quick ruble poured into the country.
There was “shock doctrine” in which Russians starved and froze to death persons and wages were not paid. Russian winters are cold and hard, and people lined up o the sidewalk so they could sell their possessions to stay alive. Russian winters are harsh and according to the Guardian, many people starved or froze to death.
Enter Vladimir Putin replacing that drunken, sickly brace beyond Boris Yeltsin.
In July 2000, Putin called a meeting of 18 of Russia’s richest oligarchs, in Joseph Stalin’s former residence no less. Putin looked them in the eye and said they could keep what they had, but from here on in they were simply businessmen. They could keep their millions, but stay out of his way, “I’m in charge now.”
Putin then sent his tax police out armed and dangerous to collect the billions in unpaid taxes. After all, if you have four or six Kalashnikovs at you, wouldn’t you be happy to write a cheque for the arrears?
Putin also restored pensions and salaries. Russians could feed and clothe themselves again. He gave a certain air of normalcy, whatever normalcy is for Russia and the Russian people.
If Putin had stayed in power for five or even 10 years, he just might be called a “hero.” He’s taken a chaotic out of control country and whipped it back into shape of a sort. People could go about their ordinary lives without worrying about the bottom dropping out of everything.
Alas, too late the here. By his own actions, especially that mindless invasion of Ukraine, whatever good Putin did in the beginning, his role as a saviour of Russia. Make Russia great again? Make the U.S. great again? Make Canada great again? What mindless nonsense.
And Putin appears to be wrapped completely in this, much to the detriment of Russia and its people.