Is Vladimir Putin a Good Leader in Russia?
In March 2020, Mr. Putin announced “voluntary” lockdown across Russia.
In the next two months millions lost their jobs, and small businesses suffered.
The newly unemployed and small businesses practically didn’t get any financial support from the government, while oligarchs and state corporations received billions of rubles.
The state TV delivered a clear message to 144 million Russian citizens:
financial support to individuals in the Western countries is fake news…
you can manage - your grandfathers fought in the WW2…you should be worthy of your Great Motherland…
”look, in your pockets, I bet you can find 1,000 rubles ($15), so don't tell me you’re broke.”
Like in the Soviet Union, the government made it look like being poor is a matter of national pride.
While small business owners worked day and night to salvage what was left, the unemployed found themselves locked in their apartments without money to buy food.
Many Russians left to their own devices, turned to social networks to get help.
Food Sharing Free Food group on VK (Russian Facebook) has 67k followers. Here is a few messages published by Novaya Gazeta, one of a handful independent publications that are still left in Russia.
Rita, 30 originally from Ufa. Lives in a rented apartment. Got fired in March. Embarrassed to ask for help from her VK account. “Hello everyone! I really want to eat. Maybe someone will share food with me? Moscow".
Alexander S. from St. Petersburg. Graduated from St. Petersburg State University in 2011. “Hello, I need food, I didn’t get paid at work. Thank you in advance.”
Irina A. from Moscow, a graduate of the University of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Two children, one of them has cancer. Her husband lost his job. The family will gladly accept baby food.
Tatyana I. from Saint Petersburg. Graduated from the National Institute of Physical Culture and Sports. Asks asks for food because she lost her job. She has a disabled brother and an elderly mother.
Sveta S. from Moscow. “I lost my job. I have no money to feed my child (4 years old) and pay for rent. I ASK TO HELP US WITH FOOD! Anyone!”
Marina S. from Moscow. Two children, pregnant with a third. Her husband has just left her. She is in a maternity hospital, where she ended up with a premature birth. Marina asks for food for them. She has a photo on her home page of herself in the uniform of a cashier lady of the recently closed food store chain. She lost her job shortly after the lockdown decree.
From a website launched in the midst of the pandemic to match food requests with food donors.
Ekaterina M. from Domodedovo. Her husband was left without work after the airport was closed. Their child is three years old. Asks for sausages, cheese, dairy products, yogurt for the child.
Svetlana F. from St. Petersburg. "My husband died in January. I’m alone. I was left without work."
Anna E. from from Saint Petersburg. Wasn’t paid at work. “I will be happy with any food.”
Irina G. from Saint Petersburg. “I worked as a florist. Now my store is closed. I have 32 rubles (25 cents) in my pocket. ”
Elena K. from Saint Petersburg. “Good afternoon, I live alone, I really need food. Maybe some vegetables. I will also be very grateful for the travel card, because I'm looking for a job."
In the midst of the pandemic, Mr. Putin showed up on TV to congratulate his citizens with the Easter holiday. He was all smiles, feeling rested after two months of doing sports and not traveling around the world.
What did overworked small business owners who were left with no support and hungry citizens who lost their work think about their well-rested leader?
To add insult to injury, Mr. Putin just had a referendum during the pandemic to extend his presidency for another 12 years.
Russian citizens need to understand clearly: they will have no support from the government for many years to come.
What is the meaning of life? Does my life make sense?