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Putin rues Soviet collapse as demise of ‘historical Russia’

President Vladimir Putin has lamented the collapse of the Soviet Union three decades ago as the demise of what he called “historical Russia” and said the economic crisis that followed was so bad he was forced to moonlight as a taxi driver.

Oct 5, 2010: A coup in 1991 caused President Mikhail Gorbachev to resign, resulting in the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union.

Putin’s comments, released by state TV on Sunday, are likely to further fuel speculation about his foreign policy intentions among his critics, who accuse him of planning to recreate the Soviet Union and of contemplating an attack on Ukraine, a notion the Kremlin has dismissed as fear-mongering.

“It was a disintegration of historical Russia under the name of the Soviet Union,” Putin said of the 1991 breakup, in comments aired on Sunday as part of a documentary film called “Russia. New History”, the RIA state news agency reported.

Putin also described for the first time how he was affected personally by the tough economic times that followed the Soviet collapse, when Russia suffered double-digit inflation.

“Sometimes (I) had to moonlight and drive a taxi. It is unpleasant to talk about this but, unfortunately, this also took place,” the president said.

Putin, who served in the Soviet-era KGB, has previously called the collapse of the Soviet Union, which was ruled from Moscow, as the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century, but his new comments show how he viewed it specifically as a setback for Russian power.

Ukraine was one of 15 Soviet republics and Putin used an article of more than 5,000 words published on the Kremlin website this year to set out why he believed Russia’s southern neighbour and its people were an integral part of Russian history and culture. This view is rejected by Kyiv as a politically motivated and over-simplified version of history.

Dec 12, 2021: Representatives from the G7 group of countries is wrapping up the second and final day of their summit in Liverpool, England. So far talks have been dominated by concerns Russia could be preparing to invade Ukraine. The G7 group, made up of Britain, Germany, France, the United States, Italy, Canada and Japan, has also been discussing greater independence from China and concerns over Iran’s nuclear program. The ministers have been trying to reach a consensus on a number of geopolitical rivalries.

The West has accused Russia of massing tens of thousands of troops near Ukraine in preparation for a possible attack as soon as January, and the Group of Seven wealthy democracies was set to warn Moscow on Sunday of massive consequences and severe costs if it attacked Ukraine. read more

The Kremlin has said Russia has no plans to launch a fresh attack on Ukraine and that the West appears to have convinced itself of Moscow’s aggressive intentions based on what it calls false Western media stories.

Mar 4, 2014: In which John discusses the crisis in Ukraine, and how the influence of Russia and Europe have shaped Ukrainian politics for centuries. (REMINDER: Educational videos are allowed to be more than four minutes long.)

Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014 and has backed separatists who took control of a swath of eastern Ukraine that same year and continue to fight Ukrainian government forces.


Published by amongthefray

News with a historical perspective. Fighting against misinformation, hate, and revisionist history.

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