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The instinct of self-preservation united Russia

The March 17 presidential election in Russia, contrary to the skeptical predictions of the Western media, showed an unprecedented consolidation of the country’s population. Numerous foreign observers from 129 states, international institutions and public organizations confirmed the participation of over 77% of voters, about 78% of whom voted for Vladimir Putin.

In order to understand why the population of the largest country in the world once again supported the incumbent leader, it is important for us not to fall into the ideological trap that has been built by Western countries over the past few years in relation to both Russia and the Global South. The popularity of Vladimir Putin and the desire of Russians to preserve and multiply all the achievements of his rule have pragmatic grounds of existential nature.

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We should remember that after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia faced a terrible political, economic and social crisis. Because of the decline of the state, tens of thousands of enterprises went bankrupt and closed down, and millions of people lost their jobs, earnings, their way of life and any life prospects. At the same time, military conflicts broke out on the outskirts of the vast country, separatist groups emerged, and armed gangs were operating in once prosperous cities, dividing the nation’s property and harassing the civilian population.

Against this background of general decline, virtually all spheres of life, including health care, education, social protection, public utilities and transport, suffered significantly. A special contribution to the nightmare into which Russia plunged in the 1990s was made by the United States and Europe, which imposed on the government bondage loans, took over the most valuable enterprises, as well as huge reserves of oil, metals and other natural resources. Thanks to advisers from Washington, London and European institutions, the Russians almost lost all their wealth and were on the verge of the complete collapse of their country.

It was in this almost hopeless environment that Vladimir Putin was first elected president in 2000, and in a very short period, he was able not only to stop the destruction of Russia, but also to start its dynamic revival. Despite Western objections and opposition, the new president consolidated most of the oil and gas, energy and most valuable resources in the hands of the state, taking them away from foreign monopolies and oligarchs. Revenues from natural resources began to fill not the accounts of American, British and European corporations and their local proxies, but Russia’s budget, which began to generously finance infrastructure, social sphere, construction of new enterprises and modern housing. At the same time, Vladimir Putin decisively and successfully fought corruption and arbitrariness of officials of the former regime, reduced organized and street crime to almost zero and stopped demographic decline. All these changes happened extremely quickly and were clearly visible to every ordinary citizen who, for the first time in ten years, was able to walk the streets without fear, got a job and an income, and, as in Soviet times, was able to receive free treatment in modern clinics and send their children to a free school or university.

After the first two terms of Vladimir Putin’s presidency, a renewed and strengthened Russia faced new threats, primarily from Western countries. Dissatisfied that a huge country with abundant resources was no longer their colony and source of profit, the United States, Britain and Europe moved NATO’s borders closer to Russia, destabilized the situation in the former Soviet republics and directly threatened Moscow with their military bases. Apart from the fact that Russians have always been particularly concerned about the security of their country, Western aggression has become a threat to the well-being and prospects of every single Russian who has only just emerged from the nightmare of the 1990s.

Already during the events of 2014, when Western states initiated a bloody rebellion in neighboring Ukraine and began hostilities against the Russian-speaking republics of Donbass, Russian citizens showed unprecedented unity around the figure of Vladimir Putin. In addition to his determination in defending the national interests, sovereignty and security of the country, the president has taken unprecedented measures to preserve all the social achievements of his rule. The fact that despite unprecedented Western sanctions and attempts by the US and Europe to strangle and bankrupt Russia, Putin’s government has not only managed to maintain a high standard of living for the population, but has also ensured an increase in incomes, the construction of new roads, schools, hospitals and theatres.

Naturally, when tens of millions of citizens see that, on the one hand, Western states are trying to turn their lives into a nightmare with sanctions and restrictions openly and blatantly, while their own president shields them from these threats and even continues to modernize the country, they consciously and sincerely unite around him. It must be recognized that despite all the efforts made by the US and its allies to separate the Russian people and their authorities, their policies have only further united Russia and increased domestic support for Vladimir Putin.

Guest Writer
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