Putin: Breakup of Soviet Union was ‘disintegration of historical Russia’

Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed he worked as a taxi driver in the 1990s following the breakup of the Soviet Union, which he described as the demise of “historical Russia.”

Discussing the economic crisis in post-Soviet Russia as part of a documentary called “Russia. New History” which aired Sunday, Putin said it “turned into a completely different country,” Reuters reported.

He said the fall of the USSR three decades ago remained a “tragedy” for “most citizens.”

“After all, what is the collapse of the Soviet Union? This is the collapse of historical Russia under the name of the Soviet Union,” Putin said.

He also opened up about how the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 affected him. Putin said he briefly worked as a taxi driver and said “Sometimes I had to earn extra money.”

“I mean, earn extra money by car, as a private driver. It’s unpleasant to talk about to be honest, but unfortunately that was the case,” Putin added. 

His comments come as concerns mount that Russia will invade Ukraine, which was one of 15 Soviet republics. The countries in the Group of 7 large economies — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. — released a statement on Sunday condemning Russia’s threatening actions at the Ukraine border.

U.S. intelligence has shown that Russia is ready to invade Ukraine from multiple locations with a buildup of troops and artillery along the border, but officials say it’s uncertain whether Putin actually intends to invade. 

Although Russia’s military has gathered some 90,000 troops near the Ukrainian border, Moscow maintains that it will not invade Ukraine unless “provoked” — and has said Ukraine joining NATO is a red line.  

Tags Russia Vladimir Putin

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