I recently came across a thread at 4Chan / Pol, 'How do we make Russia great again?', started by a well-educated Russian poster living in rather impoverished circumstances.
I just spend 1/10 of my month salary to buy food for a couple of days. I work as an engineer in a water supply company.
(You can click on this link to read the post, but after one week, a thread on 4Chan is deleted, so it won't be there for very long).
Putinistas, and Putin's hired propaganda troll army, didn't put in an appearance in this thread, which is what makes it so valuable; we hear, from ordinary Russians, what life in Russia under Little Vladimir Putin is actually like. Yekaterinburg sounds particularly bad:
>What about everything East of the Urals?
The only places that are not totally bad are Moscow and St.-Petersburg. Ekaterinburg, probably the third largest city, is a polluted criminal shithole with like 3 subway stations and broken roads in the city center. The rest is worse.
The cops are universally as bad as criminals. Medicine outside Moscow and St.-Petersburg is utter shit, and inside it's mostly pretty bad. The median wage is like $4000/year. The economy outside pumping oil is virtually non-existent. And so on, and so forth - you probably get the idea.
A picture can speak a thousand words, and in this thread, we have plenty of pictures, which don't exactly give a positive impression:
The Soviet satirist Alexander Zinoviev wrote a book called Homo Sovieticus (1986), which Tomislav Sunic summarises here. According to Zinoviev, you find laziness, slothfulness, at the heart of Soviet communism. When people think of communism, they think of gulags, famines, purges, five-year plans and the rest, but really they should associate it with a certain mode of life - one which entails mediocrity, slothfulness and taking it easy. Workers in communist countries receive half the pay as their counterparts in the West, but do half the work; you can't be fired from a job and you can't be unemployed (at least not for long). You receive very little, but you learn to make do - and enjoy life - with very little.
The Slavic mentality - in particular, the Russian mentality - finds this way of life congenial. Stagnation - especially under Brezhnev - reigned, but to a citizen of the USSR, that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. Russians have always had a reputation for slovenliness, laziness and complacency, even before the advent of Bolshevism, and in 2016, they are more or less the same people as they were a hundred, two hundred, years ago.
Some ambitious Russians seek to escape 'Russianism' by fleeing the country; others stay and achieve spectacular success, mainly through graft and kickbacks. Little Putin - who is one of the richest men in the world, if not the richest - provides an example of the latter. Here you can see his palaces, super yachts, air fleets and watches.
After reading that 4Chan post, I actually feel a little sympathy for Putin, who grew up in impoverished circumstances and whose family shared communal housing with ten families. Any intelligent and ambitious person would want to pull themselves out of the Russian mire by any means necessary - even if that means stealing from one's own people, as Putin does.