Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

The New Year Brings a New Crop of Cares

The new year has brought little relief to most Russians. The change in government has intensified concerns about the future of the reforms - some fearing a change in course, others hoping for it.


Everyone seems obsessed with making money, and the market is spreading into some unlikely areas. As A. Maksimov of Moscow writes to Kuranty: "A few days ago I went into my neighborhood post office to send a package. But instead of the shipping department I was greeted by rows of foreign liqueurs and cigarettes. It seems that the postal workers have opened a store. and they told me quite rudely to take my package and go someplace else".


Seventy-five years of propaganda have taken their toll, and many people cannot reconcile themselves to the rise of capitalism. As another Muscovite, I. Antonova, puts it in a letter to the nationalist newspaper Soviyetskaya Rossiya:


"If reforms do not improve life for the majority of people, shouldn't they be reconsidered? Let us recall why the people supported perestroika in the first place. It was supposed to bring the rebirth of social justice, not the rebirth of capitalism! Workers can barely make ends meet, industry is suffocating under the burden of taxes, and only the price scalper is prospering".


But some are willing to go through tough times in the hopes of a better tomorrow. 0. Altukhova of Moscow writes to Izvestia:


"This past year was extremely difficult for us all. I understand that the road to reform is not strewn with rose petals. But my family, and everyone I associate with, were ready to go through these hardships for the sake of our children, and for our own sakes. We felt quite clearly that there would be no more eternal quests for unavailable items, no more senseless and practically unpaid labor with no prospects and no independence".


Referring to former acting Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar, she added: "We thank Gaidar for beginning the reforms, and for everything he managed to do. We only have one hope now: that the process he began is irreversible".


Another Izvestia reader, L. Alshits of Borovichi, in the Leningrad region, sounds a refreshing note:


"We are constantly being told that there will be rich and poor once again. This is supposed to frighten us. But this is the normal state of society. I have always been poor. But that is nobody's fault but my own: I am impractical, with absolutely no talent for making money But why should somebody else with more energy, who can and wants to make money, have to live the same way as I do? The wealth of the society begins with the wealth of its individual citizens. The more rich families we have, the faster the society as a whole will get rich, and we'll all be better off".