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#4 - JRL 7175
BBC Monitoring
Politician says Putin reflects Russian society warts and all
Source: Ekho Moskvy news agency, Moscow, in Russian 0826 gmt 7 May 20

To preserve his power, Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to match people's mentality by reflecting society "warts and all". This is what the leader of the Democratic Choice party, Valeriya Novodvorskaya, said in an interview to Ekho Moskvy radio station, describing Putin's work as head of state on the third anniversary of his inauguration.

"Putin would be different if our people were different," Novodvorskaya believes. "Putin has merely matched the image people wanted to see. Hence the catchphrases about zapping them Chechen rebels in the latrines and hence the restoration of the Soviet national anthem," she said.

Novodvorskaya believes that "Putin is just a mechanism for showing all the ills and defects among the population". "Yeltsin did not allow this to be too apparent, because at the beginning he did not want to accept how bad people are: he was busy dishing out freedom by the handful and bringing down walls between Russia and Europe. And when it was clear that people did not wish to use all that, then the backtracking started: Yegor Gaydar was sacked from the government and the 1994 Chechen war started," she said.

"Anyway, Yeltsin had personality: he was not prepared to mirror the people. But Putin is keen to do that just to hold on to power".

Novodvorskaya is convinced that the present state policy is shaped by the population's mentality. The war in Chechnya continues because "people want to fight"; the move over to contract army service has not been successful because "there are still people who agree to be drafted and serve in this army"; the wages of teachers and medics are so low because they are "ready to work for them".

"You have your neck, and you get a collar. Putin is the collar for this stupid people with forever bowed necks ".

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