In every direct line of Vladimir Putin, critics find something to cling to – this time the main reason was the quality of the connection. Video calls (via a special application) were sometimes hard to hear, sometimes the connection was cut off – this is all for a reason, it is very symbolic: the authorities have a problem with communication with the people! Although in reality the format of the direct line itself has changed – and there were not only questions or video messages recorded in advance by phone, but also direct video calls to the studio. And without any intermediaries, as before, when journalists from different parts of the country were taken live on air. So the emerging obstacles are now much more appropriate to interpret as debugging a new mechanism for direct communication between Putin and the people – and not a lack of communication.
The main topic of conversation, of course, was the pandemic and vaccination – and here Putin patiently explained his position. Yes, he is still against compulsory vaccination – but he encourages people to get vaccinated. And he reminds that, according to the law, in the event of an epidemic, the heads of regions can introduce mandatory vaccination for certain categories of citizens, especially those from risk groups – which they do. Yes, vaccination does not give a 100% guarantee against infection – but in this case, the disease will pass easier and without consequences. Yes, it is better for people with chronic diseases to consult with their doctor before vaccination – and it is illegal to threaten them with dismissal for refusing the vaccination for medical reasons (this is how Putin commented on the situation with one of the Moscow teachers).
At the same time, Putin acknowledged that we, like the rest of the world, have many anti-vaccines. But he advised everyone to listen to specialists, and not to those who understand little and use rumors. The president was particularly struck by the theory of a worldwide conspiracy:
“You know, I’ve heard so many things: that there is nothing, in fact, no epidemic exists. I sometimes look at how people speak. It seems like adults, educated. I don’t know where they get this from. When you say that this is happening all over the world, – “yes, the leaders of the countries have agreed.” They generally understand what is happening in the world, in what conditions the world is living today, where did they take, gather and conspire? This is nonsense. “
At the same time, it does not even matter whether the virus is of artificial or non-artificial origin, Putin said – the question is, how to protect yourself from this? Especially for people at risk. “It is dangerous, life-threatening, and the vaccine is not dangerous,” the president repeated, noting that he had been vaccinated with the Sputnik V vaccine (but at the same time he told about the safety and high quality of our other drugs). The usual topics of direct lines were not forgotten – infrastructure and housing and communal services, garbage reform and gasification, price increases and various benefits. They love to criticize Putin for having to solve minor everyday issues. But the president all the time emphasizes that the straight line makes it possible to collect information about what worries people, what problems they have, to conduct a huge sociological survey in terms of coverage. For one problem solved live by the president, there are thousands of similar ones, which are then dealt with by local authorities and federal departments. Moreover, it is under the control both from above and from below, from the side of social activists.
And this time there were very few international topics – but the answers were far from formal. The recent British provocation near the Crimea has raised concerns, voiced in one of the questions: were we on the verge of a third world war? No, of course, Putin cut it off, but made an important clarification:
“Even if we sunk this ship, it would still be difficult to imagine that the world would be on the brink of a third world war, because those who do this know that they cannot emerge victorious from this war. This is a very important thing. …
I don’t think that we too would be happy about this development of events that you are talking about, but at least we know what we are fighting for: we are fighting for ourselves, for our future on our territory. It was not we who came to them thousands of kilometers away, flew in or came by water, it was they who approached our borders and violated our territorial sea, and this is an essential element in this whole structure. “
At the same time, Putin stressed that we are worried not only about such provocations, but also another, more fundamental thing:
“Namely, the beginning of the military development of Ukrainian territory. According to the Constitution of Ukraine, there can be no foreign military bases there. You can create training centers, you can create some other, use other forms. The military development of the territory that directly borders on us creates for us significant problems in the security sphere. This already really concerns the vital interests of the Russian Federation and the people of Russia. Of course, this is causing concern, and we must think about it. “
This is not the first time Putin has reminded the West of our red lines on the Ukrainian issue – to the West, not to Kiev, which “has given its country under full external control”:
“The key issues of the life of Ukraine are being resolved not in Kiev, but in Washington, partly in Berlin and Paris.”
However, Putin does not equate the Kiev government with the Ukrainian people. On the contrary, he again – and in great detail – explained his position on Russians and Ukrainians:
“Why is Ukraine not included in the list of unfriendly countries? Beca-use I do not believe that the Ukrainian people are unfri-endly to us. I have already said this many times, I can repeat again: I believe that Ukrainians and Russians are generally one people.
Look: Jews come to Israel from Africa, from Europe, from other countries of the world. Here from Africa in general black people come, right? People come from Europe – they speak Yiddish, not Hebrew. It seems they are not alike, but all the same, the Jewish people value their unity. Why go far, to Israel? We have such a people, one of the indigenous peoples of Russia, like, say, the Mordovians. There is Erzya, Moksha, then there are, in my opinion, Shoksha, three more groups, but they all consider themselves Mordvinians, Mordvins. They speak, in general, in the language of the same group, but still Erzya and Moksha do not even understand each other. Their language differs more from each other than Russian and Ukrainian, but they value their unity.
Why? For several reasons. First, they are smart and understand that fragmentation does not lead to anything good, it just relaxes the ethnic group. Fur-ther: there are external factors. What do I mean? The Russian people have always tried to pull apart and split up, this has been going on since the Middle Ages, from the Common-wealth, because Poland its-elf wanted to become a great power, so it tried to split everyone around, ev-eryone around. And then it was picked up by Austria-Hungary on the eve of the First World War. But we ha-ve to understand this in general. How was the ethnic component interpreted in our country? There were Great Russians, Belorussi-ans and Little Russians. Then, under the influence of external factors, and then the Bolsheviks made their contribution, we began to sort of divide the single Russian people. “
Putin promised to write a special article on this topic, stressing once again that he does not consider the Ukrainian people unfriendly: “No, nothing like that. We are a single whole. Here is the leadership of Ukraine, today’s leadership of today’s Ukraine, is clearly unfriendly to us.” And he criticized the draft law on indigenous peoples submitted to the Rada by Zelen-sky, equating it with weap-ons of mass destruction:
“Well, this is generally just incomprehensible to the mind. You see, from time immemorial Russian people lived here, and now they are declared non-indigenous there. What will this lead to? This will lead to the fact that some of the people can leave. But where to go? An apartment, work and Then they will have to correspond, becau-se they feel like second-class people. This will lead to a reduction in the total number of Russians. You know, this is comparable in its negative consequences with the use of some kind of weapon of mass destruction. This is a serious matter. practical, real life. “
Putin has repeatedly returned to the theme of the unity of the Russian and Ukrainian peoples – and it is clear that the restoration of the union of the two-united people is the most important task for him. But not in the form of a new USSR – Putin also spoke on this topic, calling the restoration of the Union senseless, impossible and even inexpedient:
“Bearing in mind the demographic processes in some republics of the former Soviet Union. Other-wise, we may face social issues that will be impossible to resolve, and even some issues of erosion of such a state-forming ethnic nucleus.” It is clear that the president was referring to the demographic growth in Central Asia – in the event of unification with which in the “new USSR,” the Russians risk eventually becoming a minority in it. This does not negate the need to build and strengthen the Eurasian Union, nor to restore the historical unity of the Great Russians and Little Russians, that is, Russians and Ukrainians. After all, this is what Putin said about a single people, ending his straight line:
“The main gold reserves of Russia are people. Our people, the multinational Russian people, are highly spiritual, with deep historical and cultural roots. This is always important, in the modern world it becomes doubly important.
The future of the whole world and mankind is connected with high technologies, sciences such as genetics, biology, technologies in the field of artificial intelligence and disciplines at the intersection of these areas. And 60 percent of parents in our country would like their children to work in the field of science, although this area does not bring much income, as in This says a lot, this attitude to scientific knowledge is our colossal competitive advantage.
And if we can ensure internal stability, which they are trying to shake from the outside, if we can achieve this internal stability, then success is inevitable. Then we will be able to say with full justification and pride that we live in a state that is internally attractive in order to live here. We live in a country that we consider great. In my opinion, this is important, this is the inner feeling of citizens, the inner attitude towards Russia is important, in itself it is an important guarantee that Russia will achieve all the goals that it sets for itself. “