Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the collapse of the Soviet Union spelt the end of “historical Russia,” revealing he drove a taxi to make ends meet following the USSR’s fall.
Putin, a former agent of the Soviet Union’s KGB security services, who has previously lamented the USSR’s fall, said the disintegration 30 years ago remains a “tragedy” for “most citizens”.
The comments, reported by state-run news agency RIA Novosti on Sunday, were excerpts from an upcoming film by broadcaster Channel One, dubbed Russia. Recent History.
A loyal servant of the Soviet Union, Putin was dismayed when it fell apart, once calling the collapse “the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century”.
The end of the Union brought with it a period of intense economic instability that plunged many into poverty, as newly independent Russia transitioned from communism to capitalism.
RIA-Novosti, reporting from excerpts of the documentary, said Putin had revealed that he worked occasionally as a taxi driver to boost his income.
“Sometimes I had to earn extra money,” Putin said. “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.”