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Russia: Delivering hard truths about hard times

Gone are the days when Russian leaders pretended that global crises could not affect us, said Mikhail Rostovsky in<strong> </strong><em>Moskovsky Komsomolets.</em>

Mikhail RostovskyMoskovsky Komsomolets

President Dmitri Medvedev is being refreshingly honest with the Russian people, said Mikhail Rostovsky. Gone are the days when Russian leaders pretended that global crises could not affect us. Now, “citizens are being told quite openly that many of them will have to accept lower living standards.” In a televised interview last week, Medvedev warned that Russians who find themselves out of work should not be ashamed to take “lower-status” jobs for less pay, if necessary. “It’s no fun to hear such things from the head of state.” But Russians can only welcome such “frankness,” because it means “the state has finally stopped treating its citizens like children who need to be protected from the facts of life.” In the past, what Russians heard their leaders say bore little resemblance to the reality they were living each day. We were used to the cognitive dissonance of hearing that we were a superpower even as we stood in bread lines. Medvedev’s candor is “an important step in the process of bringing two parallel universes closer together.”

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