Is Vladimir Putin good or bad? Well, that depends on who you talk to. Some Russians, young and old, believe he is bad for the economy, for the working class, and for Russia. One young person even told me she thought Putin was aggressive towards America and Europe.
Others love him, and still others like him but might disagree with some of his policies and political appointments.
Nobody I have met believes he is the richest man in the world (Forbes), and nobody believes he is wealthy. They all say that as president he has everything available to him: houses, planes, foods, body guards, etc.
While everyone says corruption is rampant in Russia, I haven’t met anyone who says Putin is dishonest or corrupt. They say Putin is trying to eliminate the corruption, but at lower levels of government across Russia, it is hardly possible.
He is described as a patriotic Russian, born in the Soviet Era in St. Petersburg, home to Russia’s intelligentsia. He combines traditional Russian values with a keen and open mind.
My perspective and point of view is simple and factual. Since 2000 when he first became president, Russia has risen from the ashes of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and is once again a formidable, sovereign nation economically and militarily. People are free to travel and come and go as they please. There is freedom of religion, freedom to speak as they think and please, freedom to emigrate.
Russia is a modern country with fast and cheap internet everywhere, really good highways, public transportation, high speed trains, and world class airlines.
You can get just about everything you want or need in Russia and in most cases much cheaper than in the US or EU.
Russia has no national debt since Putin became president. In fact, Russia has large gold and cash reserves.
As far as high tech military weaponry is concerned, Russia, according to many outside of Russia, is ten years ahead of the US! And Russia does it with a meager $65 Billion while America spends over $1 Trillion a year. Russia also has surpassed the US in getting to space. The US can no longer get to the International Space Station without Russia.
Russian churches have been and continue to be restored, some by order of Putin himself. Russia is a country of countless museums, monuments, statues and fountains, and parks.
While many bemoan the decline in the educational system, Russians, young and old I have met are clearly more educated and well-rounded than most Americans. Sadly, they have focused on national tests and therefore “teach to the tests.” A major complaint by teachers and many others.
Health care is free, but many Soviet Era people say it isn’t as good as before. That said, if I had an accident here, I would be treated for free. I’ve heard this from several US expats living here for years.
There’s more for sure, but this is just an overview of what has happened in Russia since the total collapse of the Soviet Union and the leadership of one Vladimir Putin. Hard to argue.