A Letter from the Dacha

Like Muscovites, I spend this summer at the dacha. In 2022, more people than in previous years will be resting in our village, located near the former Obiralovka Junction, where Lev Tolstoy threw Anna Karenina under a train (women leave bouquets on the memorial plaque on the platform, thinking Anna is Anna. a real victim of unhappy love and not a fictional character). One reason why so many people is the development of the Internet; Many people continue to work remotely, which they started doing during the pandemic. In addition, almost everyone who normally vacations abroad will spend the summer of 2022 in Russia due to international sanctions.

The “special operation” in Ukraine that began on February 24 has greatly changed the lives of Russians, especially members of the middle class, intellectuals, and people who worked in the government.

When Western sanctions were imposed on Russia, almost all major international companies and their subsidiaries left the country, leaving thousands of professionals without work. Russian experts, doctors, musicians, and athletes are being expelled from international clubs and universities and banned from concerts and competitions, while at the same time colleges and universities have closed with Russian educational institutions in international cooperation programs and student exchanges. The iron curtain fell heavily from both sides. The new laws and regulations made it impossible to discuss politics in public, and all independent media were closed or decided to close.

The list of “foreign agents” was often expanded to include new names of journalists and human rights activists—a process aided by protests from “citizens,” a forgotten Soviet practice. long. According to data from human rights organizations, by mid-summer nearly 200 online and offline public websites were banned and more than 150 criminal cases and more than 200 Administrative case initiated under new laws on whistleblowing and defamation of the military. Thousands of activists, journalists, and information experts have left the country, finding themselves in a difficult, untenable situation: Russian banks are under As punishment, they cannot use their credit cards or transfer money from Russia. At the same time, people in small towns or poor areas, or those who work for the state, or those who don’t go out or care about politics don’t know. see important changes. Prices have gone up, but not by much. Poor families and small pensioners (but known to them) received state grants and other benefits. It should be said that in Russia there are very different sources of information, even other blocked resources, through the easy access of a virtual private network (VPN rights are free and not criminal – the will be punished as the publication of sensitive information). But far from all are interested in other ideas.

This spring, authors Natalya Zabarevich and Yevgeny Gonmakher predicted that “special action” and sanctions will affect the middle class, educated, and pro-West. The poor will remain poor, while the rich and the rulers will continue in their positions. The founder of the Yabloko page, Grigory Yavlinsky, pointed out the danger of economic growth. Today it seems that class differences are important. Three strata of society live in different worlds, experiencing events in their own way.

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