Staunton, July 7 -- In November 1935, on the eve of the Great Terror, Stalin declared that “life has become better, life has become happier,” a turn of phrase that soon appeared throughout the Soviet Union even though it was a description of exactly the opposite of what in fact was going on. Tragically, something similar appears to be happening under Putin.
At a time when the ruble is collapsing, government budgets are increasingly out of balance, and Russians are facing food stores and difficulties in getting medical care, Moscow has launched a program to create Councils on Issues of Improving the Lives of Citizens – that is, to improve the quality of their lives.
The NeMoskva portal headlines this effort with the fateful words, “With each passing day, it is becoming ever more joyous to live!” – words that many Russians will certainly link to those used by Stalin almost 90 years ago and that presaged nothing of the sort (nemoskva.net/s-kazhdym-dnem-vse-radostnee-zhit/).
As was the case in the 1930s, Moscow propagandists are beating the drums to claim that the formation of these bodies shows that things really are becoming “better” and people “happier.” But unlike in the 1930s, there are a few remaining independent analysts who are suggesting that these bureaucratic devices aren’t likely to help anyone except officials.
Nemoskva quotes three from the North Caucasus republics, and they are unanimous in doubting that these councils will do anything to improve the standard of living of those living within the borders of the Russian Federation.