Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has a video conference call with participants in a plenary session of the 2021 Russia Calling! VTB Capital Investment Forum.
Mikhail Metzel | TASS | Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that he resorted to moonlighting as a taxi driver to make ends meet in 1990s, following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Putin was discussing the economic crisis that Russia suffered following the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 in comments aired Sunday on a TV documentary called “Russia. Recent History.”
He described the collapse of the USSR as a “disintegration of historical Russia,” according to a Reuters report.
Putin said Russia “turned into a completely different country” after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. He said that 25 million Russian people were suddenly cut off from Russia, which represented part of “a major humanitarian crisis.”
In addition, Putin said that he was personally affected by Russia’s economic troubles at the time. Russia suffered from hyperinflation in the 1990s and subsequently defaulted on debt later on that decade.
Putin reportedly said: “Sometimes [I] had to moonlight and drive a taxi. It is unpleasant to talk about this but, unfortunately, this also took place.” He had worked as an agent for the Soviet Union’s KGB security service.
Putin has previously called the collapse of the Soviet Union the “greatest geopolitical tragedy” of the 20th century.
These latest comments come as concerns mount that Russia will invade Ukraine, which was one of 15 Soviet republics. The G-7 warned on Sunday of “massive consequences” if Putin attacked Ukraine.
U.S. intelligence has indicated that Russia could be planning to launch an attack on Ukraine as early as next year, involving up to 175,000 troops, Reuters reported.