Had an amazing seven days with amazing people.
This was my seventh time in Russia and one of the things I always ask the Russians I meet is the question, "Was life better for you during the Soviet days or today?"
To my surprise almost everyone I meet tell me that life was better under the Soviet days.
To a westerner and an American who values freedom this answer is shocking.
One would think everyone would say that life is better now.
I mean just look around...
- No more lines waiting for food
- There are dozens of different types of breads, milk, cheese, fruits, etc. to choose from where as before there were limited selections
- People are free to travel as they please
- There are signs of development everywhere - new buildings, new cars, new shopping centers
- There is religious freedom
So how can Russian Christians say that life was better under the communists? They most likely wouldn't even be Christians under communist Russia.
One of the things that is difficult to understand is the disparity between the tiny percentage of the rich in Russia and the rest of the country. The rich in Russia are rich beyond measure. But the rich represent just a tiny portion of the population. There is a growing middle class, but even the middle class represents a small portion of the population. Most of the people are poor. And the disparity between the rich, the middle class, and the poor are so vast.
Most of the Russians are having difficulty making ends meet. Sure, there are way more choices in the food and goods available but only if you have the money.
In the communist days, people had to wait in line for limited selections of bread and milk, but they all had bread and milk.
Today, there are dozens of breads and cheeses available and there are no lines...but only if you have the money. And most Russians are struggling to make the ends meet.
Things are improving. I have been going to Russia for about ten years now. I can see improvements and change every time I go. I just pray that change is happening quickly enough.