Russian journalist Andrey Loshak and the crew of "Dozhd" TV channel tried to understand what is happening in Russia today. Reporters made a 12-day trip from St. Petersburg to the capital. They chose Alexander Radishchev's guidebook "Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow", which was written in the late XVIII century.
Life along the federal highway connecting the two richest cities in Russia, over the past 200 years, essentially has not changed, though, it become more modern. There is cow parsnip growing in the fields, ruins are everywhere, abandoned factories, neglected farms, people can barely make ends meet. Life is hard, but the inhabitants of the provinces trust television and propaganda and are grateful to Putin for an allowance to the minimum wage of one thousand rubles (about $ 15), deny the value of civil liberties and do not want to change anything.
All travel notes Loshak gathered in the six-part documentary movie "Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow. Special Way", which premiered on the Russian "Dozhd" TV channel on New Year's Eve.
TV shows news of Donbass but it doesn't show how lives
- Andrey, why did you decide to go on the pass of Radishchev from St. Petersburg to Moscow?
- The spirit of the work and my current sense of self are largely coincided.
Radishchev was a man of liberal, had critical views of what is happening in the empire. Exactly at that moment, there was an active expansion to the south and west - the
Here much coincided: the Radishchev's views and conventional audience of "Dozhd", that chooses not the third, not special, but the European way of development, the Maidan and the accession of the Crimea, patriotic enthusiasm and the search for domestic enemies in
The main motivation for me was the fact that
- Has the situation with freedom of speech for 200 years in Russia changed?
- There is no need in censorship! Editor in chief of the city newspaper said that they should have 70% of the good news. Where did she get this norm? She does not know. Perhaps somebody said that at City Hall, or maybe it was her initiative. Chief Editor explained me: I was milking cows with my own hands, was plowing the land, from the 60s was working in the newspaper and has earned this chair, God forbid you to hold so long in "Dozhd". That means that she is for the sake of this place is ready to change beliefs.
The ancient city is falling apart. 1200 historic buildings, only 10 of them were restored. In the "first aid" there are no doctors and drivers. There is only ne brigade for the entire area. There are illion problems, but they have always good news.
- There is a moment where your companion says: I thought you were normal, but you work for "Dozhd". There were a lot of negative moments in dealing with people?
- When I worked at NTV, there was another problem. We were perceived as a source of scandal, and then it was a whole new feeling for me – I clearly felt the result of propaganda. When I said that I represented "Dozhd" TV channel, people looked at me sharply ... I think, in 1930s the Soviet people looked at the same way at foreigners – with suspicious. There was a farmer who refused to talk. There were also ractions like: we do not trust you, but we'll talk. However no one was watching "Dozhd".
Locals support all the stereotypes of propaganda. But when the war in
came to them in the form of refugees they began to resent Ukraine
- In different cities and towns you questioned people about their lives. They somehow moved the discussion of personal problems to the subject of Ukraine and the Orange Revolution. Why are they so interested in the neighboring country? Why the interest is even stronger then the interest to their own life?
- In fact, many Russians do not understand what is happening in
Mother of many children told us that she is paid 1 thousand rubles a month for her five children - about $ 3 per child. Clearly, she feels irritated when the newcomers of
Locals support all the stereotypes of propaganda. But when the war in
- The feeling of resentment causes aggression, people are angry?
- There are quite a lot of sane people. The stronger the people abandoned, the farther the village is from the federal highway, the greater the understanding of life. The propaganda doesn't harm them. These people are left to themselves, they could affect the situation, and they do not want to. They survive in extreme conditions and do not have any illusions.
I talked to people to understand what they have in their heads. Why a woman loves Putin, though is standing near the destroyed fence, drinking water from contaminated wells, lives with stove heating, although there is the Gazprom pipe to
- So far, for 200 years the Russian people did not become free, they still need a strong hand that will show them the right path?
- I do not want to say that people are mindless sheeple, but most of them do not have a culture of perception. We go through an endless circle, when the state subdues people to its interests, and the government freeloads.
Formally, people are free. They do not have a host, like slaves. But it is a bad freedom, in the sense that they are not wanted, left to themselves, as stray dogs.
1990 for them is a complete hell. During that time the villages, small towns, the industry were completely smashed. Everything turned into a huge cemetery, abandoned farms, buildings and dead plants are everywhere. People were shocked by the democracy that was in
I've been to many places in
and have not seen a thriving village. Decay and despair is everywhere Russia
- The region you were driving through is located between two of the richest cities in the country. Why are people so poor there and live in such horrible conditions?
- I had a discussion with journalist of "Pervyi" TV Channel. He believes that the capitals like powerful funnel suck all the life out of these areas. I've been to many places in
In the Soviet era at least the idea was defuned, but now it is not clear why we should stand it. o that Putin and his friends could feel comfortable in the Kremlin? ..
Enterprising people were first to realize it. They want to follow the path of progress. The record outflow of capital from
Our authorities violated the tacit agreement, which was concluded with the advent of Putin: I'm taking out liberties, but I give you the opportunity to earn, we will quietly do our job, but you will get something, loans, for example. It was clear rule for the people. Due to the underdevelopment of civil consciousness, people went for it. Russians have sold the freedom.
Oil rents gave and give the possibility of the existence of such a hopeless, but wildly ambitious state with imperial complexes
I think it will be a very tough year. The entire economy lived on Western loans. Now there is the regime of sanctions. The financial system will be crashed, then - the industry one that took loans from banks, and then – the people who are impoverished and unable to pay the loans. And you should thank only one person.
Putin's power is absolutely uncontrollable. He lost his mind.
The conflict in the Donbass is a logical continuation of the annexation of the
- Radischev in his book predicted the revolution. You went on his route, talked to people, saw their lives with your own eyes. Do you think there is a possibility for Russians revolution, or at least a drastic change?
- If oil goes up, this regime will continue its existence. Oil rents gave and give the possibility of the existence of such a hopeless, but wildly ambitious state with imperial complexes.
If low oil prices remain for more than a year, we can get a serious shock. People will wake up, because there will be simply nothing to eat, when the state ceases to perform its obligations.
There is an opinion of the Russian people that we can suffer for a long time, but our indignation is terrible. Russians revolt, senselessly and mercilessly. Personally, I believe that the Russian revolt can be quite meaningful, and not bloodthirsty. It is obvious that the current regime is incapable for dialogue, and therefore, we cannot hope for the peaceful evolution of government.