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Voices

“Nobody ever expected that the way out of communism would be painless, but perhaps nobody realized that it would be so painful.”

-- Alexander I. Solzhenitsyn, Nobel Prize-winning writer

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“People now laugh openly and steal openly. It’s less interesting.”

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-- Alexei I. Slapovsky, Saratov writer and dramatist

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“I don’t think a superpower is defined by the number of its missiles or tanks or the amount of steel cast, the standards we used to beat our chests with pride. A superpower is measured by what it gives its people.”

-- Andrei A. Laptev, former economics professor, now senior manager at pump factory in Saratov

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“The leaders don’t listen. The leaders don’t think about the people. They only think about themselves. So I don’t listen to them anymore. I’m sick of all this chaos, and I will put things right myself.”

-- Tatyana A. Yegorova, storeroom clerk, pump factory in Saratov

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“We are not desperate. People who do not know what to do are desperate. For people who do know, it’s easier to live.”

-- Natalya V. Shelegina, Volga Magazine editor

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“Why are these times so difficult? Because we have to decide everything for ourselves. In my day, we never had to figure out anything for ourselves. And this is painful. Freedom is a difficult thing. Not everyone can survive it.”

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-- Grigory A. Aredakov, Saratov actor

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“Until this very day, initiative is punished. People who take the initiative are not thought of well. I am conscious all the time, at the university, that I must show that I am not proud. It’s instinctive. I know one must be modest. If I had money, I would buy a second-hand Zhiguli (Russian-made car). I would feel more comfortable that way.”

-- Alexander A. Kreder, prize-winning historian, Saratov University

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“The most important thing to me is that my daughter live in a free country.”

-- Iolanta I. Kredera, his wife and director of the Saratov Planetarium


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