Vladimir Putin said he drove a taxi for extra cash after the Soviet Union’s fall

Vladimir Putin waves behind a car door.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin gets into a car after a summit with US President Joe Biden at the Villa La Grange.

  • Vladimir Putin said on Sunday he used to work as a taxi driver after the Soviet Union collapsed.
  • He lamented the 1991 fall of the USSR, saying it was a tragedy for Russians.
  • His remarks come amid growing fears that Russia is planning a military invasion of Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin lamented the fall of the Soviet Union and said he worked an extra job as a taxi driver after its collapse to make ends meet.

In a documentary aired Sunday by state media channel Russia 1, Putin described the USSR’s demise in 1991 as a “tragedy” for Russian citizens and the end of “historical Russia.” Excerpts of the documentary, titled “Russia. Recent History,” were published on the YouTube channel of state-owned outlet Russia 24.

“Sometimes I had to earn extra money,” Putin said. “I mean, earn extra money by car, as a private driver. It’s unpleasant to talk about, to be honest, but unfortunately, that was the case.”

Putin had previously hinted that in the late 1990s he considered working as a private driver, but his remarks on Sunday were his first public acknowledgment of taking on the additional gig.

Taxis were rare just after the break-up of the USSR, a time of economic instability for Russia, and some people would give rides to strangers for extra income, the BBC reported.

Putin, who worked his way up the political ladder after his career in the KGB intelligence services, has regularly voiced his regret of the fall of the USSR. He once said in 2018 that if he could reverse anything in Russia’s history, it would be the Union’s collapse.

His musings about the former USSR come amid growing concerns about a Russian military buildup on the Ukrainian border.

According to The New York Times, Russia has gathered nearly 100,000 troops just outside of Ukraine, stoking fears that Putin will launch a full-scale invasion that Ukrainian officials said they wouldn’t be able to withstand.

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