“Russia is very poorly understood in Europe”, says a Frenchman who lives in Moscow

Aurélien* has lived in Moscow for more than 20 years. According to him, Western countries tend to forget one thing: in the minds of Russians, Vladimir Putin is the one who put the country back on track. “Even though today he is a tired man, who is beginning to show signs of weakness, and he is becoming a more precise dictator than he was at the beginning, he still has a certain popularity rating. ”

>> War in Ukraine: follow the evolution of the situation live

If no one can agree to a war, he adds, this entrepreneur is trying to understand Vladimir Putin’s reasons.

“It hurts the heart, it’s unthinkable, but I think he was pushed to the limit and at one point he said to himself: ‘Well you didn’t listen to me, I told you that I I would, well I’m doing it now!'”

Aurélien*, French in Moscow

at franceinfo

Alexis Saporta has two companies in Moscow, which he has been developing for six years. And he makes the following observation:Russia is very misunderstood in Europe. What bothers me is the fact that it’s Manichean: it’s all white or all black, when in reality it’s not the case.” And he describes rather complex relationships in his relations with the Russians.

“While some Russians I know are clearly against this conflict, they at the same time have a deep respect for their country. So if we start to criticize, they are a little bit angry, so I avoid the subject.”

Alexis Saporta, French in Moscow

at franceinfo

And beware of sanctions against Russia which could be counter-productive for Western countries, Aurélien believes. “It risks being completely the opposite! That is to say that Europeans say to themselves: the more we will do Russophobia, the more we will handicap them, because they will no longer be able to participate in the Paralympic Olympiads, etc. The more we do this, the more the Russians will say to themselves: it’s because of Putin, we have to overthrow power!In fact no, the Russians will say to themselves: the Europeans are laughing at us, they are preventing us from doing things completely absurd, we’ll show them!”

And too bad if French companies pack up, continues Aurélien. The Russians will do without, and the country’s economic activity will eventually pick up again.

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