.Spend 6 months living on minimum wage in Hazard Kentucky and I am sure you will find there are parts of Russia that wouldn't seem that bad by comparison...
LOL. Dude, you have no idea where I've been and what I have seen and where I lived.
Your Hazard Kentucky would be a paradise compared to where I came from.
Do people in Hazard have running water? Do they have hot water? Can they take shower daily? When they go to the store do they see empty shelves? Can they buy toilet paper?
I grew up in the small town pop 30,000. My family finally got a one-bedroom apartment for 5 of us on the 5th floor and no elevator. The pumps in the water tower were not powerful enough and we would get water only at night. So we would fill up bath tub at night and use that water during the day for cooking, washing hands, and flushing toilet with a bucket. Every weekend we would go to public bath to wash ourselves. The bath house had long stone benches, you would pick up zinc basin, fill it up with water, put it on the bench and wash yourself. Bath house had an old, dark, and dirty sauna but it was the highlight of the bath trip. I still miss russian sauna.
We had black and white TV with 2 channels and that was in 80s. How many TV channels you had in Hazard in the 80s?
We used newspapers and magazines because toilet paper was never to be found in the whole town. Could you buy toilet paper in Hazard in the 80's?
People had to travel several hours to the nearest big city to get most of the goods, clothing, and food such as sausage and fish. There was decent fresh food at the wet market but it was very expensive and we could only buy small amounts every week.
The school had a single bathroom outside. It was just wide open concrete slab with 5-6 holes in it. The sight and smell was something else, esp in the winter where you had to be very careful not to slip on the yellow ice and not step on the piles of shit. Have you had such a gem in Hazard?
So we lived like this for 12 years. And it was considered decent because smaller towns or villages had it much worse. Iguana is absolutely correct. The country side was developing painfully slow and looked dilapidated almost everywhere. It was everyone's dream to get out of this shit hole and relocate to a bigger city preferably Moscow or St. Petersburg. But we did not have much freedom of movement. It was incredibly difficult to change towns. You could not register your new address unless you had a work in the new town. And you could not get a work in the new town unless you register your address there.
We got lucky and moved to the US in 92. We had no money and spoke no language. Immediately we went to work for a minimum wage (4.25/h I still remember) during the day and in the evening we studied. And you telling me about Hazard. Can we stop this conversation now?
Of course it gotten much better since 80's and 90's but people have good memories and up to this day given the chance would trade countryside for a big city without much hesitation. That's why there is no such thing as small family farmers in Russia. I am not saying they do not exist, they do, it's just there is so few of them that fact can be safely ignored.
It was really brutal starting around 88, 89, and all throughout 90s. Starting with 2000 it gotten much better due to high oil and natural gas prices. The peak of "prosperity" came around 2007. But thanks to the imbecile Putin the country is plowing right back towards 90s.