TNI In Moscow: What Russians Think About India, War & Putin’s Presidency

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By: Aarti Tikoo
Updated: 16 September, 2022 12:35 pm IST
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The New Indian Editor-in-Chief Aarti Tikoo, who is visiting different parts of Russia, spoke to common people on the streets of the capital city Moscow to understand their opinion on a slew of topics like the bilateral relations with India and Indian food & culture, the ongoing war in Ukraine, and the continuous support to President Vladimir Putin. Edited excerpts:

Aarti Tikoo: What do Russians think about Indians?

Alisa (20), Violinist: I think that there are many stereotypes people have in mind about every nation, and I’m sure there are some stereotypes about Russians, too. So what do I think about India? I think it’s a nation with an ancient rich culture that I find very interesting, and I’d be interested to learn more about Indian culture and history.

Aarti Tikoo: Why do you think the Russian people support President Putin and the special operation?

Alisa (20), Violinist: One of the reasons I think is massive propaganda. Those who do not support this know how powerful the state is and are afraid to speak up.

Aarti Tikoo: Do you think the war should end immediately?

Alisa (20), Violinist: Of course. A war cannot be justified by anything.

Violinist Alisa says Russians are afraid to speak up against President Vladimir Putin.


Aarti Tikoo: Why do you think the Russian people support President Putin and the special operation?

Vladimir: I believe that Russia and Ukraine are friendly nations, but after the coup d’état that occurred in Ukraine in 2014, the Ukrainian government got on the wrong track. I witnessed all this, and I have relatives who live in Ukraine. There were many changes, and even people started to behave differently there. There was also a lot pressure spread by the media. And I believe that the root cause for all this that led to the special operation in Ukraine was the policy pursued by NATO, the United States and Ukraine too.



Aarti Tikoo: What do Russians know and think about India?

Lyubov, ex-school teacher: It’s a very good country in the Orient. We know and appreciate that India is very friendly and respectful of our country. We often have visitors from India in Moscow. And I hope we will continue to cooperate and be friends and enjoy a sunny relationship.

Aarti Tikoo: Do you know that India supports Russia?

Lyubov, ex-school teacher: Of course I do.

Aarti Tikoo: …in politics including the special operation in Ukraine?

Lyubov, ex-school teacher: Yes, I do. I think India is cautiously supportive of it, and it’s understandable because you know, we as ordinary people have no problem reaching an understanding, don’t we? But politics is politics and it’s probably the right policy.

Aarti Tikoo: Why do Russian people support President Putin?

Lyubov, ex-school teacher: Because we elected him, he is our president, what can I say? We are Russians regardless of our ethnic origin. We are all Russians here, so it’s just the right way.

Former school teacher Lyubov feels India is a friendly country to Russia.


Aarti Tikoo: What do you know about India and think about Russia’s relations with it?

Emil, musician: I know it’s one of the largest countries in the world with a huge population that is larger than Russia’s. I’ve never been to India but my friends have gone there on vacation and they liked it a lot. There’s not a lot I can say, I know the food there is very spicy and they use a variety of spices. They have religious traditions that are very different from Russia’s. Probably India’s culture is very different from what we’re used to here, but it’s hard to say much unless you’ve visited the place and met some people.

Aarti Tikoo: Would you like to visit?

Emil, musician: With pleasure.

Aarti Tikoo: Why do the Russian people support President Putin and the special operation in Ukraine?

Emil, musician: It’s customary for people to support their president in any country because the majority voted for him so people must have supported him for the past 20 years he’s been in office. I think this is why.

Aarti Tikoo: Do you know that India supports Russia on the international scene?

Emil, musician: As far as I know, Russia and India are BRICs members, and that’s a serious organization that aims to influence global politics, that’s my understanding, I think they were talking about introducing their own currency. I think Russia and India have a lot in common on the political agenda, as well as other BRICS members.

Emil, a resident of Moscow, says he would love to visit India


Aarti Tikoo: What do you know about India?

Lyubov, babysitter: I remember watching many movies from India back in the time of the USSR. We enjoyed a friendly relationship with India. I remember Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. I know some dishes like curry.

Aarti Tikoo: Do you know about an organization called BRICS?

Lyubov, babysitter: Yes, and India is a member of it.

Aarti Tikoo: Is it true that the Russian people support President Putin?

Lyubov, babysitter: Yes, we support him.

Aarti Tikoo: Why do people support him? What are the reasons for support and all the respect?

Lyubov, babysitter: I think it was the right thing for him to launch the special operation. Probably it would have been better if he launched it earlier, but so it happened that he started it now. I support the special military operation.

Aarti Tikoo: What kind of support Russia needs from India?

Lyubov, babysitter: My friend here says, just supporting Russia would be good, both moral and material support.


Yekaterina believes India and Russia are good partners

Aarti Tikoo: What do you think about the India-Russia relations?

Yekaterina: I think it’s important for maintaining a good relationship between our countries.

Aarti Tikoo: Is India a good ally for Russia?

Yekaterina: I believe so. Having allies is always good.

Aarti Tikoo: What do you think about the special operation?

Yekaterina: I prefer not to think about it.

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