There is one old Russian anecdote that very well explains the attitude of the government and officials towards the people in Russia. And also compares this approach with other countries.
A joke about a cat and hot sauce
The American, the German and the Russian argued among themselves that they would force the cat to eat a very hot chili sauce.
The American grabs the cat and stuffs the sauce into its mouth. The cat resists, but swallows some of the sauce.
— This is violence! the Russian is indignant.
The German makes a cut in the sausage and fills it with hot sauce. He gives the sausage to the cat and she eats it.
— This is a lie! says the Russian, after which he smears the cat’s anus with sauce, and the cat licks it with a howl.
— Pay attention, says the Russian, voluntarily and with a song.