reflections

A Brave New World for the Kremlin

Apr 6, 2017 | 23:50 GMT
A growing number of Russians today never knew life without President Vladimir Putin, putting the longtime leader in an unfamiliar predicament.
People in their 20s have made up a large proportion of the protesters in recent mass demonstrations across Russia. The movement's youth component is troubling for the Kremlin, which has struggled to appeal to post-Soviet generations.
(OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images)

Every country faces generational change. Evolutions in technology, culture, social mores and global affairs can leave a gulf between young and old that neither can easily bridge. In Russia, that gulf is especially vast. As of this year, 27 percent of Russians were born after the fall of the Soviet Union, and that number will jump to nearly 40 percent within the next decade. The rising generation was never Sovietized. Most of them, moreover, are too young to remember the tumultuous 1990s, a decade of war, financial crisis and political disarray. Unlike the older generations, they don't recall Russian President Vladimir Putin's promises to save Russia or the measures he took to stabilize the country after its post-Soviet tailspin. In fact, they've never really known life without him. For Putin, the situation poses an unfamiliar challenge....

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