At the start of the twenty-first
century, a new post-Soviet generation is rising to leading positions
throughout the country. Many of its members, those in their
mid-thirties today, have lived their entire professional lives in
the world of the post-Soviet market economy.
upheavals of the last decade and the widening gap between the haves
and the have-nots, Russian society does not appear particularly
polarized politically. Surprisingly, Russian sociologists find there
has been little change in Russians’ basic perceptions and values
since the late 1980s. The great changes in society, they say,
occurred in the previous two generations, with the move to the
cities and the rise of educational levels and standards of living.
By the late 1980s a new Russian urban culture had formed, founded on
a large professional class, largely free of ideology and potentially
supportive of liberal political values.
familiar with international practices and trends, and they do not
hesitate to look to the outside world for models. Increasingly, they
are not engineers, but lawyers, accountants, and economists, who
understand opportunity and competition and possess the marketing and
financial skills needed for business.
At the ballot
box, the post-Soviet generation has broadly supported the
government’s reforms. The problem is that many younger Russians take
the changes that have taken place in their lifetimes for granted and
often do not care to vote at all. However, if Russia follows the
experience of other countries, younger Russians will vote in larger
numbers as they grow older and establish families.
the other end of the age spectrum, the generation of pensioners who
are the main constituency of the Communist Party
is gradually moving off the stage. In short, demographic change is
on the side of the reforms, as it brings forward the generation of
people who have never experienced anything else.