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The Putin generation

Their names are Lera, Mikhail, Vladislav or Ekaterina. They are Russian, are between 18 and 19 years old and went to vote for the first time during the presidential election which renewed Vladimir Putin at the head of the country for a fourth mandate.

Whether they chose or not to vote for the strong man of the Kremlin, he has been the only true leader of the country since they were born. I think these elections are pretty useless. Nothings gonna change. Weve got a certain political caste, and they wont step down until they die. explains Lera Zinchenko, a 18-year-old Muscovite who dreams of becoming an actress. While for some there is no real political stake in Russia, others qualify this idea: I think hes a strong leader. [] There arent any worthy candidates except him considers Vladislav Shadrin, son of a sailor in Murmansk and who plans on studying law.

Far from the confrontations of the Cold War and a binary world where the West and the Russian bloc confront each other on the surface of the globe, Russian youth in 2018 are ultra-connected and open to the world. People are always saying that America is so different from us. But it didnt feel like that at all. I thought were way more alike than different says Daria Mikryukova who has already travelled to the United States and dreams of studying abroad to become a chemical engineer. Mikhail Solovyev wants to work for the Russian army in mobile communication. Although he is patriotic, he says I dont believe that Russia is the coolest country and that the rest suck .

Despite a recent slowdown, the economy has also experienced a period of unprecedented prosperity, relegating memories of the austerity of the collapse of the USSR to the history books. An economic assessment that is welcomed by the government but which alone will not be enough to win the support of young people.
Vladimir Putin will have to count on this generation if he wants to stand for a fifth term in 2024. This he seems to have understood belatedly by displaying himself with the Russian youth during meetings, to counter his opponent Alexei Navalny who, in March 2017, had succeeded in had succeeded in getting thousands of young Russians on the streets to demonstrate against endemic corruption.

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