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The World Younger Russians Knew Is Over (Bloomberg)

Bloomberg title: The World Younger Russians Knew Is Over
By: Anthony Halpin
Date: 11 March 2022

“The exodus of foreign companies from Russia may hurl the country back decades in just a few weeks, as consumer goods and services are denied a whole cohort of those under 40 who took them for granted.  

This is the “Putin generation” that came of age under the Russian leader’s 22-year rule and that largely accepted the deal he offered: a promise of economic prosperity, but few rights and little or no political influence.

The older ones may have childhood memories of the grinding poverty of Russia’s “hungry ‘90s” after the Soviet Union’s collapse. Many who worked hard to build businesses, careers and better lives for themselves have a visceral fear of worsening prospects for their children.

Younger middle-class Russians in Moscow and other major cities have no such memories. Like 20-somethings everywhere, they’ve enjoyed overpriced coffee shops, cool sneakers and globalized tech-savvy lifestyles that offered futures filled with promise.

All that came crashing down when Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine. Whatever economic hardships Russians face, they pale in comparison to the death and suffering being inflicted on Ukrainians.

To be sure, most people in Russia’s provinces continued to lead hard lives and to back Putin, resentful of the “liberal” urban elite that criticized him.

Still, the world for Russians is changed utterly. Some nurse grievances they’re being punished for decisions by Putin they couldn’t affect.

A courageous minority did take big risks fighting for change over the years, joining street protests called by opposition leader Alexey Navalny, now imprisoned, and exposing corruption in Russia’s dwindling independent media. Many have now fled Russia.

For those in exile and those who’ve stayed, the bill is falling due for the Faustian bargain Russians struck with Putin.

It’s a lesson that may not be lost on people in other authoritarian nations where leaders have offered prosperity in return for unquestioning obedience.”


Source:
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/newsletters/2022-03-11/the-world-younger-russians-knew-is-over

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