Wednesday, July 13, 2011

50 more years to break a nasty Soviet habit?

This year will be remembered in Russia as the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Soviet Union. First class pupils of 1991 will have turned 26-28 years come 1st September. I can consider these adults the youngest generation to have duly experienced life in the Soviet times.

On the one hand, this is a positive sign. Young adults of contemporary Russia will increasingly feature people who have never directly been involved in a very nasty hypocrisy of the old days. The kind of hypocrisy which made people think, say and act in three different ways. As well as read between the lines. All or most of which came in self-defense and could be justified ditto, looking back.

On the other hand, it will take another 50 years or so before the last Soviet life witnesses pass the baton to their kids and grandkids. And the old hypocrisy, now a side effect habit and hindrance to building a true democracy in Russia, will likely be still deeply rooted in our minds for years to come. Making my foreign colleagues do the guesswork.

This means, the true transition period for the country could be almost as long as the duration of the Soviet regime itself. Let's just hope the younger generation is accepting this and will steer clear of the older people's addiction from the past.

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