Thursday, June 22, 2017

Russian Youth aren’t the Revolutionaries the Kremlin Fears or the Opposition Hopes For, Olshansky Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 22 – Given the large number of young people taking part in the March 26 and June 12 demonstrations, many in the Kremlin have expressed concern and many in the opposition have expressed hope that young people now constitute a revolutionary force. But those fears and hopes are misplaced, Dmitry Olshansky says.

            The Moscow journalist lists the factors he says preclude young Russians playing a revolutionary role (, including among others the following:

·         First, young Russians are a category too subdivided to form any united front. Moreover, they are proud of these distinctions and don’t want to be absorbed into some made-up notion about “youth.”

·         Second, because of declining birthrates, the number of people in Russian who can be classified as young is falling. There simply aren’t enough of them to become a primary mover of society and politics.

·         Third, Olshansky says, “from a revolutionary point of view, people now live too well.”  They aren’t interested in losing it all on the role of the dice.

·         Fourth, the notion that young people are set apart in believing that they have “no future” and “no prospects” is nonsensical. Few Russians of any age group have good prospects.

·         Fifth, young people are mobile. They seldom stay in one place for very long or even register to vote. Instead, they move from place to place not only within the country but abroad as well.

·         Sixth, most in the younger generation are impatient.  They want immediate results, but revolutions aren’t made by those who do not work for them. And Russian young people aren’t prepared to do so.

In fact, Olshansky says, he is more inclined to “believe in a rising of pensioners than in a revolt of temporary apartment renters.” And there is another factor too, he suggests: the poshlost that infects not only the old but the young, the one thing that ties them all together rather than setting any one generation apart.

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