Saturday, May 23, 2020

In Pandemic, ‘Children of Perestroika’ Stronger and More Ready to Take Independent Action than ‘Children of the 1960s,’ Study Shows

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 21 – Young Russians born between 1984 and 2000, who are typically called “the children of perestroika,” have turned out to be stronger and more prepared to act on their own in response to the pandemic rather than wait for the assistance of the state than are older “boomers” who in Russia are called "the children of the ‘Sixties, Vera Fedotova says.

            The Higher School of Economics researcher who is based in Perm reaches that conclusion on the basis of research published in the latest issue of Obshchestvennye nauki i sovremennost (1 (2020): 22-38 at  and summarized by Marina Selina today at

            She based her research on data collected in a survey of more than 1300 Russians in the regions born between 1943 and 2000 and found clear generational differences between those born in the 1960s and those born in the 1990s, with the latter far more ready to take individual action to cope with the consequences of the pandemic than the former.

            For the younger generation, who grew up in post-Soviet times, what is most important is freedom of choice, she says. That helps them respond to stressful situations and to maintain their internal balance. Financial problems do lower the importance of this value but they do not cause it to disappear.

            Those born in the 1950s and 1960s, in contrast, display “a somewhat different picture,” Fedotova says. Now aged between 56 and 75, they are most concerned with the maintenance of order in society and the conviction that their country is “strong” and the government is able to “defend its citizens.” They are less likely to act independently or take risks.

            This lack of personal conviction that they can make a difference, she continues, “’weakens’ the boomers,” and that means that they will play less of a role in helping Russia escape from the consequences of the pandemic than their younger fellow citizens who are ready to act on their own to achieve change.

            When she began her research, Fedotova says, she was certain that the older generation which had experienced and overcome shocks in the past would be the more important in this process. “But it turns out that his is not so. The ability of Russians to cope depends above all on personality, value orientations, and material well-being.”

            And as a result, she concludes, the generation born in the 1980s and 1990s is “more rapidly and effectively coping with the coronavirus than is the generation of its elders.

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