Sunday, May 31, 2020

Millenials Will Transform Political Arrangements in Russia and the World, Gontmakher Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 28 – Because they have values that set themselves radically apart from the current political elites whose members were born in the 1950s and 1960s, the generation known as the millennials will when they become the dominant force in society in a decade or so will transform political life across the globe, including in Russia, Yevgeny Gontmakher says.

            The Moscow economist, who currently is the scholarly leader of the European Dialogue
Group, points to seven ways in which the values of the millennials are different from their predecessors and lists four fundamental, even revolutionary changes, those attitudes are likely to produce (

                The seven distinctive differences of the millennials from the current elite include the following:

·         Millenials do not have political views that correspond to the left-right continuum older people have been accustomed to.

·         They want direct democracy and the decentralization of power.

·         They are concerned about issues often neglected by the current powers that be, including vegetarianism, protection of the environment, and especially a more rational approach to handling trash.

·         They are committed to sharing at the personal and political levels so that all will have enough.

·         They favor state-financed “free” education and health care so that all can have the advantages those things give.

·         They take an active part in franchising and voluntarism.

·         And they favor a universal, state-supplied income to all.

According to Gontmakher, these values will lead to four basic shifts in political life:

1.      “In place of bureaucrats will be people who do not have as their goal their own advancement upwards but rather the realization of personal qualities.”

2.      “Despite the tendency observed now to increase the size of the activity of the state in response to the coronavirus, as soon as the epidemiological situation normalizes, society in countries with developed democracy will not simply return everything to the pas but will shift the compass in the opposite direction.” More power will devolve to local governments and to the people who will exercise more direct control over those above them. He notes that the authors of the 1993 Russian Constitution had the right idea by excluding organs of local self-administration from government power but that advanced thinking has been reversed by Putin.

3.      “Already in the foreseeable future, the network of ‘world cities’ will be much more important than the network of traditional states” which will be left with “only very limited functions,” and “a new wave of globalization will begin, based not on overcoming ‘state borders’ but on systems of resettling people regardless of their national citizenship.”

4.      “All forms of direct (immediate) democracy will grow in explosive fashion,” thereby restoring some of the trust that has been lost in governments.

Such projections of how younger people will act in the future are invariably overstated as many of them will likely become more like their elders as they age. But the pressures Gontmakher points to brought to the table by the millennials are going to shake things up; and the ways he points to are certainly a checklist of things to watch for.

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