Sunday, August 22, 2021

Russia’s Thirty-Somethings Uncertain What Goals They Should have and What Constitutes Success, Shamis Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 20 Because they were born at a time when all the old values seemed to be under question and no new values had established themselves as definers, Russia’s thirty-somethings, those born in the 1980s, remain uncertain about what their goals should be and what constitutes success, Yevgeniya Shamis says.

            As a result, the founder and coordinator of the RuGenerations Research Center ( says, they feel lost and are suffering from an existential crisis in which they aren’t prepared to make any final choices as a generation and thus have ceded decision making to those older and younger than they are (   

            When the former pass from the scene and the latter become more central and are able to define a new matrix of values, those now in their 30s and especially those suffering from what she calls “the crisis at 33” will likely again find their place as long as others define it; but they will play a lesser role in that regard than other generations.

            The generation of Russians born before the 30 somethings often say that they had a happy childhood. “There are even songs about that,” Shamis says. That was because children grew up in a situation in which they knew what was correct and expected. But the next generation did not have that good fortune.

            Almost everything was being questioned, and children growing up in the 1980s and early 1990s simply did not see a clear way forward. Instead, they felt lost and increasingly uncertain about their own lives, what they should do, and especially important now that they have reached their 30s what constitutes success.

            The current thirty something generation “will always live in this situation of indeterminacy,” she says, even when they age into their 50s, 60s, and 70s. But they will be followed by others who will define the rules of the game as it were and so their lack of certainty will gradually be attenuated.

            And that will make their situation easier, although it will not solve it. Today’s thirty somethings are always going to be at something of a loss, but when the next generations show the way as she expects them to do, Shamis say, they will have a better chance of fitting in that they ever would trying to go back to the world of the 1950s.

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