Russian millennials hope for ''a bright future''

Russian millennials hope for ''a bright future'' Photo: Marizavarzina

CNN asked students of the Moscow State University about Russia's past, present and future. These folks, who were born after the collapse of the Soviet Union, have only really been aware of a single president. They will grow up along with Russia, and what it will become is in their hands.

Jill Dougherty from CNN talked to students who are studying geology at the Moscow State University about the end of the Soviet Union, their future hopes and concerns and their current president.

Speaking of the USSR and its collapse, the interviewees have mixed feelings: a theoretical approach is combined with a personal attitude based on their families' experiences. ''My grandfather said it was an awesome time for people and they all were united… But other people — some journalists or writers, famous ones like Solzhenitsyn — have a different view of this situation,'' says 17-year-old Daniel. His peer Aleksandr believes that the end of the Soviet Union ''was good for the world because everybody thought that ''this big Soviet Union wanted to conquer us.'' But for Soviet people, he says, it was different: ''They didn't know anything about their future, they thought it was the end of the world.''

The author considers that many older Russians feel nostalgia for a simpler, more predictable time.But youngsters do not: according to a recent poll by Russia's Levada Centre, only 40% of people under 40 said they regret the end of the USSR. At the same time, 83% of people over 55 said they did.

When asked about their future in modern Russia, most of the students are positive. ''Hope and wait, all life is ahead!'' says Vasily, 17, using an old Soviet expression. Yura, 19, believes that Russia is improving. ''There are a lot of projects being designed now. A path forward is being created. There's no stagnation or something. There's nothing bad.'' However, some students hope for ''a bright future'', but suppose that things can ''turn out not the way we wanted them''.

Students of the Moscow State University. Photo:

Vladimir Putin, who has been in the Kremlin since these guys were born, gets a high mark from them. ''Of course, thanks to him, we have no problems in our country. Well, we do have them but he softens them. So his policy is right. I support it,'' states 18-year-old Aleksey.

Meanwhile, the students are concerned about Putin's relationship with the U.S. ''What we see now is certainly unpleasant and everyone understands that no one benefits from it,'' says Vasily. ''Relations are supposed to change because it's a change of person,'' hopes Aleksandr. ''Donald Trump talked about President Putin. He said he was actually a great leader, and I think that President Putin also respects Donald Trump. So I think that relationship will improve between America and Russia.''

''Russia is a completely different state with its own mentality and its own moral principles that developed a long time ago,'' believes Vasily, ''so to copy something and implement it here from the West — Europe or America — it's absolutely useless — it won't take root.''

By Anna Litvina