March 01, 2005

Young Russians We Have Been Watching

Four years ago, in January 2001, Russian Life undertook an ambitious project: 100 Young Russians to Watch in the New Century. Spurred by then editor Mikhail Ivanov, we identified and profiled influential young Russians from all walks of life – individuals who, as we put it at the time, “are shaping what Russia can and will become in the decades ahead.” By honoring their achievements, we hoped to focus attention on the many positive things Russia has to offer the world and on the ways in which individual Russians are doing great things for their country and community. Now, four years on, we thought it was about time to check up on these young leaders. Ivanov, who has since moved on to other full-time pursuits, was excited by the challenge, saying that “charting the vicissitudes of fate is one of the most exciting assignments a writer can have.”

Since I personally interviewed the majority of these “personalities,” I feel they are almost like friends now. Think about it: 100 young, up-and-coming friends! As the Russian proverb says, “100 friends is better than 100 rubles.”

Another saying is that it is useful to have “friends in high places.” Few of the 100 individuals we profiled in our series are flying higher than stand-up comedian Maxim Galkin. Today he is virtually a demigod of the Russian stage. Since we profiled him in 2001, he has become the host of the Russian version of the TV program, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? He also regularly puts on one-man shows and seems to be tapped as a host for every important event-show, from the humorous TV program KVN, to the Nika award ceremony, to the TEFI TV award show.

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