May 02, 2024

"Freedom, Poverty, Lawlessness"


"Freedom, Poverty, Lawlessness"
It may look nice, but many Russians mainly remember the turmoil of the 1990s.  kortunov, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Nostalgia for decades past can sometimes obscure problems, but most Russians seem to have mixed memories of the 1990s, according to a report from Meduza

Meduza asked its readers to describe the 1990s using only three words, and divided answers by the respondent's age. The first category, made up of members of the younger generations who only know about the last decade of the twentieth century from second-hand reports from their elders, used terms like "violence," "mayhem," "poverty," "hope," and "Adidas" to describe the turbulent years before their births.

The second category, made up of Russians who were young children during the 90s, had slightly more visceral answers, including "hungry," "sadness," and "disappointment," but also "my happy childhood." A 32-year-old named Mikhail from St. Petersburg summarized the decade as: "Mom worked constantly."

A picture of the 1990s becomes more vivid in the words of readers who were adults at the time: Anton, 46, described the decade as "youth, love, techno"; Aglaya, 48, remembered it to be "unsettled, but liberating." Sergei, 61, said "Shame on Yeltsin," and Victor, 66, added "Thieves rule Russia."

Galina, a 73-year-old Meduza reader from Yekaterinburg, perhaps summed it up best: "Difficult free life."

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