The Soviet Union used to command respect on the international stage. It stood toe to toe with the United States. It wielded its influence in the far corners of the globe. Oksana Chernysheva, a first-year journalism student at the International University in Moscow, shares the view of her President, Vladimir Putin: the collapse of the Soviet Union was a disaster.
“We used to be huge and strong, and then it collapsed,” she said. But what for the 61-year-old Mr Putin amounts to an acute sense of lost glory is for Ms Chernysheva, 18, an opinion based almost entirely on wistful tales handed down by nostalgic parents. She was born five years after the Soviet Union fell apart.
Mr Putin’s moves this year to annex Crimea and to support pro-Russian movements in Ukraine appear to have resonated with a younger generation that has no memory of the Soviet Union but yearns for its power.