Vladimir Putin came to power as Russian millennials were coming into the world. Everything they know about their homeland has been shaped by Putin’s authoritarian regime. Some revere him. But others long for democratic change.
Boris Yeltsin stood down as the first President of the Russian Federation on New Year’s Eve 1999, just hours before the millennial celebrations began. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin stepped in as caretaker president and pledged to protect freedom of speech and the press and property rights. Since then, Putin has consolidated his grip on Russia and his promises have become just empty words.
More and more Russians, particularly the young, are opposed to Putin’s authoritarian regime. Even though they have only ever known the former KGB officer as their leader, like their counterparts in the West, they have access via the Internet to information that is suppressed in the Russian media.
This film asks young people from St. Petersburg to Eastern Siberia how they feel about life in today’s more powerful yet also more unstable country. Some are fanatical Putin supporters, while others are opposition activists. We look behind the barbed wire around a closed Siberian city, visit a Muslim village in Tatarstan, and talk to young Muscovites. And we also see how the Russian education system instils children with the regime’s propaganda from an early age.