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Millennials Honestly Adores Vladimir Putin
[Image: 161219144343-video-display-gulag-museum-exlarge-169.jpg]

They were born in the New Russia, after the old Soviet Union had collapsed. They've grown up in a different country from their parents and known just one real leader all their lives.
I'm talking with students on their way to classes at the prestigious Moscow State University -- Russia's Harvard. This group of friends all are studying geology, preparing to work in the oil and gas business. All of them speak fluent English and almost all are eager to try it out with me.
Yuri is 19, born six years after the end of the Soviet Union. I ask him what he thinks about that collapse.
"Nothing," he says. "It happened before me so I wasn't affected by it at all. It's good the Soviet Union existed. There are certain positive aspects about it. So it's probably worse that it collapsed, not better."
17-year-old Daniel, too, has mixed feelings about the Soviet Union.
"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."
For Russian teenagers like these, the painful chapters of Soviet repression, midnight arrests and the forced labor camps of the Gulag, depicted by the writer Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, are like ancient history.
Before their time

Most of the students have a on-the-one-hand... on-the-other-hand approach: a more theoretical, historical viewpoint, and a personal viewpoint, based on their parents' or grandparents' experiences.
Alexander, 17, says the end of the Soviet Union "had something good for the whole world," but also something bad.
"It was good for the world because everybody thought that 'this big Soviet Union wanted to conquer us,'" he said.

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