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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Younger Generation Mustn't Be Passive Now

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As I was turning the pages of the thick tourism magazine, I sighed at how frustrating it was facing the choice of a zillion cities and resorts to spend my summer holidays. When my mom heard me, she said sadly, "I wish we had the same opportunities to travel anywhere we liked when I was your age."

It seems that already the people of my generation — for high school and university students — can barely imagine what it must have been like when traveling abroad was prohibited. We have, it seems, already grown accustomed to the rights and freedoms that our parents were denied and for which they had to fight.

Nonetheless, I felt obliged to attend the rally in support of freedom of speech that was held on Pushkin Square on March 31. I was very glad to see some students dancing on top of cars and a few others even climbing trees in order to better see the stage. But I have to admit that it was mostly older people who crowded the square that day. I saw mostly people over 40.

Click here to read our special report on the Struggle for Media-MOST.It is not hard to understand why these people joined the rally. They will never forget the years of repression, fear and hypocrisy that they endured under the Soviet Union. They will hardly forget Soviet television, where faceless anchors with mechanical voices were telling them nonstop bullshit about our country being the biggest, the strongest and the most prosperous. Now that I think about it, I suppose the part about being "the biggest" was true … But I am sure that it was these memories that brought the older generation out when NTV came under threat.

However, traditionally, it has always been young people who stood at the center of protests, demonstrations and meaningful social movements. Such efforts depend on the courage, romanticism and optimism of students.

But has Russia's younger generation fallen asleep? Why were there more pensioners dancing to the popular rock bands than students for whom they were invited?

Fortunately, we — the younger generation — don't share the bitter memories of Soviet times that our parents and grandparents have. Maybe that is why the threat of lost freedom doesn't seem as real to us. But in spite of that, we must be conscious of what is happening around us. If we — the future of Russia — do not respond and react now, who will?

Ten years ago, our parents won the rights and freedoms that we possess now. Back then, we were too young to take part. Today, on the other hand, we have no right not to do so. Today we must participate. Because if we remain passive and indifferent, all that our parents have acquired will go down the drain.

Maria Danilova is a third-year student at Moscow State University. She contributed this comment to The Moscow Times.