Age is of great importance

— Why do you always report the age and profession people who take interview? Is it so important?— I was recently asked by one reader in a letter.

I do think it’s important. Especially in Russia, where I often feel a huge difference in the thinking of different generations. That doesn’t always mean that the older generation is more conservative than the young. Sometimes it happens and Vice versa.

One of my friends in Moscow said that her generation is the only anti-Soviet generation in Russia. She is now a little over forty. When the iron curtain, she was 18, she just graduated high school. In her opinion, the generation older than 50 years were heavily influenced by its Soviet past. The generation under 35 is too vulnerable in front of propaganda, because they have never lived in the USSR.

I — about her age, and although in the 1990s I only briefly visited Russia, we have the same opinion at that period of Russian history. I remember those strange bars in St. Petersburg, where we drank absinthe, I remember my contacts with the Russians, their questions, stories, and above all, the absolute openness and freedom from complexes. They didn’t seem a problem that Russia needs to learn something from the West, on the contrary, they were confident in the strength of their own culture. No one who lived through it, did not believe that the current Russian regime is something eternal and natural, and Russia, by definition, cannot be an open society.

In Russian communication among themselves means a lot age. In the bus or tram, they still of course need to get up and give place to elder people, if there is no availability. Do not argue with the senior, and allow them to stay with their sometimes entrenched attitudes. Sometimes I think it really contributes to a relaxed atmosphere.

Elderly appeal to young from his age. When I interviewed Svetlana Aleksievich and asked her to sign my book, she wrote “Dear Anna-Lena” on the title page — signature, which I’m saving as its most precious treasure. I like that the Nobel prize came to me like a friendly old woman would appeal to young, like a grandmother in the Moscow subway, which can grab you by the hand and shout: “Daughter, help me to go on the escalator!”

Formal education name of the post is also still very important in Russia. When I conducted polls on the street and ask where the person works, I often get strange answers.

— What do you do?

I am the Manager.

What does that mean?

— I work in the trade.

— What kind of trade?


— What do you import?

— Different products.

Just to say the person is a salesman of furniture, for some reason it is not possible.

In the same spirit, the typical response of Russian women over 50, which asked how old they are:

— How old are you?

— 55-60.