View On Their “Lost Generation”

Both interviews that Donald J. Raleigh performed struck me to have very different perceptions. The two interviewees definitely represented different attitudes towards the subject of their lives, but this was mainly due to their backgrounds, Gennadii Viktorovich Ivanov definitely gave the feeling that he had “formulated his answers specifically” for the interview and was careful of what information he disclosed, but one would expect a policeman or an operative to act in such a way. Natalia P. on the other hand seemed to be less careful and cautious in what she said in the duration of her interview. Both Gennadii and Natalia seemed to agree in that they did not consider themselves as to be apart of a “lost generation”.

Natalia Pronina discusses the way in which she participated in activities that made her youth-self different from the generations after her. She explains that her generation expressed much more freedom and expressiveness, which adults at the time did not like and were not used to, she says ”the next generation no longer subordinated themselves to her” (regarding her director who rejected her short skirt). She referred to her life as a normal life, where she was in a comfortable and happy situation, although she mentions she both lost and gained certain things throughout her time growing up. She explains the way her parents instilled both the sense of duty and responsibility into her in which today’s younger generation has no grasp on.

In regards to the way he grew up, Gennadii Ivanov explains it to have been much like the way his parents grew up, especially considering their views. He makes no complaints in the way he grew up and like Natalia seems to have expressed a comfortable upbringing. Gennadii does share the same opinion as Natalia, he does not consider his generation to be termed a lost generation, but considers later generations to be lost. He also explains the way in which people really did not care about things that are considered important now, including money.

Both interviewees seem to share the same views on their generation; they describe it be a place where they were comfortable where old views were still held and where new views were being developed. Overall they did seem to express a belief in a change in where society was headed.

Sputnik Generation: Class and International Relations

What struck me most about the Russia’s Sputnik Generation reading, was the manner in which both interviewees approached class distinctions at their childhood school. Natalia P. seemed almost acutely aware of the types of people her school in Saratov attracted: primarily children of the intelligentsia. Gennadii Viktorovich Ivanov, on the other hand, seemed not to have placed much stock in the types of students at School 42, brushing off the question by merely stating that it wasn’t of interest to children back then.

It seems, however, that both Natalia and Gennadii agree that the school was filled primarily by the children of intelligentsia and skilled labor, not by the children of party officials or bureaucrats.

This could, perhaps, be a manifestation of Gennadii’s police background–he might not have wanted to divulge such information, or may have thought it an inappropriate question for an American to ask. Or, perhaps, Natalia P. just felt more sensitive during her adolescence, and noticed such trends, which Gennadii did not.

Beyond this, Gennadii’s views, specifically on the West, seem to echo the sentiment and rhetoric, which the criminal police espoused during the Soviet Union. Specifically, he views the West as not caring about Russian matters. He does, however, make the distinction that the average American probably doesn’t take notice of the events in Russia. Are his views typical of his generation?