Sputnik Generation: Class and International Relations

What struck me most about theĀ 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?