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Why we do it

Nikolai Berdyaev, Russian philosopher, in his book «The Russian Idea» was writing about several types of Historic Russia: The Kiev Russia, The Russia of the Mongol-Tatar Yoke, Moscovian Russia, Peter’s Russia and Soviet Russia. «Possibly there will be yet another Russia» - assumed the thinker.

It came into being and it exists for almost quarter of a century now — The Post-Soviet Russia. The term itself emphasizes the state of transition. It’s not the Soviet Union anymore, but not yet a different Russia. Sociological surveys for the past 20 years have been clearly showing: Russian people are constantly feeling the transitional state of the country. Levada Center surveys are showing: half of the country’s population keeps regretting about the collapse of the Soviet Union.

During these years the State was changing its foreign policy rhetorics according to the internal opinions and international conjuncture. In early 1990’s country was “coming back into the civilized family of peoples”. In 10 years time they were talking about equal partnership with Western countries. In the mid-2010s talk of returning the “native lands” and rebuilding the empire became a commonplace. But the key point to these collisions was the status of the Russian Federation as a legal successor of the USSR.

The Last 30 is exploring the “post-soviet” phenomenon. Its authors are trying to establish the long transitional state of the country and its society. People and events that became phenomena of post-soviet history are taken in focus: from refugees of the hot spots to the high school graduates who got 100 (maximum possible rate) at their GRE exam.

Last 30 is a portrait gallery. Its characters will tell their stories. Each gallery will be completed with two texts – one of a journalist and one of a scholar. They will describe in detail post-soviet education, science, business, demography, show some big changes and some things that have left unchanged.

April plenum of the Central Committee of CPSU of 1985, where Mikhail Gorbachev declared the beginning of Perestroika is our starting point. Last 30 in this sense is a milestone project. It’s not about “What happened” but about “how it came out.

Last 30 doesn’t pretend to be a complete library of historical memoirs of post-soviet society. It’s mainly aimed at drawing some outlines for further deeper work of academics, journalists and the whole Russian society.