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Sharkova explains why the degree to which Russians embrace the free market is age dependent.

SHARKOVA: People in their 40s and 50s and older would feel quite bitter and many of them do not have, haven't gotten any opportunities for advancement. People of younger ages will probably be a little more enthusiastic. Certainly, they probably would find a lot of issues to complain about but on one hand; on another hand they would feel that still they are living much better; they are much better off financially and so on. But for people, there are certain issues in Russian society in general that make it even more difficult for people of older ages.

For example, a chance to get a first-time good paying job is practically nonexistent for people over 35. So if you have a chance to get, say, a job if you are, for example, 20, 22, 25, even at that time, it's already kind of questionable. And if you get to the age, again, past 35, you may not have a chance, even if you have a specialty and education and you have had a career and you have proved already that you know something. But you may still not find a job. So that's one issue that's made people bitter. And then, again, if you look, about 30% are officially below minimum wage line. I mean, 27 to 30%. And … most frequently older people, older women.

For example, I remember, it was in '98 when I was there, I remember going to a store, to bread store. And the stores frequently are specialized, so to bread store. And people were buying, say, a loaf of bread and some kind of goodies. And there was an older woman in front of me who bought probably four or five loaves and that was it. And she commented to somebody that she got her pension today and this is going to be her food for the rest of the month. …So that's an issue that's there. And of course, how is she going to feel about that? Of course she's not going to like it.

Especially for people who lived, for the generation that lived or even fought in the Second World War, lived through Second World War, and in St. Petersburg in particular for people who lived through blockade and they are now in their 60s…and older, for them, it's not only, it's difficult, it's also very humiliating because they all sacrificed a lot and they feel that they really were seriously betrayed in many ways by the recent changes.

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