People brought up in the post-Soviet era are better with trust, though they are relatively few in an aging society. Meanwhile, older generations see their "grandchildren" as foolish and unreliable.The priming effect
The third important psychological feature of Soviet people is the priming effect – the unconscious "remembering" of events that taints their interpretation of current news. For example, when a person hears the word "fascism," he does not reach for the encyclopedia; instead, he immediately imagines the horrors of war, tortured people, burned cities and villages, the tragedy of concentration camp prisoners – everything that he ever saw in movies, read in books, heard from elders. Thus, they immediately have a negative reaction, even if there was no additional information in the news.
Soviet priming is associated mainly with childhood and adolescent memories, while the process was not linear. The study at school of standard Soviet ideological works like The Young Guard
and A Story About a Real Man
, excursions to places of military glory and military-patriotic museums, class hours about the war – all this was often perceived as routine and boring. Semi-underground rock music and jeans were much more interesting.
Thus, all the more dubious was the application of rigorous wartime principles – such as readiness for self-sacrifice and the rigid dichotomy of friend versus foe – to modern human relations. Certain messages were still perceived subconsciously, though the effect was minimal at the time. And when the USSR collapsed, few people came to its defense. However, this was largely due to the feeling that it was all "pretend" and in a few years at least the Slavic countries would get back together again in some format.
As time went on, rock music and jeans became routine, like many previously forbidden fruits. At the same time, the subconscious “remembering” of childhood messages increased, combined with the blooming of nostalgia for the bygone era and the growing understanding that the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 was for real. Now, many former neformali
(“nonconformists”) of 35 years ago yearn for the times when a schoolteacher told them about heroes of the Great Patriotic War like Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya and Alexander Matrosov. They remember their parents who fought and are no longer with them and worry that they listened to them too little. The loss in 1991 of the territories for which fierce battles were fought during the Great Patriotic War intensifies the feeling of guilt.
The attitude of older generations to the special military operation is based precisely on the association with the Great Patriotic War, the perception of which was cast in their school years and remains normative for them. Bringing The Young Guard back into schools
is about this. Today's schoolchildren and young people in general have a different perception of these events – the entire 20th century is history to them, but older Russians’ attitudes cannot be dismissed. It is older generations’ psychological legacies, sentiments and judgments that help us understand today's Russia.