National Geographic : 2016 Dec
the putin generation 83 among the heavily tattooed, red-faced men in tracksuits and sandals, blasting reedy Russian pop from their phones. Nizhniy Tagil, Sasha says, “is all factories and prison camps.” Once famous for manufacturing the Soviet Union’s train cars and tanks, it’s now famous for its idled factories, unemployment, and Vladimir Putin. When Putin announced, in 2011, his intention to return for a third presiden- tial term, protests broke out in Moscow and other large cities. The protesters were largely from the young, educated, urban middle class, and that winter a factory worker from Nizhniy Tagil told Putin on national TV that he and “the boys” were ready to come to Moscow to beat up the protest- ers. Putin demurred, but the city has come to be seen as the very heart of Putinland. Now Nizhniy Tagil has a new mayor, whom Putin sent in to beautify the city, and a local mag- nate has built a fancy health care clinic, but life is still tough here. Sasha went to school for welding and worked in a factory making good money un- til crashing oil prices and Western sanctions for the invasion of Ukraine sank the economy. Sasha An energetic 27-year-old entrepreneur, Radik Minnakhmetov straightens Putin’s official portrait, prominently displayed in his office next to one of the president of Tatarstan, a Russian republic about 450 miles east of Moscow. At 24, Minnakhmetov became the head of a new futuristic stadium in Kazan, Tatarstan’s capital.