May 2, 2003
Transformation in Russia in the Past Ten Years
Charlie Watters is the Principal of the Courtyard School,
a secular private school that leases the classrooms of the First Baptist
Church. He has led student groups on educational travel tours, some of
which were to Russia.
Much of Mr. Watters’ background appeared in the May issue
of Human Interest. His talk to HAGSA was concerned primarily with his four
trips to Russia. His first trip preceded the fall of communism. He
contrasted the centralized order of a society that also lacked easy
availability of the most basic consumer goods with the Russia that evolved
during the 1990s. On subsequent trips he noticed that consumer goods were
more available, but at the same time, the social safety net that had
existed was gone. There was a new wealthy class but many were destitute.
There was also more crime. He also observed that after 1998, Russia was a
better ordered society than in the early 1990s and had the beginnings of a
middle class. He said that younger Russians are today much more optimistic
about the future than are their parents, who feel that life has passed
them by and sometimes yearn for the old days. He cautioned that his
observations reflected life in the major cities, which have become quite
westernized. They may not be quite so true of the countryside.
prepared by Wayne Luney, HAGSA Recorder
below to return to the list of 2003 Meetings or to go to the previous or
next meeting report.