The disintegration of the USSR in 1991 ushered a decade of extraordinary change in Russia. Society enjoyed newfound freedoms, opportunities and the access to Western culture. But it also saw the rise of oligarchs, an attempted military coup, famine and a massive financial crisis. Vladimir Putin is seen by many as the man who saved and stabilised Russia after a period of turbulence – and as someone who continues to fight for Russian values in the face of western pressure. However, Putin’s vision of Russia as a homogenous bastion of traditional values has meant many people with differing views feel side-lined or even oppressed in Russia’s quest for global influence. Ties to the Catholic Church and conservative agendas means that if you do not fit in with their ideals, or are on the other side of the political fence, you will be forgotten.

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