Young people in Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan reflect on the Soviet collapse and the hardships and opportunities that came in its wake.

Thirty years after the Soviet Union disintegrated, how has its memory influenced the world views of those born at that time in the new states that rose from the wreckage?  

To find out, journalists in the South Caucasus interviewed people 30 and younger about what the Soviet past means to them. Some praised the Soviet Union’s social and education policies in light of the trauma and impoverishment of the early years of independence. One well-traveled Armenian woman is grateful for the “dark and cold” 1990s because “they made me who I am today.”

Others felt that liberty and personal freedom outweigh the hardships of the past three decades. We won freedom with our own blood,” said a Georgian activist whose family has very complex and conflicting opinions about the Soviet legacy.

Independent news sites JAMnews and Meydan TV produced the videos from Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia as part of a five-country series supported by the Russian Language News Exchange, a Transitions media partner.