U.S. president Barack Obama attempted to bridge the divisions of the Cold War with a new generation of Russian students on Tuesday, outlining a vision of a world made safer by closer ties between the Kremlin and Washington.
The Obama told students from Moscow's New Economic School the future of Russia -- and its relations with the United States -- belonged to them.
"What kind of future is Russia going to have? What kind of future are Russia and America going to have together? What world order will replace the Cold War?" Obama said.
"Those questions still do not have clear answers, and so now they must be answered by you -- by your generation in Russia, America, and around the world. You get to decide."
But a generation of apathetic young people who were born in the last days of the Soviet Union and who grew up in the chaos of the 1990s may care more about money than better relations with Washington, reports Reuters.
Obama confronted political realities head-on: "There is the 20th-century view that the United States and Russia are destined to be antagonists, and that a strong Russia or a strong America can only assert themselves in opposition to one another." It was time, he said, to abandon the old thinking: "Let me be clear: America wants a strong, peaceful and prosperous Russia."
He was speaking to skeptical audiences not only in Russia but in his own country, too. Two decades after the Soviet Union split apart, the two powers still circle each other warily, their national interests often at odds. The Cold War has morphed into a chilly grudge.
Perhaps to tamp down political controversy back home, Obama is making a point of meeting with the Russian opposition. But sessions with the country's two-headed leadership are where efforts must be made to slog through the policy quicksand that divides the two nations, and that could have such an impact on the planet, informs Politico.