“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Perestroika (Russian: rebuilding). I was seven, and my mother hugged me as close as she could, when outside our apartment in the centre of Moscow, soldiers were shooting, and tanks were bombing the government building a mile away.

Rebuilding a country is a huge undertaking. It is not an event or an announcement in the news. Perestroika was proclaimed when I was born. Seven years of change, and my nation was still at a crossroads, yet again in civil unrest. On that day, shooting stopped. I was walking in the street with my parents feeling that new-born Russia was full of hope, enthusiasm, and aspirations. My generation was praised to have the brightest future, a very happy and fulfilling life...

...that day proved to be just another milestone. Despite many achievements, the transformation is far from over even now. New ideas continue to clash with the old order and habits. My praised generation is now often referred to as disillusioned. My beautiful, resourceful, diverse country with a glorious history still cannot fully thrive in the modern world.

I will go home. I will lead the change in a state-dominated economy with all my knowledge and passion. I will build a success story of a company substantial enough for others to take notice. I will use it as an opportunity to be heard and make positive change on the state level. My generation was not granted a thriving country — we were granted the right to make our country thrive.

— Alexander Kamenskov