Zaurbek, 27, sees President Vladimir Putin as the guarantor of Russia's stability. Egor, 18, says bluntly that Russia's leaders are "unworthy".

What both have in common is that neither can remember a time when Putin, in power since the last day of 1999, was not in charge of Russia as president or prime minister.

In an election next week, he is set to win a new six-year term that — if he completes it — would enable him to overtake Josef Stalin and become Russia's longest-serving leader for more than 200 years.