Putin would've made a marvellous villain, were he fictional.
I'm no political commentator — I lack the acumen and the experience — so I'm going to relate what I can about the Russian people.
The youngsters' sentiments — "There's nothing to do there" and the sarcastic "Putin's going to order a hit on you for that" — are both omnipresent. Young people would either take high-paying jobs in Russia (not necessarily as amorally as Anton) or at least dream of living for a better place: Europe, Thailand or the richer parts of North America. 50k RUB/month is a lot of money outside of Moscow or Saint-Petersburg. As long as you don't rock the boat, politically, you might even be able to do it.
There's seemingly two sides to observing the political situation in Russia; let's call them the Putinists and the Awakened. Of course it's deeper than that, but, like the US political debate, there are two "major" sides.
Putinists hold on tight to the notion of Russia always being right; whatever accusations come its way — including its people or its government — are brushed aside by saying "But what about your sins?", — or, whataboutery / whataboutism. It's a trope ascended from the local mentality: to disregard blame as long as there's anything in the opponent's personality that could paint them as also fallible. The bullshit political "discussions" that take place on the First Channel (government-sponsored, of populist content) reeks of whataboutery. Needless to say, so is this country's geopolitical attitude. Putinists are mostly older and more concerned with the country being perceived as "good".
Awakened are more aware of the true situation in the country and may or may not be actively involved in pro-democratic and liberal political protests that take place. They are who say that Russia is to be blamed for a lot of things, internally and externally, and that something has to be done about those. They are rarely represented in televised debates and "discussions", and rely on social media and word of mouth to spread their ideas. They are mostly young and passionate about their country's development and quality of life.
Putinists side with United Russia — the de-facto ruling, Putin's party in Russia — and Putin himself because they're in power. Awakened often hold disdainful attitude towards both but have few political figures to look up to, Alexei Navalny being the most prominent one as of late.
Putinists still consider the US to be Russia's major opponent on the geopolitical scene, and fighting it — their biggest goal. Awakened feel alienated in their own country and, like the youngsters in the article, consider moving out rather than stay and fight, because to them, there's little left to fight for.
The way the Russian political discourse takes place on a day-to-day level is affected heavily by the state-owned media framing the situation in a certain, Russia-centric way.
Sanctions from the US? The enemy's attack, rather than a political punishment for extralegal annexation of a sovereign country's land.
A terrorist attack on Russian soil? "Them evil brown-asses", rather than Russia being retaliated for disturbing a volatile region and its people for its own imperialistic benefit.
Putin, shirtless on a horse? A youthful, strong leader, rather than a man lacking in self-esteem and needing public attention to support it.
May add more as I continue reading