[Marxism] Question on the Russian Nashi youth movement

Jason jg001k at hotmail.com
Thu Apr 2 12:08:03 MDT 2009

I was just looking at their website the other day. I have not been to Russia since Nashi began, so I can't give any direct testimony on their activities. They bill themselves as a "Young People's / Youth Democratic Anti-Fascist Movement."  In my experience living for brief periods in Ukraine and Russia, the term "fascist" is used against anyone who opposes state power or is perceived as anti-Russian (kind of like the term "anti-American" in the USA). The anti-fascist rhetoric is not progressive in any way.  It is quite ironic from a western perspective since many of these groups display obvious fascist symbols and phrases. 

Nashi also seems to be a way for the Putin-controlled Russian government to build a new generation of technocrats and intellectuals who support the government policies and who are willing to stamp out opposition.  Nashi is marketed as a sort of youth-empowerment group to young people. For instance on the Nashi online membership application you'll find stuff like "You have a chance to change your life, to influence world politics, become the new intellectual elite" and asking questions like "Do you want to find your place in life?" and "Do you want to change the world around you?"

My guess is that  a lot of it is nostalgia for Soviet times when people had coordinated camps, activities, gyms and stuff like that for young people that also served as a path to becoming part of the Communist Party elite.  It has just had to take on a nationalist bent in post-Soviet capitalist Russia. 

Nashi is also an obvious response to the youth "democratic" groups the west had been funding and controlling prior to the revolutions in places like Georgia, Ukraine and Serbia in the earlier part of the decade. 

- Jason

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