Meeting at its annual summer camp in Seliger, the Kremlin-led youth group, Nashi, decided to establish bands of militia consisting of disadvantaged youngsters armed with stun guns. Under the plan, hundreds of thousands of Putin’s young stormtroopers would patrol Russia’s streets and have the right to check people’s IDs.
The initiative to establish the Russian Militia Association (Vserossiiskaya Assotsiatsiya Druzhin, VAD) comes from Vasily Yakemenko, director of the Federal Agency on Youth Affairs (Rosmolodezh) and former leader of the Nashists. The organisation would be financed from the state budget and receive administrative support from Rosmolodezh.
Igor Kon, psychologist and member of the Russian Academy of Education, expresses grave concern about the initiative. Such organisations are usually established specifically to carry out tasks given by those in power and those who are giving the orders, Mr Kon says. Controlling these rowdy youngsters may, however, be difficult, he warns.
Yevgeni Bunimovich, teacher and member of the Moscow city council from the liberal Yabloko party, compares the Nashist militia project to the Hitler Youth (Hitler-Jugend) of Nazi Germany. The Kremlin is drawing the nation’s troubled youth to the streets to solve its own political problems. Such a project is educationally detrimental and dangerous for the society as a whole, Mr Bunimovich says.
The idiotism of the Nashists is well established, remarks the Russian contemporary writer, Vladimir Sorokin. First they campaigned to exchange “bad books for good ones,” then they brought together 50,000 Santa Clauses in Moscow, he recalls. This latest initiative is yet another act of insanity and evidence of the ruling regime’s paranoia and idiotism, Mr Sorokin says.