Nashi is having trouble in naming a new leader, reports Kommersant. In a press conference yesterday Nashi leader Vasilii Yakemenko announced that Nikita Borovikov will head Nashi after he steps down after the 2008 elections. Many believe that Yakemenko is slated to head a new government department on youth policy.
But the announcement wasn’t free of controversy. It was known that Yakemenko favored Voronezh Commissar Marina Zademid’kova to lead Nashi. Apparently, according to a anonymous source Yakemenko’s favorite was squashed by Vladislav Surkov himself. “Surkov told [Yakemenko] that he was crazy and that [choosing] Zademid’kova had to reversed, therefore she lost,” the source said. If the source is correct, the intervention of Surkov suggests that the Kremlin isn’t going to let Nashi’s fate be decided without their approval.
Kommersant also states that the interference of the Kremlin’s chief ideologue has threatened to undermine Nashi’s charter. Yakemenko denied that Borovikov was a shoe in for the post. Borovikov himself suggested that there would be a primary “like in real elections” for the next leader of Nashi. Could Nashi be headed for a crisis in leadership?
Kommersant suggests that one problem is that it appears that the Kremlin is unsure of what Nashi’s future direction will be; a future that is certainly tied to Yakemenko’s. Putin seems undecided whether a centralized youth policy is even feasible. “Establishing a single center for youth management–I think that’s in the past,” Putin said in a meeting with pro-Kremlin youth groups on 24 July. “Instead, the state should create conditions that enable young people to achieve their potential – in careers, private life, culture, and politics.” In addition to Nashi, several youth groups back the Kremlin–Mestnye, Molodaia gvardiia, Molodaia Rossiia, Novye Liudi, and Nasha strana. The Kremlin might just decide that getting youth to achieve their potential might best be accomplished through diversity (but not too diverse!).
And this lack of concrete policy has Yakemenko in stasis. He looks to leave Nashi, but current conditions require him to stay and possibly require him to prove himself useful for the future. As Yabloko youth leader, Ilya Yashin told Kommersant, “They gave him the understanding that first it is necessary for him to curry favor, and they gave him the motivation–to lead more actively in the election period. If he can prove himself necessary, then he could get something in return.”
You Might also like
By Sean — 11 years ago
For the last few days Russian Live Journal has been reeling over the posting of a video showing the execution of two men, a Tadjik and Dagastani, by masked figures claiming to be members of a little known fascist group called National Socialism/White Power, reports Kommersant. The two minute video, posted as “The Execution of a Tadjik and Dagastani” by one “Antitsigan” (i.e. Anti-gypsy) shows the men stating, “Russian National Socialists arrested us” before one masked figure in camouflage slits the throat of one and shoots the other in the head. The two masked men then give a “Sieg Heil” as the video fades to a Nazi flag with punk rock guitar barrage soundtrack.
RFE/RL calls the two minute video, which isn’t the first of its kind, a “hate crime video.” I call it a political snuff film. Some like Aleksandr Belov, the leader of the Movement Against Illegal Immigration claims that the video is a fake and a “provocation.” “There are two versions. This is either committed by someone who sincerely considers that this is how it is necessary to fight non-residents or this is a provocation to discredit the Russian idea and stir up a fight against its supporters,” Belov told Kommersant. Belov also noted that the video may be connected to the detention of Maksim Martsinkevich, aka “Tesak,” the leader of the Nazi group Format-18, during his trial in a Moscow city court.
Also speaking to Kommersant, Aleksandr Berkhovskii, an expert at SOVA, thinks that the video is the real deal. “It doesn’t look like this clip was staged. It’s very natural and looks genuine.” He also admitted to the Associated Press that “I’ve never seen anything that blatant.”
The identities of the two men are still unknown.
The Russian MVD has opened an investigation into the video, but a spokesperson stated that it was too soon to determine if the video was real or not. Legally the authenticity of the video is not as much an issue for it violates several statues of the Russian extremist law. Under the law, any representation that seeks to insight racial or ethnic violence is considered criminal.
Is the video real or a fake? That is the question that has made the video one of the most discussed topics on Russian Live Journal. The video has since been removed from most websites.
Writing on his site, ZheZhe user aleke writes, “It makes absolutely no difference to me who did the executing, who was executed, or whether it was an execution at all. . . Nationalism has shown for a long time now nationalism doesn’t mean love for one’s country but hated toward others. Can there be talk about some kind of “Russian nationalism” if Russians are only mentioned in slogans and speeches and at the center of attention are Caucasians?”
Another ZheZhe user, dimantrump, dismissed the video as a provocation by the FSB. “What is the motive?” he asks. “It still turns the screws. Still more strongly enslaves the Russian people. In the end, as past experience has shown that such incidents ultimately play into the hands of the occupiers.”
I personally think that the question of its “reality” isn’t important beyond the need to bring the murders to justice. After all, given the sophistication of media technology is there any absolutely sure way to authenticate such a video? Granted, I have not watched it, nor do I intend to. But to me this video’s political resonance says something more about spectacle of violence that inhabits our modern lives rather than anything specific about nationalism or fascism in Russia. As far as I’m concerned the members of “National Socialism/White Power” are merely reproducing what has already become a staple in our media diet. From the “real” videos of Chechens beheading Russian soldiers, Beslan, Daniel Pearl, Abu Ghraib, suicide bombings, and school and workplace shootings (and the media’s obsession over them) to the “fake” torture scenes of shows like 24 and other films, hasn’t the gap between the real and the fake long collapsed, making their distinction merely academic. What is important is the connection between politics and extreme violence, or really the use of extreme violence as political spectacle. After all, has not the previously virtually unknown National Socialism/White Power made an instant name for itself with nothing more than a two minute commercial?Post Views: 625
By Sean — 12 years ago
It looks like Eduard Limonov’s National Bolshevik Party can’t catch a break. Once again the radical organization has been denied registration as a political party. The decision by the Taganka district court upholds the previous ruling by the Justice Ministry. This is the fifth time the NBP has been denied official registration as a political party since 1998. Under Russian law, political parties must have at least 50,000 members to register with the Federal Registration Service. Depending on who you ask, the NBP boasts a membership of around 15,000.
Once again, Limonov vows to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, a move that will probably not amount to much. But Limonov must take a stand and besides mass actions by his organization, this is pretty much the only option he has.
However, the lack of registration has not deterred NBP activities. Last week several activists were arrested in Voronezh and Moscow at NBP protests calling for Russia to either recognize or incorporate break away regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
With all the talk about the rise of fascism in Russia and the news of more racial killings (RFE/RL has a timeline and articles here and here) and beatings (here and here) primarily in St. Petersburg, one wonders about the anti-fascist movement. By anti-fascist, I don’t mean the hollow proclamations by the government and Nashi against fascism. I mean the anti-racist skinheads and hardcore punks that fight the Nazi skinheads in the streets. A search brought me to a critical but revealing article about “Russian AntiFas.” Here’s an excerpt:
In theory, anti-fascism sounds hard as nails: anarchists, punks and skinheads running around and looking for brawls with Moscow’s Nazi-skinhead underground. When I first envisioned this story, I thought it’d be filled with Chopper-like braggarts, righteous, scar-covered thugs living in squats and in a constant state of war. After all, whatever you say about Russian fascists, they’re definitely scary. Last year according to the SOVA Center, which gathers info on racial attacks, they were credited with 28 murders throughout Russia. It’d seem like anyone looking to take them on would have to be equal parts crazy and tough. In other words, anything but dill.
Furthermore, it’s understandable why they’re a bit camera shy. The basic tenet of AntiFA is to challenge the growing neo-Nazi movement in Russia with force; they want to make it hurt to be a Nazi. But they’re vastly outnumbered by Moscow’s real skinheads, who according to the Moscow Bureau for Human Rights numbered 5000 two years ago, the last time anyone bothered to count. Last November, ultra-rightists mobilized up to 5000 to goose-step down Tverskaya holding racist signs in broad daylight. According to Dima, a skinhead I talked to who is neither AntiFA nor racist (boneheads, as enlightened Russian skins call their racist/fascist brethren), AntiFA activists on a good day can only muster a group of about 50 and their total number in Moscow is no more than 200. I figured they must have brass balls.
So, it was a bit of a surprise when Ukrop asked me to meet him at Bilingua. Nothing against the cafe, which is a favorite among bearded intellectuals and other assorted pencilnecks, but it’s not exactly the hard-assiest place in Moscow. Nor did his lunch of beer and grenadine add to the baby-faced punk’s intimidation-creds. By the time he started telling me that the fascists were on the decline and AntiFA was rising, I realized I’d been had.
AntiFA is just another western fad, no different than riggers, cigar-smoking, and sushi. Russia’s always had a minority of Westernizers in its capitals, looking to the West for trends that they blindly copy. The trend AntiFA’s membership is mimicking is the same soft stuff as the Food Not Bombs and Critical Mass crowd in the States. I got to know those two movements well when going to school in Minneapolis, one of the last places in the States where punk was practiced by people beyond high school. They’d do their thing, occasionally causing a traffic jam or starting an organic garden on an abandoned lot, and nobody would pay them any mind. They bought books at the local anarchist book store, ate vegan, espoused totally impractical politics, and spent their weekends crowding into mattress-lined basements to watch punk shows. They’re as unthreatening as someone with a shaved head can be. That, to the AntiFA crew, must seem like paradise.Post Views: 395
By Sean — 6 years ago
Just when you thought Pussy Riot would fade into the media ether (Gazeta.ru removed its “Pussy Riot Affair” link from its main page, after all.), the rage continues–from all sides. And now there’s plans to form a new Orthodox youth organization. Will it help swell the ranks of the street fighting faithful. Initial signs appear doubtful.
Still, there’s been a burst of Orthodox militancy of late. Here’s a list of recent events: A call for Orthodox believers to form patrol squads to tag along with police to combat “enemies of the faith” (Thankfully, the police declined). The outspoken Father Vsevolod Chaplin blesses the measure, saying that “It’s a step in right direction.” A group of Orthodox activists descends on G-Spot, a museum of erotic art in Moscow, with bricks in hand and threaten its curator, Alexander Donskoi. A similar group of Orthodox, accompanied by a NTV camera crew, no less, burst into Teatr.doc to disrupt a so-called “Eyewitness theater” where a panel of witnesses to the Pussy Riot trial were giving their impressions.
Then there are reports that Alexandr Sidyakin, the United Russia deputy who came up with the law upping the fines on protests, is working on a blasphemy law based on the German and Austrian codices. He later denied that any such law is in the works.
For their part, the so-called “enemies of faith” have not remained silent. On 17 August, the bare-chested activists of FEMEN cut down a cross in central Kiev to protest Pussy Riot’s two year prison sentence. Then ten days later, a previously unknown group, Narodnaya Volia, or People’s Will, the namesake of the 19th century Russian terrorist group, took a chainsaw to three crosses in village of Smelovsky in Chelyabinsk Province and another in the district of Varavino-Faktoriya in Arkhangelsk. According to Narodnaya Volia’s statement:
“The cutting down of the Russia Orthodox Church crosses in the village of Smelovsky, Verkhneuralsky District of the Chelyabinsk Region and in the city district Varavino-Faktoriya in Arkhangelsk is part of our operation against the Russian Orthodox Church called Krestopoval and was carried out by the military wing of our Movement, the flight combat units Neizvestnyye [the Unknown]. . . Russian Orthodox Church signs are a response to the statement on the creation of Orthodox militia, the Russian Orthodox Church’s reprisal of the Russian girls from Pussy Riot, and the insult by Archpriest Dimitrii Smirnov of the prominent Russian revolutionary movement leader Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. . . We demand the immediate release of the Pussy Riot members. Attacks against the Russian Orthodox Church will continue until our demands are fully met.”
Then there is this week’s Russian tabloid sensation: two women were found murdered in Kazan with “Free Pussy Riot” written on the wall in their blood. RuNet was immediately ablaze with all kinds of conspiracy theories (Why didn’t initial reports mention the blood tinged “Free Pussy Riot”? The cops must have planted it . . . ) and cries of provocation from Pussy Riot supporters, and their denunciation by Pussy Riot foes (Archpriest Smirnov: “The blood of the murdered women of Kazan is on the conscious of Pussy Riot’s supporters”). The cops immediately dismissed any real connection to Pussy Riot and passed it off as the work of a crazy person.
The police were right: the killer turned himself in and revealed that his Charley Mansonesque scrawl was meant to throw off the cops.
Sill, the discourse on Pussy Riot gained new intensity.
And now Vedomosti reports that there are plans to create the All-Russian Association of Orthodox Youth. Interesting timing. Actually, the idea seems that have been in the works as Putin was asked about it at this year’s Seliger summer bash. He supported the idea as long as it didn’t become “a new quasi-Orthodox Komsomol.” Wouldn’t that be ironic if it did?
The Pussy Riot Affair only gave the idea of a Orthodox youth organization more purpose. According to Vadim Kvyatkovskii, the meeting’s coordinator, Pussy Riot showed that missionary efforts among youth require intensification. Surveys have shown that youth tend to support Pussy Riot more and often have negative views of the Orthodox Church. That said, Pussy Riot bogey-women have the potential to draw religiously inclined youth into defending the faith. During the trial, the church affiliated group Georgievtsy increased its membership from 400 to 600. Even United Russia’s youth wing, Molodaya gvardiia is looking to get into the act. It’s leader, Maksim Rudnev, said that there is room to work with Kvyatkovskii’s new Orthodox youth organization.
But perhaps its too soon to lump Kvyatkovskii’s group in with the Orthodox fanatics. Pussy Riot may spark new earnest, but not militant urgency. One sign of this is that Kvyatkovskii has ruled out the idea of his new youth group joining the Orthodox patrols. When asked about his position on the matter in an interview on Slon.ru, he responded:
Militias are a form of united citizens, but no more. In general, I don’t know of a single such voluntary patrol really existing. I know that where were several PR efforts, but I am not confident that this most effective way to unite youth. For example, we have young guys actively participating in helping Krymsk. This experience showed them that such volunteer groups now have much more demand. We aren’t very close with the tendencies toward some conservatism. On the contrary, we talk about the openness of the church and our activities, and we are prepared to make steps towards any interested people. Therefore we are not close or interested in the idea of a street patrol as some kind of watchdog.
It seems that in the search for new militants, Russian Orthodoxy’s street fighting men will have to look elsewhere.
Picture: RidusPost Views: 1,659