Ninety years ago this week, 194 delegates from youth groups from all over revolutionary Russia met to consolidate themselves into an all-Russian youth organization. Of the 194 delegates, 176 had voting rights, (the rest had the right to speak but not vote). The voting delegates claimed to represent 120 different youth groups with a total membership of 21,000. The core groups were two pro-Bolshevik groups, the Socialist League of Worker youth based in Petrograd and the Third International from Moscow. Of the delegates, half (88) were Bolshevik Party members, 38 were communist sympathizers, and 45 were non-party youth. Also present were three Social Democratic Internationalists, one Left Socialists Revolutionary, and one Anarchist. The week long conference, which ran from 29 October to 4 November finalized the creation of the Russian Communist Youth League, or Komsomol.
To commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Komsomol, SRB will follow the history, reminiscence, and celebrations occurring throughout Russia over the next week.
Да здравствует Комсомол!
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?
- By Sean — 12 years ago
The Nashi summer camp at Lake Seliger opened itself up to media on Saturday, giving reporters a chance to get a glimpse of how members train to become tomorrows “Our Army”. As I wrote last week, Nashi has adopted a platform that encourages its youth to join the Russian military. According to Kommersant correspondent, Ekaterina Savina, the camp is much more. In addition to physical fitness, the day of a Nashist is filled with seminars and lectures on ideology and chances to meet with some of Russia’s important political figures. It serves to not only to indoctrinate youth with the ideology of Putin; it seeks to reproduce it by concretizing loyalty through the opportunities of networking and social mobility Nashi membership provides. To older Russians the similarities to the Soviet era are striking. They should be. It seems that all that is missing are the little red neckties.
A day in the life of a Nashist(ka) at Seliger is similar to any summer camp, but with a more political edge. The Nashi camp does more than say the Boy or Girl Scouts, which pledge an ideology of God and Country. Included among the patriotic themes is the devotion to one man: Vladimir Putin.
The day runs like this: A Nashist(ka) awakens at 7:30 to the Russian national anthem. They fold up their tents and head to Prospekt “Sovereign Democracy”, where they line up for the toilet and showers. Standing in a long line with a full bladder is made “easier” by organizers leading campers in songs like “Prekrasnoe dal’eko,” “Goluboi shchenok” and “Chunga-Changa”. A half an hour later the mandatory five kilometer run begins. Along the run, the activists are treated to slogans that encourage enthusiasm and hygiene. They even stole one from President John Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
The Nashisty were ready for media day. They all dawned their red Nashi t-shirts. They all listened attentively to the lectures on the “Ideology of President Putin” and “Russia as a potential superpower.” They heard praises from their political elders like Gleb Pavlovskii and were encouraged to raise the birth rate from Nashi leader Vasilii Yakemenko. Several Nashisty even sported t-shirts that read in agreement “I want three”. All the themes of the lectures can be found in Putin’s platform for the future of Russia. Nashi itself seems to be part of his legacy—a generation of youths trained and indoctrinated with the ideology of their President. It was all so well orchestrated and planned for the media to see. Camp Seliger was a well oiled machine. It all seems so Soviet . . .
The camp, however, is not all politics. Attendees can get their fill of canoeing, hiking, swimming and all the typical summer camp stuff. Youth groups, after all, have to provide some fun. Still all of the politics can wear on a youngster. One young person decided to leave the camp because “When we finish all of our classes, swimming is already forbidden.” Another attendee from Moscow, found a compromise. Sure all the patriotic fluff took a lot of time away from leisure in the sun and by the lake, but the camp still gave them the chance to be out of the city.
Estimates on exactly how many members Nashi has are difficult to find. Last year organizers hoped to attract at least 300,000 youths, with 3,000 hardcore activists. This years camp has 5,000 attendees, a marked increase from last years 2,000. Since the group is indirectly sponsored by the Kremlin, one can only guess that the funds at their disposal are enormous. To get more information about the Nashi movement and its role in contemporary Russia, I suggest readers check out Douglas Buchacek’s MA thesis, “Nasha Pravda, Nashe Delo: The Mobilization of the Nashi Generation in Contemporary Russia.”
- By Sean — 2 years ago