Putinjugend Is Looking for Nazi
The Russian blogosphere is discussing the Nashi’s latest faux pas: The young Putin’s followers opened an installation at the Seliger Camp that presents a number of Russian and foreign individuals as wearing Nazi hats. Among the “nazists” is the highly respectable lifelong human rights activist and vocal critic of the Kremlin Lyudmila Alexeeva as well as Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Boris Nemtsov etc. (some photos and a description in Russians are here).
It’s not surprising at all to see Nashi calling Kremlin’s opponents fascists. In fact, Nashi have been doing this ever since they themselves were compared to Hitlerjugend in April 2005 (for instance, I was an organizer of one such action). The best way to fight such accusations, they concluded, is to call oneself an Antifascist Movement. As a proverb says, attack is the best form of defense.
There is another problem that some bloggers point to. The Seliger Camp is not a Nashi’s own playground. Thanks to their leader Vasiliy Yakemenko’s position in the government they made it an official state-sponsored event. It means that taxpayers’ money have been spent on mocking and blackmouthing political opposition and human rights activists. One can wonder how it goes with the principles of pluralism and impartiality of the state embedded in the Russian Constitution. Others would just say that instead of wasting budget money on this propaganda crap, the government should have spent them on pensions or, say, repairing roads in the province.