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© RIA Novosti. Anton Denisov

Russian youth leader urges votes for Nashi

by Andy Potts at 27/07/2011 17:49

Pro-Kremlin youth group Nashi could become a political party, according to its founder Vasily Yakemenko.

Yakemenko, who is now head of the Federal Agency of Youth Affairs, suggested registering the controversial youth group at the Seliger 2011 Forum.

And he called for a sea-change in Russian politics to embrace a new wave of parties bursting with youthful ideas, in contrast with the “crooked” opposition.

 

The only solution

Yakemenko, who was most recently seen failing to win compensation from journalist Oleg Kashin over claims that Rosmolodezh was involved in an attack on him in November, outlined his vision for the “true heroes” attending Seliger, Nashi’s site reported.

“Our task is to solve problems by ourselves and make our country stronger, better, cleaner and more comfortable,” he said.

“The task of the liberal crooks is to find as many problems as possible, but instead of solving them, just shout about them.”

And his words were echoed by Nashi press secretary Kristina Potupchik, who told gazeta.ru that if her group became a political party it would be “a party of real action”.

 

Active dissent

However, previous “real action” from Nashi has not always been well received.

The notorious “calendar girls”, who donned their frillies to wish Prime Minister Vladimir Putin a happy birthday last October were linked to the youth movement and caused an outcry.

And there were allegations from supermarkets that a crusade against out-of-date produce on the shelves saw activists bring their own aged yoghurts to stores before returning to stage a mock “funeral” before bemused shoppers.

Other youth groups have also been accused of fabricating their own PR: Molodaya Gvardiya was burned by allegations that they faked videos showing them fighting forest fires last summer.

 

High-level backing

However, despite the controversy, Vladislav Surkov, regarded as United Russia’s ideological mastermind, has backed the group.

After the youngsters copped more media criticism over a raunchy anti-corruption campaign, he told them they were on the right track – as long as they kept within the law.

“I understand that there are issues that cannot be solved without provoking public attention in some extraordinary way, but I am asking you to keep within the limits of the law,” Surkov told the group in April.

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