Saturday, June 10, 2017

Putin Regime’s Efforts to Reach Out to Young a Tragicomedy Doomed to Failure, Shelin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 10 – After the March 26 demonstrations in which a large number of young people took part, the Putin regime decided it had to reach out to young people so that they would support it rather than the opposition, Sergey Shelin says. But its efforts so far, largely copied from the past, are a tragicomedy doomed to failure.

            The Rosbalt commentator says that when orders came down from above to construct a youth policy, the executors did not try to think up anything new but rather dusted off various projects that Russian and Soviet governments have used before without thinking very much whether they could work (

            Like his Soviet predecessors, Putin decreed the coming ten years “A Decade of Childhood.” Then teachers were told to use threats to keep their pupils or students from attending opposition meetings.  Next, the regime issued a new package of prohibitions, including about use of the Internet and set up a new Council of Bloggers.

            And finally, the regime “continued the militarization of society,” with much dressing up and the storming of a miniature Reichstag in Moscow. None of these steps made any sense; but this last was the least promising because the Russian defense ministry copied not the Reichstag of 1945 but that of 2017 – a symbol of German democracy rather than German Nazism!

            Because those behind this program do not understand the young and do not have anything to offer them that they could conceivably want, Shelin says, the whole enterprise is doomed to “complete collapse,” alienating those it is intended to attract still further from the Putin regime and its hangers on.

            That should not really surprise anyone, he continues. The current regime in Russia can by rights be called “anti-youth” in its essence.  What young people typically want, those in power not only don’t want but see as a threat to themselves – and so they comfort themselves with the idea that restrictions and repression will be popular. 

            “A regime which embodies the worst phantasies of the failures of the 1990s cannot and will not please those born in the 21st century,” Shelin continues. “What kind of love can there be between them? They are alien to one another.”

            Most Russian young people are “today far from the political opposition,” despite the “panic” among the Kremlin and its agents.  But at least the opposition tries to speak in the language of the young and about their concerns, something the Putin regime at present appears incapable of doing.

            And that leads to a further thought, Shelin says: “A system which doesn’t consider the rising generation its own future had better not try to look too far ahead.”

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