Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Moscow’s Youth Programs Failing and Nowhere More So than in the North Caucasus, Study Finds

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 28 – The Kremlin has been worried by its loss of influence among young people and talked a great deal about new programs to teach out to the rising generation, but a new study concludes that its approaches are failing and nowhere more so than in the North Caucasus where young people form a larger share of the population than elsewhere.

            At a Stavropol conference on contemporary Russia, Grigory Dobromelov of the KGD Group, presented findings of that organization’s latest research on young people and youth policy. These findings are devastating and should serve as a wake-up call for the powers that be (akcent.site/novosti/13435).

            In the Russian population, there are approximately 40 million young people, but the government’s programs do not involve more than 1 to 1.5 million. “The remainder,” Dobromelov says, “are simply forgotten.” And not surprisingly, they are listening to others and going their own very different way.

            Still worse, the government’s youth organizations have been sinecures for “young careerists” who care more about feathering their own nests and rising in the bureaucracy than about carrying out their mission. In fewer than a third of the country’s missions have they even managed to pass since 2008 when Rosmolodezh was founded new laws on young people.

            “In more than ten regions,” the researcher says, “there is not a single specialist with training in the subject responsible for work with young people.” They know little about them, but spend, in many places, most of their money on themselves rather than on activities. In North Ossetia, for example, 80 percent of the state’s youth budget goes for officials.

            And he concludes that given rapid growth rates in the population in regions like the North Caucasus, this split “will only grow.” He suggests the government should change course and work with young people “not via state agencies but through educational centers” like the North Caucasus Federal University or the Southern Federal University.

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