Saturday, August 14, 2021

To Combat Radicalization of Russia’s Young, Kremlin Must Re-Establish Administration of State Youth Policy, Military Sociologist Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 9 – Russian military and intelligence leaders are warning that the West is using the internet and other means to radicalize and criminalize Russian young people, Sergey Pershutkin says. Tragically, the Russian government is doing too little to counter that. Because the situation is now so dire, the Kremlin must restore an administration to oversee this work.

            The Moscow military sociologist says that his analysis of the situation shows that there are now “serious defects” in Russian youth policy, largely because of “an underrating of the administrative aspect of the government’s youth policy.” As things stand now, Moscow is losing control of the young (

            As things stand now, Pershutkin writes in the current issue of the influential Voyenno-Promyshlenny Kuryer, too many officials in the educational establishment don’t recognize what is happening as a threat and officials in the security and military sectors lack the tools necessary to forestall as opposed to respond to radicalization and criminalization.

            Many siloviki had expected that this shortcoming in government management would be overcome as a result of the approval of government documents on youth policy in 2006 and 2014, “but this has not happened. Instead of treating this problem with the urgency it deserves, Moscow officials have proceeded along the same failed paths of the past.

            “The radicalization of the youth milieu in Russia,” Pershutkin says, “has many causes,” including misguided efforts by the ministry of education and science to produce a generation of educated consumers. That may be an outcome the West would welcome, but it can’t be one that Russia will tolerate.

            “As far as our geopolitical opponents are concerned, the United States in its strategic documents calls young people the moving force of change in the 21st century,” and American agencies of various kinds, ranging from the defense establishment to the CIA to the Congressional Research Service, are all working together to influence Russian young people.

            This threat can be stopped only if immediate action is taken, and such action is possible only if there is a presidential administration for youth policy that will direct that effort. Nothing less will do under the circumstances, the military sociologist argues.

            “As the well-known classic said, one mustn’t joke about an uprising.” And that is just what the West is preparing in Russia by means of its youth policy. “Yesterday may have been too early, but tomorrow will be too late.” The protests of 2012 were “a warning bell” about a phenomenon that could spread to the entire country and “end in catastrophe.”

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