The Putin Youth
One might feel tempted to praise Nashi's opposition to cigarettes and alcohol, the scourges which have driven Russia's male life expectancy down to near-Third-World levels. But it is perfectly possible to combat toxic addictions without immersing people in a crypto-fascist cult atmosphere, as the success of anti-smoking campaigns in the US and Britain shows. Similarly, the startlingly un-fascist-like policy of encouraging sex at Nashi summer camp does not mean that the organization is sex-positive in a healthy sense; rather, it is cynically trying to exploit the natural instincts of young people to boost Russia's low birth rate.
Nashi is yet another sign of the hideously-disappointing wrong turn which Russia has taken since Putin's rise to power in 2000.
Labels: Eastern Europe