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Thread: Youth Groups Say It's Time to Oppose Putin

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    Youth Groups Say It's Time to Oppose Putin

    Youth Groups Say It's Time to Oppose Putin
    By Francesca Mereu
    Staff Writer

    Two liberal youth movements joined forces on Thursday in their fight against President Vladimir Putin's policies and claimed the time was right for a mass pro-democracy movement in Russia similar to those in Ukraine and Serbia.

    The Yabloko party's youth wing and the fledging youth movement Idushchiye Bez Putina, or Moving Without Putin, signed a pact to work together to fight against what they saw as Putin's increasingly authoritarian policies.

    At a news conference in Yabloko's Moscow headquarters, the party's youth leader Ilya Yashin and Moving Without Putin's Moscow organizer Roman Dobrokhotov predicted Russia would soon have a student movement similar to those that organized successful street protests leading to changes of government in Ukraine and Serbia.

    Ukraine's Pora, or It's Time, movement was credited with being the backbone of the opposition street protests in last year's Orange Revolution, while Serbia's Otpor, or Resistance, movement played a key role in protests that led to the toppling of President Slobodan Milosevic in 2000.

    If such a movement were to form in Russia, the Kremlin would see its worst nightmare come true, political analysts said.

    "Those in power are afraid of a strong youth opposition," Yashin said. "Our task is to shake the students and to urge them to take to the streets. ... In Russia there will be an organization similar to Pora's in Ukraine. It's just a matter of time, we'll get there."


    Yashin said the two youth movements' main duty was to oppose the country's "authoritarian political regime."

    "It is important at this right moment to create a student protest movement. Our mission is to be in the vanguard of social opposition to Putin's regime," he said.

    Pointing to a map of Russia on the wall behind them, Yashin and Dobrokhotov said a host of clenched fist signs, the symbol of Serbia's Otpor movement, showed the places across the country where other student opposition movements operated. They said they hoped to join forces with these groups that currently were scattered and lack proper organization.

    "Our values are liberal democracy, civil rights and freedom, our methods are street protests to influence mass consciousness. We want to teach people how to fight for their rights," said Dobrokhotov, who was wearing an orange shirt.

    Asked whether the shirt was in honor of the Orange Revolution street protests in Kiev, Dobrokhotov said it was a color that "unites those who fight for freedom."

    "This is a color that is not linked to extremism or nationalism," he said.

    Coming after weeks of street protests against the monetization of benefits, political analysts said Thursday that the formation of a Pora- or Otpor-style opposition youth movement in the country was what the Kremlin feared most.

    "The Kremlin has a paranoid fear of what happened in Ukraine occurring here. They fear their own shadow, so can you imagine how much they fear such a scenario?" said Yury Korgunyuk, an analyst with the Indem think tank.

    Independent analyst Andrei Piontkovsky said that in an effort to prevent a strong opposition youth movement from developing, the Kremlin was trying to organize a new youth movement to support its policies.

    The Kremlin's new movement, which has the working name of Nashi, or Ours, will replace the pro-Putin Idushchiye Vmeste, or Moving Together, movement that the anti-Putin youth movement mockingly took its name from, he said.

    Moving Together's reputation has been tarnished by some of its more controversial initiatives, such as burning books of writers it accused of using pornographic language, and has been accused of inducing its student members to take part in rallies by threatening them with sanctions from their universities.

    But Yashin predicted the new pro-Kremlin youth movement would soon meet with strong opposition from liberal-minded students.

    "Those in power are organizing this new movement to make us believe that young people are for Putin. This means that those in power are afraid to see a student protest movement in Russia," Yashin said. "They are afraid of having a Russian Pora. They're right, they're gonna get it."

    Alexei, a student at Moscow State University who asked for his last name not to be published, said that last week a girl from Nashi invited students in the chemistry department to join the new pro-Kremlin movement.

    "She told us that a terrible revolution took place in Ukraine last year, then said, 'You don't want to see the same here, do you? So come and join our organization,'" Alexei said.

    Pora chairman Andrei Yusov said by telephone Thursday from Kiev that a "huge number" of young Russians had contacted the Ukrainian youth movement during the Orange Revolution for advice on creating a similar movement at home. Yusov said he could not put a figure on how many requests his organization had received but said, "Young Russians are interested in founding a democratic opposition in their country."

    Yusov said that the Yabloko and Union of Right Forces' youth sections had also been in contact with Pora.

    In an indication of government fears about an Ukrainian-style opposition movement, the latest music video by Ruslana, winner of last year's Eurovision Song Contest, has been cut for Russian television to remove scenes of the singer, a supporter of new Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, taking part in Kiev street protests.

    In the original video of "Dancing With Wolves," Ruslana appears on Kiev's Independence Square during the Orange Revolution. But Russian television audiences will not see Ruslana playing on metal drums in front of government buildings blocked by the opposition, or see her putting flowers into policemen's shields on barricades.

    Piontkovsky said that a Pora-style youth movement could now have good chances to develop in Russia.

    Moving Without Putin said it has no business sponsors so far and recently organized a demonstration with $100 collected from its members.

    Created in St. Petersburg on Jan. 5 and two weeks ago exported to Moscow, Moving Without Putin was born during the protests against the monetization of benefits. Dobrokhotov said that in St. Petersburg many people from Moving Together had joined the new opposition group.

    "They saw what was going on from the inside. Many of them are ready to testify that they were forced to take part in demonstrations," he said.

    In just two weeks, Dobrokhotov said, Moving Without Putin has recruited 100 members in Moscow. Yashin said that Young Yabloko has 1,600 members nationally. Both youth groups said they had planned to take part in a demonstration against Putin's policies in Bratislava but were denied visas.

  2. #2
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    It's better to mention your source when quoting whole articles.

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    The impression I get is that in Russia one can do pretty much anything he wants and have all the freedom he wants, as long as he does not criticize the Putin government.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Danilo
    The impression I get is that in Russia one can do pretty much anything he wants and have all the freedom he wants, as long as he does not criticize the Putin government.
    ...and even criticize Putin's government. Traditionally, government just doesn't pay any attention to critics. As for, for example, Khodorkovsky, he sits for purely economic reasons (really, no one in Russia sees him as Putin's politic opponent - different scales, like small dog and elephant). I don't mean tax evasion, his mistake was to sell his company to Americans. Yukos formed large percent of Russian GDP and budget. Foreign ownership of this company was threat to national economic security, so he was stopped.

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    Re: Youth Groups Say It's Time to Oppose Putin

    Quote Originally Posted by wilco000
    "The Kremlin has a paranoid fear of what happened in Ukraine occurring here. They fear their own shadow, so can you imagine how much they fear such a scenario?" said Yury Korgunyuk, an analyst with the Indem think tank.
    I desperately trying to understand: if Kremlin has such a paranoid fear, why it doesn't even care about these "youth movements"?
    Кр. -- сестр. тал.

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    Re: Youth Groups Say It's Time to Oppose Putin

    Quote Originally Posted by Scorpio
    Quote Originally Posted by wilco000
    "The Kremlin has a paranoid fear of what happened in Ukraine occurring here. They fear their own shadow, so can you imagine how much they fear such a scenario?" said Yury Korgunyuk, an analyst with the Indem think tank.
    I desperately trying to understand: if Kremlin has such a paranoid fear, why it doesn't even care about these "youth movements"?
    Don't care? They immediately countered it with a new youth movement of their own - "Nashi", aiming for 300,000 members. If they use the same tacticts as with "Idushie vmeste" that just might work....
    "мужчина в самом рассвете сил"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Danilo
    The impression I get is that in Russia one can do pretty much anything he wants and have all the freedom he wants, as long as he does not criticize the Putin government.
    Very right impression! Freedom for all: police is free from it's duties, governers are free from any responsibulity, people are free to deal with their problems on their own.... Even curts are free from the law!
    "Добро пожаловать в реальный мир, Нео" - сказал Морфеус выключая канал ОРТ (с)

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    I think its time to oppose youth groups. You hear that Молодёжка??? You're going down like the titanic.
    Вот это да, я так люблю себя. И сегодня я люблю себя, ещё больше чем вчера, а завтра я буду любить себя to ещё больше чем сегодня. Тем что происходит,я вполне доволен!

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