Russia: "Nashi" in Moscow

Global Voices Online
Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The second post-election week in Russia started with an exchange of niceties between president Vladimir Putin and first deputy prime minister Dmitry Medvedev: on Monday, Putin said he backed Medvedev to become president, and on Tuesday, Medvedev said he backed Putin to become prime minister.

The first post-election week, however, had been marked by increased presence of out-of-town members of the pro-Putin youth movement Nashi ("Ours") in Moscow - and by the first public appearance of a few members of Mishki ("Bear Cubs"), the new children's pro-Putin movement.

Lyndon of Scraps of Moscow wrote extensively about Mishki and the shock they've caused in the Russian blogosphere and the media.

LJ user odalizka wrote (RUS) about her encounters with a group of Nashi kids in Moscow last week:

As we all know, the young Nashi, dressed in red and white raincoats, with a portrait of [the president] and the words "Our Victory" on them, have flooded all of [Moscow's] downtown, beginning Monday. I thought they'd be taking part in meetings and rallies on large streets and squares; but for the past four days a small group of young people with flags has been hanging out near our office, on a small street in the Chistyye Prudy neighborhood.

The rainy Monday proved especially hard for them - they were hiding in our gateway, which we use as a smoking place and where there's also a "bed for an hour" hotel [...]. The young boys and girls evoked extreme pity and a desire to warm them up, wash and feed them. Then it turned out that the office of [Eduard Limonov]'s party was nearby - and yes, this group had been sent here to guard this very office [of Limonov] permanently. To keep [Limonov's guys] from moving forward in one forceful, united front and snitching away our hard-won victory.

[three photos]

As you see [on the photos], they are blocking traffic as they stand on both sides of the road, making something of an arc with their flags above each car that drives by. In general, they act as if they own this city. Victors and occupants. My colleague today tried to drive when the green light was hers - right when a group of young people in raincoats was crossing the street. She honked at them (because it was red light for them), and they surrounded her car and started waving flags around her. She opened the window and said: "Do wipe the car more thoroughly, it happens to be really dirty." They began to laugh and left her alone. [...]

Their eyes are empty. The Tajiks sweeping our backyard look like Sorbonne students in comparison. Their badges say something like, "Yekaterina Sidorova. Vladimir. Ideology." Some are obviously the leaders - they are dressed in warm red jackets with a portrait of you-know-who. At 5 o'clock sharp, they take off. Needless to say, windows of the cars parked nearby are decorated with Nashi's leaflets, famous all around the [blogosphere] by now, with amazing illustrations and text [more on it in this translation, posted at La Russophobe]. [...]

I mean, you get, right? This crowd had to be a) brought to Moscow; b) accommodated; c) dressed in uniforms; d) provided with [leaflets, flags, etc.]; e) fed; f) paid, obviously. Instead, damn it, they should have put them in school classes and educated them - investing this way into the future of our great motherland.

[...] It's unbearable to see for yourself what kind of people the current regime is relying on.

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