Friday, July 20, 2007

The new Putin Youth

I could only hope this is a fake story, or that it's on Russia's equivalent of April Fools' Day. The Kremlin is now sponsoring day camps where young people are taught just how good Putin is. Named "commissars," they're indoctrinated into believing Uncle Vladimir is the good guy, and anti-Putin freedom advocates like Garry Kasparov are evil fascists. When the time comes for Putin to retain power, he won't need to send out the military. He can still appear "nice," particularly when all these tens of thousands of loyal supporters appear to go out on their own.

The latest generation of young Chinese don't know about Tiananmen Square because they were too young or weren't born yet. Similarly, Putin is seizing the chance to recruit those who were too young to realize that, under the old Soviet system, their parents stood in line the entire day just for basic things like bread. I wonder if "Lena" even knows that her home city was called Leningrad for several decades. Probably, as part of the propaganda she's learning. I wonder if Lena knows the full history of the name, and what an important thing it was when its people voted to rename it back to St. Petersburg, no longer wanting the Soviet name meant to "honor" a blood-drenched tyrant.

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