Date

2013

Department or Program

History

Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

Nina Tumarkin

Abstract

Since becoming President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (2000-2008; 2012—) and the ruling elite have attempted to mobilize the youth for political participation in support of the regime. A number of pro-Kremlin youth organizations emerged in tandem with Putin’s accession to, and consolidation of, power. My thesis explores the formation, development, and transformation of these pro-regime youth organizations in Russia from 2000 to 2012, with a particular focus on Nashi (“Ours”), established by Kremlin officials in 2005. As the most visible and influential politically-oriented youth organization to appear in Russia during this time period, Nashi was, for a time, a powerful symbol of patriotic youth activism and official state politics. Along with my historical discourse on Nashi and the pro-Kremlin youth movement, I identified a set of youth groups whose activities aimed to oppose or undermine the personal figure and politics of Putin, and correspondingly, Nashi. In doing so, I examined the divergence of political imperatives and competing interests between Nashi and the opposition youth movement that made youth politics specially contentious during the first decade of the twenty-first century.

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