>The kids aren’t all right


Burning the midnight oil, I stumble across a report about Russian policymakers plans to knock the country’s youth into shape with a mixture of authoritarianism (no Halloween celebrations, thank you very much), Mary Whitehouse style moral panics about TV violence and officially orchestrated youth organizations and events – in additional to the already well reported Nashi grouping, there is now a sort of Putin scouts movement called Mishki (Teddy Bears), to put post-Soviet patriotic backbone into the Russian 8-15. To judge from this report Miski lacks much in political sophistication, so let’s hope its activities are vaguely fun, although as its website lacks even a decent computer game I doubt it.

Moving on from the temptation to spend too much time gawp with the usual mixture of horror and amusement at the Potemkin civil society in (post-?) Putin Russia, it struck me that official Russia’s notions of youth and its problems provide interestingly contrast with the liberal-civic perspective, which seems to inform debate about the limitation of disengaged youth CEE and W Europe, where the blame is self-critically heaped on politicians and political institutions. Although in CEE there does seem to be shared that civic/patriotic values have been eroded by the consumerist hedonism.

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