The Kremlin's "Love Oasis"

Facing a dwindling population crisis, Vladimir Putin has created a program eerily similar to the Hitler Youth movement:

Obediently, couples move to a special section of dormitory tents arranged in a heart-shape and called the Love Oasis, where [young Russian couples] can start procreating for the motherland.

With its relentlessly upbeat tone, bizarre ideas and tight control, it sounds like a weird indoctrination session for a phoney religious cult.

But this organisation - known as "Nashi", meaning "Ours" - is youth movement run by Vladimir Putin's Kremlin that has become a central part of Russian political life.

Nashi's annual camp, 200 miles outside Moscow, is attended by 10,000 uniformed youngsters and involves two weeks of lectures and physical fitness.

Complete with veiled racist overtones, the organization resembles the Sturmabteilung (SA) and its intimidation tactics before WWII:

The group's leaders insist that the only connection to officialdom is loyalty to the president. If so, they seem remarkably well-informed.

In July 2006, the British ambassador, Sir Anthony Brenton, infuriated the Kremlin by attending an opposition meeting. For months afterwards, he was noisily harassed by groups of Nashi supporters demanding that he "apologise". With uncanny accuracy, the hooligans knew his movements in advance - a sign of official tip-offs.

Even when Nashi flagrantly breaks the law, the authorities do not intervene. After Estonia enraged Russia by moving a Soviet era war memorial in April, Nashi led the blockade of Estonia's Moscow embassy. It daubed the building with graffiti, blasted it with Stalin era military music, ripped down the Estonian flag and attacked a visiting ambassador's car. The Moscow police, who normally stamp ruthlessly on public protest, stood by.

...

Yet, by comparison with other outfits, Nashi looks relatively civilised. Its racism and prejudice is implied, but not trumpeted. Other pro-Kremlin youth groups are hounding gays and foreigners off the streets of Moscow. Mestnye [The Locals] recently distributed leaflets urging Muscovites to boycott non-Russian cab drivers.

These showed a young blonde Russian refusing a ride from a swarthy, beetle-browed taxi driver, under the slogan: "We're not going the same way."

Such unofficial xenophobia matches the official stance. On April 1, a decree explicitly backed by Mr Putin banned foreigners from trading in Russia's retail markets. By some estimates, 12 [million] people are working illegally in Russia.

Put mildly, this movement toward fascism in Russia is troubling. It is also disturbing that this story is not making more headlines here in the States.

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  • ||

    (Even) the (Liberal) New Republic had a story about Nashi in the last issue.

  • ||

    This sounds like an excellent idea! We should have our own version of this, so that both of my remaining supporters can enroll their kids.

  • ||

    Ex-KGB officer with ties to organized crime turns out to be a power-hungry dictator when he gets into office. Wow, who couldn't have seen that one coming?

    Oh that's right...our president.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/06/20010618.html

  • ||

    At least the next Cold War will start 500 miles east of where the last one did.

    And we have Central Europe back.

  • Episiarch||

    At least the next Cold War will start 500 miles east of where the last one did.

    Cold War? Considering the similarities to Nazi Germany, if one were to speculate wildly, it would be more accurate to say "the next World War will start 500 miles east".

    I doubt that Putin is stupid enough to start a real war, but you never know what will happen or who might replace/wrest power from him.

  • ed||

    It is also disturbing that this story is not making more headlines here in the States.

    What?! And interfere with The Endless Election Cycle and Lindsay Lohan Deathwatch?
    Are you insane, man?

  • ||

    Just in time for the remake of Red Dawn.

    WOLVERINES!!!

  • ||

    "The Endless Election Cycle and Lindsay Lohan Deathwatch"

    Hell, all I've seen on local news for the last week is THE MICHAEL VICK STORY!!!!!

    Slow news week, I guess.

    CB

  • ||

    And yet it amazes me how anti-gun the rest of Europe is. How many times do they have to be attacked before they realize the Swiss had it right?

  • ||

    See also, Lebensborn.

  • ||

    Wow, I never thought there would be a "love oasis finds you" story.

  • thoreau||

    And yet it amazes me how anti-gun the rest of Europe is. How many times do they have to be attacked before they realize the Swiss had it right?

    Rifles in homes won't do anything to stop the next attack from the East.

    Europe needs missile defense far more than we do.

  • Edward||

    If it weren't for all the excitement over Ron Paul, this would probably be getting mopre coverage.

  • ||

    I have been worried about Russia after the USSR fell. Now things are going pretty much the way I was afraid of. Meanwhile,the media has pretty much focused on the latest stupid celebrity tricks. Ah, bread and circuses.

    Here, where I live, the last afternoon local radio news show changed formats, from news and talk to ..... espn sports radio.

    I love sports, but it is entertainment, like a movie or a concert, not something that really matters, like our leaders and their hijinks.

  • ||

    Don't be so sure that the American people would react negatively to this news. There are a few significant segments of the population who would be hunky-dory if we adopted a program like this here.

  • SPD||

    Fascism, communism, tom-ay-to, tom-ah-to. They're all totalitarians on the inside.

    Um, has anyone seen the Religious Right lately?

  • ||

    If it weren't for all the excitement over Ron Paul, this would probably be getting mopre coverage.

    *cocks head* Rrrrrr?

  • ||

    There are a few significant segments of the population who would be hunky-dory if we adopted a program like this here.

    Yeah, we have to outbreed the Messican menace. Come over to my place and do your racial duty, cracker babes.

  • ||

    There are some pretty good arguments for allowing private gun ownership.

    Fighting off the Russian military is not among them.

  • Kohlrabi||

    "Um, has anyone seen the Religious Right lately?"

    *sigh*

    No, SPD, we were talking about the Love Oasis, but I was getting bored by such ubiquitous boilerplate. Please, tell me something about the religious right!

  • shecky||

    Mark Steyn must have a great audience in Russia.

  • ||

    And once again, joe shows his true colors. He obviously has never seen the great libertarian flick Red Dawn.

    He was probably watching some sort of leftist propaganda like Stand and Deliver while that was out.

  • ||

    Rifles in homes won't do anything to stop the next attack from the East.

    Perhaps not, but it would offer a large deterrent. Wars aren't won with missles and planes anymore, it's with small arms and guerilla fighting. Putin knows this all too well with a small territory like Chechnya. Imagine if every eastern european country had an armed population.

  • ||

    Reason.com is parroting anti-Russian propaganda from a British tabloid? What's next, will you quote the Weekly World News articles that state that Putin is the AntiChrist?

    I don't expect much of your site, you are Libertarian demagogues after all, but the very least you can do is avoid reposting propaganda for the British government. Please remember that Russia and the UK are having a little crisis right now, so articles saying "RUSSIA = HITLER!!!1" are bound to appear in less scrupulous British media outlets.


    What amuses me most is they manage to compare Russia not only to Nazi Germany (ignoring the millions of Russians who gave their lives fighting fascism) but also to Animal Farm. I suppose they couldn't compare Russia to Nineteen Eighty-Four, since that's what the UK resembles these days.

  • ||

    Hey Anti: A is B. Suck on that, motherfucker.

  • VM||

    *passes out drunk from applying the Drinking Rulez to 5:02 comment.

  • ||

    There are some pretty good arguments for allowing private gun ownership.

    Fighting off the Russian military is not among them.



    joe,

    Fighting off the Russian army is not a good arguement for private gun ownership if you live in the United States.

    If you live in the Ukraine, or Georgia, it makes a lot more sense.

    Oh, and Red Dawn was B movie allegory for the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Certainly private gun ownership was extremly effective against the Russian military there.

  • Platonist||

    Rex Rhino:

    If private gun ownership was extremely effective against the Russian military in Afghanistan, why did the United States and Iran bother providing military aid to the Islamists? Couldn't they have handled them on their own with their AK-47s? Why did it take 10 years to drive them out?

    Also, how do you feel about Canada arming their citizens with machine guns and RPG-7s, to be used after the inevitable American invasion? Good idea?


    RE: Warty

    I'm sure you'd think that 2+2=5, if the market decided it was so. Communists worship the state, Libertarians worship the market, both wish to make people slaves to the object of their worship.

  • ||

    Shouldn't Russia and England make an alliance so they can carve up Germany and force France to stay in the Med?

    They really shouldn't turn on each other until they have about 15 production centers.

  • edna||

    29 comments and not a single b-52 reference. shame, people, shame.

  • ||

    Also, how do you feel about Canada arming their citizens with machine guns and RPG-7s, to be used after the inevitable American invasion? Good idea?



    I think it is a fantastic idea. Definitly a good idea!

  • fyodor||

    There are some pretty good arguments for allowing private gun ownership.

    Fighting off the Russian military is not among them.


    How about for fighting off a Russian occupation?

    Sound like something else that's going on in the world right now? Like maybe two things? One starts with I and the other with A....

  • ||

    Libertarians worship the market, [and] wish to make people slaves to the object of their worship.

    I'm sure this is supposed to mean something, but I can't fathom what. Very poetic, though.

  • Tarry||

    Slavery to the almighty dollar, amen.

  • ||

    Russia never changes, Czar, commies or whatever Putin is; it is always run by a dictator, it always wants to dominate the near-abroad, it always desires control of a warm-water port and it always fears the peril from the east. Why any developments in Putin's Russian surprise us is a bafflement.

  • ||

    joe | July 31, 2007, 4:17pm | #
    There are some pretty good arguments for allowing private gun ownership.

    Fighting off the Russian military is not among them.

    As fyodor and others have pointed out, our small arms won't beat back Soviet/Russian tanks, but will be good against their supply lines, commandeered civilian infrastructure, etc.
    I'm sure as a KGB man, Putin knows what the Soviet Partisans did in WWII:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_partisans

    As for the Russian "youth movements," they ain't shit/as good as the Nazis untill they got a Horst-Wessel Lied...when they do, grab your guns Amuhrica, the Russkies are comin!!!!!!

  • ||

    And once again, joe shows his true colors. He obviously has never seen the great libertarian flick Red Dawn.

    Oh, that's right. Best Documentary Oscar in 83, right? ;-)

  • ||

    The Iraq, Afghanistan and anti-Nazi partisan analogies are inapt. The idea of the Russians attempting to occupy and govern European countries is farcical at this point. Its neighbors to the east are NATO members! If they were to try to take over half of Poland or Belgium, they'd be driven out by the US and allied militaries, not romantic guerilla-chic European partisans.

    In a confrontation between a belligerent Russia and European countries, Russian action would take the form of raids, military strikes, and main-force actions against a big army attacking from the west. Citizens with rifles wouldn't matter in the least in any plausible scenario.

    Maybe the Ukraine example is valid.

  • ||

    Why any developments in Putin's Russian surprise us is a bafflement.

    I'm baffled that people think the developments, broadly speaking, are bad. Are you nostalgic for Brezhnev or something? Do you miss the shoe-pounding-on-podium guy? By Russian standards, Putin is a frickin SAINT.

  • ||

    joe: It only seems absurd now. Russia doesn't need to fight all of NATO. Putin only needs to make a military large enough that the western powers won't want to get involved. There were several opportunities during the cold war to liberate a couple of the eastern countries but none wanted to risk a war.

    The guns aren't meant to be a main attack weapon. They are meant to be an occupation weapon, long after the army has been destroyed. They're hard to root out completely and can create a high cost for occupation from constant harassment. You don't need to defeat the military, you just need to create a high enough cost (either body counts or money) for them not want to stay.

  • ||

    joe says: Rifles in homes won't do anything to stop the next attack from the East.

    You mean the way rifles in Iraqi homes haven't done anything at all to bedevil the sole military superpower in the world? Does the liberal Democratic version of the Second Amendment excise the part noting that an efficient and well-armed (aka "well-regulated") militia is necessary for a free state?

  • ||

    jh,

    How about you read the answer I already gave to that point, about six and a half hours before you raised it?

    But hey, gotta love the description of the situation in Iraq as a "free state."

  • DannyK||

    Hey, nice transition to a gun control argument! Those are always some calm and productive, after all.

    How do you say "Second Amendment" in Ukrainian, by the way?

  • ||

    Why did Nazi Germany invade its neighbors? Lebensraum. Does this scenario make sense for the Russians? Not really.

    The Russians that don't move out of their country may be xenophobic as hell, but they stand far more to gain extorting money from Europe through high oil and natural gas prices than they do from invading the territories that they no longer occupy. The whole Nashi thing is kind of freaky, and most of them are a bunch of misguided tools at best and assholes at worst. But fears of an expansionist Fascist Russia are, it seems to this observer, a bit hyperbolic at this point.

  • دردشه عراقية||

    Thanks

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