The "Sovereign Democrat's" Summer Camp


Putin Camp

The creeping Sovietization of Russia continues apace. Last week, the Washington Post revealed that Politburo supremo President Vladimir "Dzerzhinsky" Putin had inserted himself into the country's primary school text books, assuring his subjects that he is, in fact, responsible for inventing democracy and that, all things considered, Uncle Joe wasn't a half bad leader:

The history guide contains a laudatory review of President Vladimir Putin's years in power. "We see that practically every significant deed is connected with the name and activity of President V.V. Putin," declares its last chapter. The social studies guide is marked by intense hostility to the United States.

Both books reflect the themes dominating official political discourse here: that Putin restored Russian strength and built what the Kremlin calls a "sovereign democracy" despite American efforts to isolate the country.

"Sovereign Democracy" is the title of one of the history manual's chapters. The term was coined by Kremlin strategist Vladislav Surkov, who attended the launch of the two books at a teachers' conference in Moscow last month. Supporters of the president use the phrase to describe the centralization of power under Putin as essential to the building of a stable Russian state, free from outside interference.

A textbook that took an unflinching look at Stalin's policies, including his nonaggression pact with Nazi Germany in 1939 and the mass deportation of Chechens and other Caucasians during World War II, was pulled by education officials in 2003.

According to the new history manual, Stalin was brutal but also "the most successful leader of the U.S.S.R."

The AP reports on the rise of the Komsomol-ish Putin summer camp—learn woodworking, poison-tipped umbrella making and polonium-handling for Mother Russia:

Ten thousand young commissars—their title borrowed from the Communist Party leaders of the Soviet era—came here to learn to be Russia's next generation of tycoons and political leaders. Equally important, they came to prepare to stamp out any challenge from opposition groups to President Vladimir Putin's government.

Finally, a place for Camp Wo-Chi-Ca alumni to send their kids.

Back in April, reason's Cathy Young discussed the censorious media climate in Putin's Russia.