[Aaus-list] Publ.: The Youth Organization ''Nashi'' (2 vols)

Andreas Umland andreumland at yahoo.com
Sun Oct 21 04:08:49 EDT 2012

New two-volume study on the Russian youth organization "Nashi:"

Ivo Mijnssen:
The Quest for an Ideal Youth in Putin's Russia I: Back to Our Future! History, Modernity and Patriotism according to "Nashi", 2005-2012.
With a foreword by Jeronim Perovic. 
Stuttgart: ibidem-Verlag, October 2012. 256 pages. EUR34.90. 
ISBN: 978-3-8382-0368-3
Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society, vol. 114

The so-called Democratic Antifascist Youth Movement "Nashi" has consistently conveyed demands from official discourse to a youthful audience and been part and parcel of a state-driven project of political stabilization. "Nashi" has emphasized the importance of a powerful state, economic strength and Russian unity against domestic and external enemies threatening the country. Moreover, an idealized narrative of the USSR's Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany of 1941-1945 has played a crucial role as a discursive template for the current situation in Russia. "Nashi" mobilized a large number of young Russians through a mixture of emotional appeal, skillful use of symbolic politics, as well as the promise for professional self-realization. Nonetheless, this book argues, the long-term impact of "Nashi" has remained limited - above all, because of its own internal contradictions.
The study illustrates the interplay between the politics of history and securitization, as well as between the emphasis on historical glory and demands for state-driven modernization, on the basis of three case studies. They cover the foundation of "Nashi" in 2005, the movement's role during the 2007 conflict with Estonia over the removal of the "Bronze Soldier," and the International Youth Forum, which the Russian government and "Nashi" organized at Lake Seliger in summer 2010. Employing a discourse theoretical approach informed by the ideas of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, and making use of official publications, internal documents, interviews and participant observation, this book furthers a deeper understanding of state-sponsored youth politics in post-Orange Russia.

"Mijnssen clarifies the role that historical consciousness plays in the construction of security politics against domestic and external enemies as well as the translation of these constructions into concrete actions with precise conceptual thinking and clear language. This is an excellent study!" Heiko Haumann, Professor Emeritus of East European History, University of Basel

Foreword by Jeronim Perovic
I Introduction
II Background and Context
III Russia's Youth, the Orange Revolution, and "Nashi"
IV "Nashi's" Bronze Soldier
V Seliger: The Foundry of Modernization
VI Conclusions
Appendix I: Brochure "Neobyknovennyi Fashizm"
Appendix II: Instruction Manual "Neskol'ko Neudobnykh Voprosov Rossiiskoi Vlasti"

Order options:

Jussi Lassila:
The Quest for an Ideal Youth in Putin's Russia II: The Search for Distinctive Conformism in the Political Communication of "Nashi", 2005-2009.
With a foreword by Kirill Postoutenko.
Stuttgart: ibidem-Verlag, October 2012. 236 pages. EUR34.90. 
ISBN: 978-3-8382-0415-4
Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society, vol. 115

The so-called Democratic Antifascist Youth Movement "Nashi" represents a crucial case of a post-Orange government-organized formation whose values have broad support in Russian society. Yet, at the same time, in view of the movement's public scandals, "Nashi" was also a phenomenon bringing to the fore public reluctance to accept all implications of Putin's new system. The Russian people's relatively widespread support for his patriotic policies and conservative values has been evident, but this support is not easily extended to political actors aligned to these values.
Using discourse analysis, this book identifies socio-political factors that created obstacles to "Nashi's" communication strategies. The book understands "Nashi" as anticipating an "ideal youth" within the framework of official national identity politics and as an attempt to mobilize largely apolitical youngsters in support of the powers that be. It demonstrates how "Nashi's" ambivalent societal position was the result of a failed attempt to reconcile incompatible communicative demands of the authoritarian state and apolitical young.

"At a time when Russia's political leadership is confronting an increasingly mobilized society, this book helps us understand the communication strategies used by pro-Kremlin groups in their efforts to garner the support of youth for the Putin-centered regime. Capturing 'Nashi's' own 'voices,' this intriguing and detailed analysis of 'Nashi's' self-image and web-based outreach strategies sheds light on the mechanisms of political-patriotic mobilization in semi-authoritarian regimes, as well as on their unintended consequences." Valerie Sperling, Professor of Political Science, Clark University

Foreword by Kirill Postoutenko 
I Introduction 
II Between the State and Apolitical Youth
III "Nashi", the Field of Youth Movements and Political Participation of Russia's Young
IV Towards "Nashi's" Political Style: From Moral Panic to National Megaproject
V Projecting the Movement Onwards
VI "Nashi's" Political Rituals
VII Struggling with Image
VIII How to Be a Distinctive Conformist?
IX Discussion

Order options: 

More information about the AAUS-list mailing list