Leading pro-Kremlin Youth Activist Quits in Protest

Alexei Radov. Source: molgvardia.ruAlexei Radov, a top representative of the pro-Kremlin Youth Guard movement, has walked away from the organization in an act of protest. On January 14th, the youth leader released a scathing statement condemning the group for pushing “authoritarian ideals” and “populism.” The Young Guard movement is sponsored by the United Russia party, and has been accused of using violence and heavy-handed means in its activities, including attacks on opposition figures.

Radov, the group’s top campaign manager, was loudly critical of the group:

“It’s sad when something that you have put your hands, heart, time and talent into turns into an ugly monster. Today, the Young Guard ideology is populism… and that’s not my ideology. Instead of democratic values, [they are] promulgating and establishing authoritarian values which I cannot be close with.”

Radov wrote that he was tired “of the greed, lack of integrity and the all-consuming ideology of party members and bureaucrats, who no one will ever change. The elections have decisively turned into a farce, a parody of the citizens’ expression of their free will.”

“The practice of political repression is continuing in the country,” the youth leader continued. “The pro-Kremlin parties and movements operate under conditions of rigged political competition, [or] more accurately, they altogether don’t experience any competition and don’t plan on ever experiencing it.”

Radov also noted that many Young Guard activists were fed up with the organization. He told Kommersant that promises have not been kept to the volunteers. “They promised us a lot in regard to the elections, and people haven’t even been given the chance to become aides to deputies.”

The former “younguardsman” called on all other members of the organization to follow in his example and “quit the ranks of the Young Guard and engage in something publicly or at least personally useful and meaningful.”

Andrei Tatarinov, another Young Guard leader, told the Moscow Times that Radov’s accusations were “unfounded.” Dismissing the importance of Radov’s work in the organization, Tatarinov commented that the former activist was previously “displeased with his low salary.”