United Russia Youth Movement Will Be Reorganized

Young Guard activist. Source: sobkor®ruThe “Young Guard,” the militaristic youth wing of the United Russia party, will be reorganized in the near future, the Kommersant newspaper reported on February 14th. “On March 2nd, the four-year electoral cycle is ending, and the organization has begun to analyze its track record and build plans for the future,” the group’s leadership told the publication.

Representatives of the movement justified the necessity of the restructuring. They noted that many of its leaders have recently moved on to other work in the government, including the State Duma, the Federation Council, municipal administrations, and the Committee for Youth Affairs created under the presidential administration.

At the same time, political analysts connected the coming changes with fading interest from the Kremlin. They cited a waning need for the group’s mammoth street demonstrations, which were intended to combat the opposition. “Russia’s streets are already under our control,” Ivan Demidov, the head of the movement’s Coordination Council, told Kommersant in an interview. “Now, more sensible behavior is required. Before, we were presenting ourselves, and now we’ll take to creating.”

“The street won’t empty, but protests against political opponents won’t be needed any more,” Demidov added.

Less than a month ago, news surfaced of a structural reorganization at Nashi, another pro-Kremlin youth group. Nashi will soon close the majority of its regional offices, decentralize leadership, and change the scope of its activities. As with the Young Guard, political analysts attributed the group’s new format with the wish of authorities to move away from street demonstrations, which have led to scandal and embarrassment on numerous occasions.