North Caucasus Youth Forum Mashuk 2010, some random notes

The basic idea of the forum is rather interesting… all participants come from the Federal District of the Northern Caucasus (Stavropolskij Kraj, Karachaj-Cherkessia, Kabardino-Balkaria, North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Chechnya, Dagestan) plus, at least in the original project, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The programme includes training and classes dedicated to “intercultural interaction” that all participants must attend. Basically, participants from different parts of the Russian Caucasus are given a chance to know each other better, to discuss about the stereotypes they have about each other, and so forth.

“Seliger’s many faces”, my feature from the International Youth Forum Seliger 2010

My feature about the International Youth Forum Seliger 2010 is now online on (available in Italian here). You can find some pictures there or on my Flickr page. I already shared some considerations on my way back from the forum in a previous post… And here’s another recent article about youth policies in Russia as a whole and in the Northern Caucasus in particular, that makes reference to Seliger.

Notes for an article on Seliger 2010

International youth camp Seliger 2010, July 1 – July 8, Russia. Preliminary notes written on a bus from Seliger to Moscow. Pictures will follow in the next few days. Seliger is the location where in the last couple of years the Russian government, through its Federal agency for youth affairs, has been organizing summer camps for young people from all over Russia. The same location was previously used by the much discussed youth organisation “Nashi”.

A foggy day in Nazran, Ingushetia

It takes about half an hour by mini-bus to get from Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia, to Nazran, Ingushetia. In spite of these, residents of one city apparently scarcely visit the other. Anyway, this is a long story, and I’m not going into that… The first thing one notices approaching Ingushetia is the extremely visible presence of military units. Check points at the border between the two republics. Soldiers with automatic gun machines all along the main road, all in camouflage uniforms with heavy bullet-proof vests, some even with their faced covered with balaclavas.

Entrance to the headquarters of Molodaja Gvardija, youth branch of United Russia

Today I met Marija Kislicyna, “kommissar” of the Russian youth movement Nashi. She’s head of the project “Russia for everybody” (“Rossiya dlya vsekh”), and follows programmes meant to improve relations between different ethnic groups living in Russia. The tagline is that it doesn’t matter if you are Russian, Tatar or Chechen, as long as you’re conscious of being a citizen of Russia. I got some more information about Nashi’s programmes in this field, and I will most probably write more about it at some point.

Nashi organizes a summer camp for 20,000 young people coming from different parts of the northern Caucasus

I was expecting flags, huge billboards, and V.V. Putin posters… no wonder I couldn’t find it! Not even a small sign at the entrance suggesting that there are the headquarters of the youth branch of Russia’s ruling party… Anyway, I’ll come back soon to hear more about their activities in the northern Caucasus…