Vadim Gorshenin, Chairman of Pravda.Ru Board of Directors reflects on Navalny’s supporters among the youth.
The intolerance from “fathers to children” and from “children to fathers” on social media and messaging services has been running high lately. Since I belong to the rank of “fathers”, it makes sense to talk about children, so-called Navalnists – the ones who support Navalny.
Those who, at a more or less conscious age, lived through Gorbachev’s reforms, remember how enthusiastically those reforms were received. Those people also remember their feelings about Gorbachev and his reforms at the end of his rule.
Let’s look at the time period from April 1985 to December 1991 and stretch it for 20 years. There was so much enthusiasm in the Russian society in the early 2000s. Afterwards, the tax burden on citizens and entrepreneurs was increased during the 2010s. It all was crowned with the increase of the retirement age.
Not a single public or private school will tell students at history lessons that Yeltsin was a real foreign agent, since his rise to power was supported by the United States. In August 1991, as it is believed, the Russian administration and the US Embassy in Russia were conducting direct cooperation. No teacher will tell Russian students that the purpose of that cooperation was to cause the Soviet Union to collapse and bring “Chicago guys” to power and build the class of oligarchs through loans-for-shares auctions.
Therefore, no one taught today’s young people the lessons that Russia learned from having a foreign agent as president and all the ensuing consequences. Young people in today’s Russia do not know those lessons of history. What do we want then?
I neither support nor supported the amendments to the Constitution that were adopted last summer, especially the part about “zeroing” Putin’s terms as president. Power and the people who embody it have to change.
At the same time, I do not support the illegal actions, as a result of which many young people are now serving administrative arrests. This is also an experience that young people will learn from. If you know that you are going to an unauthorized action, be ready to always be responsible for your actions. If you become an adult, and you feel like an adult – be fully responsible for your actions, as adults do.
Yet, social science is taught at Russian schools halfheartedly, and the majority of young people have no idea about responsibility for their actions for the society and the state.
Several days ago, when I talked to the arrested guys held at the detention centre in the village of Sakharovo, I asked them why they went to the protest action, if they knew that the action had not been authorized. I saw only blank stares in return. They did not understand me, nor did they want to hear me. The point here is the conflict of generations, and they do not even want to enter into discussions with one of the “fathers.”
And in this case, punishment may not help in any way as young people become a bitter fighting class in a hostile environment.
5. What to do
First off, one should revise approaches of government officials to the above-mentioned school subjects – it is not the teachers who are to blame, but the approved textbooks.
Secondly, one could employ charismatic lecturers to read a few lectures to those who are held at detention centres now. It is about time young people should learn the things that they did not learn at schools. As for bigger, global solutions, what if we try to hate each other at a lesser extent?