Friday, December 28, 2007

"Nashi" hate Britain. But like British education

"Vladimir Putin's controversial youth movement is to send a select group of activists to study at British universities - despite its disdain for Britain and its harassment of the British ambassador in Moscow."

A bunch of future Cambridge students?

A report by the British newspaper Telegraph, which has received attention in the Russian media as well (here an example; here another one at "Nashi are going to study in Britain despite hatred toward that country"). It is not hard to see why a simingly boring sujet about a group of young Russians going abroad to study broke into federation media channels. Two events made "Nashi" (see their Wikipedia entry) famous: their blocade of Estonian Moscow Embassy and harrassing of British Ambassador in Russia. Nashists and their backers see Britain as the nest harboring Russia's enemies, most promiment of whom are Mr Berezovski, Mr Zakayev and now gone Mr Litvinenko. Kremlin, which is behind this youth movement, recently ordered British Council offices in the country shut down like it was done also in Bangladesh, if I remember correctly.

Here you can see Ambassador Antony Brenton's hate-page on Nashi official website.

According to the instructions on Nashists' official page they send their best young activists to universities and colleges in the following countries:

United Kingdom
New Zealand

I don't know how did New Zealand and Ireland make into the list, they aren't known in Russia as "russophobic", but one country which could be there is Estonia, because Estonia has even bigger Nashi hate-page than the UK (I am not overly serious here, though in fact Estonia scores much higher than the UK in Pisa index). But the absence of our country in the Nashi recommended list for education is understandable, because Estonia, as opposed to the UK (see Telegraph's piece) doesn't give visas to known or suspected Nashi members.

One thing, which should be known about Russia - justified or not - is that country considers its own educational facilities, especially universities, among the best in the World with some foreign students from impoverished C.I.S countries, the Middle East and Africa studying in Moscow, St Petersbourg and even lower key local alma maters. Even if this notion isn't true in Russia it is considered comme il ne faut, not patriotic to openly diminish the role of the motherland's education.

Nashi, which proclaim themselves "the best of the best", with the activists promised to receive positions directly in the state related corporations and in the Kremlin administration if they are good enough (the former leader and founder of Nashis has recently been promoted). According to the official website the goal of the movement is "forming new generation of leaders", "taking place as the next ruling class" of the country. Obviously, they aren't as foolish as to believe own state propaganda. The future generation of Russian elite can't be just graduates from some Moscowsransk State Academy. If you know what I mean.

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