Julie Hemment provides a fresh perspective on the controversial nationalist youth projects that have proliferated in Russia in the Putin era, examining them from the point of view of their participants and offering provocative insights into their origins and significance. The pro-Kremlin organization Nashi ("Ours") and other state-run initiatives to mobilize Russian youth have been widely reviled in the West, seen as Soviet throwbacks and evidence of Russia’s authoritarian turn. By contrast, Hemment’s detailed ethnographic analysis finds an astute global awareness and a paradoxical kinship with the international democracy-promoting interventions of the 1990s. Drawing on Soviet political forms but responding to 21st-century disenchantments with the neoliberal state, these projects seek to produce not only patriots, but also volunteers, entrepreneurs, and activists.
1. Collaborative Possibilities, New Cold War Constraints: Ethnography in the Putin Era
2. Nashi in Ideology and Practice: The Social Life of Sovereign Democracy
3. Seliger 2009: "Commodify Your Talent"
4. From Komsomoltsy-Dobrovoltsy to Entrepreneurial Volunteers: Technologies of Kindness
5. "Arousing" Patriotism: Satire, Sincerity, and Geopolitical Play
Hemment’s book makes a strong case for the importance of continuing to think, listen, and work with one another across conventional divides, both conceptual and geopolitical. Hemment argues that it is intellectually necessary and politically imperative to challenge a resurgent Cold War rhetoric. Her book points to a way forward on both fronts.
This fascinating book presents a highly original account of the similarities between youth policies in Russia and around the world, and gives us a novel, grounded analysis of Russian provincial youth. It is a welcome and major contribution to the study of comparative youth policies.
In this important contribution to the anthropology of postsocialist state, Julie Hemment explores the terrain of state-run youth projects in Vladimir Putin's Russia, providing a sophisticated, elaborated, and differentiated account of highly controversial projects initiated by the Kremlin in the 2000s analyzed in the context of global neoliberal forces and trends.