Seliger: Teaching Patriotism in Today's Russia

Many political commentators claim that Russia has entered the era of a new national awakening. Indeed, current Russian elites encourage a strong sense of patriotism among the citizenry. Perhaps most of all they focus on educating the contemporary youth. Every year, thousands of young Russians gather at lake Seliger to attend a week-long forum. At the camp they learn not only about the ways how to make a change in contemporary Russia, but also about Russia's place in the today's world, the importance of national pride and about the threats to Russian sovereignty.

Kristiina Silvan attended the forum in 2013 to collect data for her undergraduate dissertation, focusing on the views of young Russians vis-á-vis civil society. This talk will discuss not only the results of her study, but also her experience of the forum itself; the experience of becoming subject to a completely different worldview and the impact this alien identity-building had on her.

Kristiina Silvan is a recent graduate from the University of Glasgow, where she did a joint MA degree in Russian language and Central & East European Studies. She is currently studying International relations and European studies in the Central European University in Budapest. Her academic interests include the contemporary Russia–Europe relations, Russian civil society and Russian public opinion.

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