Youth agency develops new 5-year program to boost patriotism

RIA Novosti/Kirill Braga
Russian authorities have developed a new major program aimed at raising the patriotism of the younger generation through education about Russia’s history and its current role in international politics and economics.

The program was developed by the Federal Agency for Affairs of Youth and published on a special website designed for public discussion. If approved, the program will be implemented by the Education, Defense and Culture Ministries, the Kommersant Daily newspaper reported on Monday.

The creators of the project claim that in just five years it might yield an eight percent increase in the number of Russian citizens who are proud of their country, and also boost the number of military conscripts by 10 percent.

Additional effects will be more pride and respect for Russian state symbols and monuments, more people taking part in sports and defense-oriented events. The authors of the draft emphasize that if it’s implemented successfully it would effect not only young Russians, but all age groups.

The project’s budget is estimated at 1.8 billion rubles (about $32 million at current rate).

The head of the independent Russian pollster, the Levada Center, Aleksey Grazhdankin, was skeptical about the program’s declared targets. He said it was impossible to measure pride for one’s motherland and suggested that all attempts to do so would be a waste of money.

READ MORE: Most Russians see their country as great power – poll

However, in mid-March the Levada Center conducted major research into Russians’ attitude to their country. They found 68 percent of responders believed their country is a great power that plays a significant role in international politics. This figure is the same as in November 2014, when it reached a historical high.

At the same time, 63 percent of those polled said numerous foreign enemies are threatening the country, and only 35 percent thought Russia had begun to inspire more fear in its enemies over the past few years.