One for the “We Didn’t See that Coming” file: After the MP declared its intent to form an Orthodox Youth movement in July, Putin vocally protested the idea of forming government-sponsored (say, virtually compulsory) youth movements. Per Interfax-Religion:
“The only thing I would like to warn against is the creation of some new quasi-Orthodox Komsomol,” Putin told the Seliger-2012 youth forum. Komsomol was a youth wing of the Soviet Communist Party.
“No one can be forcefully driven into organizations and associations, but a voluntary unification will, of course, be welcomed and supported,” Putin said.
In keeping with Putin’s commentary, the Moscow Patriarchate registered an organization with the word “voluntary” in its name. Per the Moscow Times:
Orthodox Church officials have announced plans to set up a nationwide youth movement, just days after Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov, formerly the Kremlin’s point man on youth affairs, assumed full responsibility of overseeing ties with religious organizations.
Tens of thousands of young people are ready to join the movement, tentatively called the Voluntary Association of Orthodox Youth, Vadim Kvyatkovsky, who is responsible for youth affairs in the Moscow Patriarchate, told Interfax on Friday.
He said the organization would be open to representatives of the entire political spectrum and be headed by Bishop Ignaty Bronnitsky, who chairs the Patriarchate’s youth affairs department.