For Discussion Forum 8, please address any of the questions below. As always: you are required to make a minimum of THREE (3) posts per module. At least one of your three posts should be your own original comment; at least one – should be a response to or comment on something another classmate has posted; the third post can be either your own original post or a comment on a classmate’s post. Keep in mind that your response should NOT simply be a summary of the assigned reading. A higher grade will be awarded to posts that demonstrate student’s ability to provide an original interpretation of the topic while also applying relevant concepts, issues, and theories covered in the module.
1. Read excerpts from the manifesto of the NASHI group (Links to an external site.) . Did any of the statements in the manifesto surprise you? Explain why. If you recall, in his article "Cults and Politics: Propagandizing Russia's Youth," Michael Jaskiw wrote that NASHI encourages "a narrow set of political views and demonizes independent thought." Based on the manifesto, agree or disagree with Prof. Jaskiw's statement. Do you agree that the manifesto indeed impinges on democratic freedoms and sets Russia up "for a future of repressions"? Or do you feel that his concern over Nashi's nationalism is an alarmist over-reaction? Back up your argument with specific examples from the manifesto and other readings in this module.
2. Do you think political figures in other countries (for example, sitting president of the U.S. or, for that matter, presidential candidates during election season) should be ever relying on support from youth organizations? How could a candidate / political figure benefit from such a group? How could young people benefit from joining such an organization? Could such a youth support group become anti-democratic? Whenever possible, during your own discussion, draw parallels to the readings and video materials of this module.
3. In his essay, Michael Jaskiw points out that some scholars have compared Nashi and their actions to "Hitler Youth." If you have read about Hitler youth in your other classes, do you agree with this observation? What are some examples of Nashi's actions that analysts can see as "extremest"? Could you compare the actions of Nashi to a cult? Make sure to back up your arguments with concrete examples.
4. Based on this module's readings and video materials, do you feel that young people who participated in the Nashi rallies were used as political pawns? Or were they exercising their rights to express their free will? What do you think might drive young people to join a political organization or a cult? Compare and contrast with Nashi and cite examples from this module's readings and video materials.
5. Have you heard of the "Pussy Riot" group before you took this class? How (if at all) did the film change your perception of current artistic and cultural life in Russia? Did the film change or shape your understanding of punk art and its place in society?
6. Has any art ever provoked or inspired you to change your thinking or to take action? How so? From what you have read and watched, how effective do you think Pussy Riot's strategy was (or rather still is) to inspire a revolution (riot) through their provocative punk art? Why do you think Pussy Riot believed that a controversial performance was the only way for them to get people's attention?
7. I think there is an interesting paradox that comes out of the multiple story lines of the documentary Pussy Riot: the Movement. When the girls are asked who would make a good replacement for Putin, they answer: Mikhail Khodorkovsky (the controversial exiled oligarch we discussed in one of the previous modules). Later on, without mentioning any specific names, the film's interviewees refer to the tremendous corruption in Russia and wealth that is concentrated in too few hands. But wasn't Khodorkovsky ultimately among those few corrupt individuals? Provide commentary based on the viewings and readings of this module.