Barbara Frye, Transitions Online
With rumors of Nashi’s demise floating amid embarrassing revelations about launching cyber attacks on some media and paying people to troll the Internet and show up at rallies, it’s a perfect time to release a documentary about the pro-Kremlin youth group.
But there are reasons beyond the recent headlines that make the Danish film Putin’s Kiss worth seeing now, for it hits on what role a younger generation is going to play in the Russian political landscape from now on.
The film, which was released in the United States this month and is making the festival circuit, tells the story of Masha Drokova, a young woman who rose through the Nashi ranks as a protégé of the group’s mastermind, presidential aide and later cabinet minister Vasily Yakemenko.
In brief, we follow Drokova from her time as the group’s spokeswoman to her ambivalent departure from Nashi. Along the way, we see her struggle to square her allegiance to the group’s feel-good slogans about a strong, prosperous Russia with Nashi’s dark side, which sees political opponents as enemies of Russia who must be silenced. Doing so involves disrupting their speeches, making sure they cannot hold rallies, and even defecating on their cars.
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