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After Norway Massacre, Seliger Secures Life Insurance on Young Campers

Young people participating in activities at the 2010 Seliger summer camp. Alexander Bratersky
After denying that a summer camp massacre similar to the one that unfolded in Norway last year could happen in Russia, the director of the annual Kremlin-sponsored Seliger camp said Tuesday that he would take out life insurance policies on the 20,000 young people expected to attend the event this year.

The government has decided for the first time to take out both life and health insurance policies, and the coverage will be secured from the Sogaz insurer, one of the event’s sponsors, said camp director Alexei Volokhov, Interfax reported.

Volokhov did not specify the amount of the policy.

Last year’s Seliger camp was in full swing when a lone gunman, Anders Behring Breivik, killed 69 people, mostly teens, in an attack on a Norwegian island camp and eight other people in an Oslo bombing on July 22.

Volkov said at the time that a similar attack could not happen at Seliger, noting that the camp had a security staff of more than 100 people and a three-tier access system that he said could not be traversed without a valid identification and a luggage check.

Security arrangements for this year’s camp were not immediately available.

The Federal Youth Affairs Agency, which organizes the event, said 20,000 young people from 80 regions of Russia and more than 80 countries around the world were expected to attend this summer’s camp on the shores of Lake Seliger in the Tver region, Interfax reported.

The camp, which started as a pro-Kremlin event sponsored by the Nashi youth group, will be held from July 1 to Aug. 2 in eight-day shifts. Other than typical camp activities like swimming and making friends, campers will attend seminars delving into 11 fields, including volunteer work, young entrepreneurship, social work, politics and public utilities, the Federal Youth Affairs Agency said.

The educational courses and lectures will last a combined 500,000 hours, the agency said, adding that campers would be housed in 2,000 tents and are expected to use seven tons of paper and 10 terabytes of online traffic via free Wi-Fi during the event.

In years past, President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have met with the campers.

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