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Cabinet Looks to Expand Powers of Youth Agency

The Cabinet will consider giving the Federal Youth Affairs Agency more powers, including responsibility for developing cultural and moral values among Russia's young people, the government said Thursday.

A draft resolution proposes authorizing the agency to keep a record of state-sponsored youth associations and implement measures on civil and patriotic youth education and promoting tolerance among young people, Interfax reported, citing the government press service.

The agency will also be responsible for the development of international youth cooperation, youth involvement in international projects in the field of innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity and volunteer work.

At the same time, the former head of the Federal Youth Affairs Agency, Vasily Yakemenko, is gathering an informal conference this weekend of commissioners of the pro-Kremlin Nashi youth movement, which he founded in 2005.

The conference will take place at Lake Seliger, 360 kilometers northwest of Moscow, where commissioners will consider the future plans of the movement, which has been experiencing a period of decline.

"At this meeting we will discuss what to do in the next 10 years, what kind of results we want to achieve, and what our goals are," Yakemenko told Gazeta.ru.

Yakemenko, who withdrew from his position as head of the youth affairs agency in early 2012 and opened Esh Pirog! cafe, said he will leave his business and completely focus on politics instead.

Nashi, a brainchild of former Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov, has positioned itself as a patriotic and anti-fascist movement fighting against the possibility of an Orange-style revolution occurring in Russia.

In April 2012, Yakemenko announced that Nashi would be dissolved in the near future, possibly to be replaced by a different organization.

Nashi started an annual summer camp at Lake Seliger several years ago, and the camp is now hosted by the youth affairs agency.

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