A pro-Kremlin political party’s youth wing reportedly plans to form a battalion to dispel the “myth” that the streets are under the opposition’s control.
Opposition leader Alexei Navalny called on his supporters last week to take to the streets ahead of President Vladimir Putin’s inauguration early next month. Meanwhile, a recent survey has indicated that fewer Russians are willing to participate in protests now than in the past decade.
The head of the United Russia party’s Molodaya Gvardiya youth group called on members to be prepared to mobilize within hours against protests in large cities, the Dozhd TV news channel reported Wednesday.
“We should be the most active and the first on the streets at all times,” Denis Davydov said at a Molodaya Gvardia forum in Tatarstan on Wednesday.
The goal of the group would be "to destroy the myth that the opposition controls the street," Dozhd TV reported.
“We have no right to run away if the opposition starts throwing stones. We don’t charge, but we won’t let anyone get hurt,” the news channel quoted him as saying.
The first training sessions of the anti-opposition Molodaya Gvardia battalions will begin in May, Davydov was cited as saying.
Molodaya Gvardiya was established as the ruling United Russia party’s youth wing in 2005 with the goal of instilling “patriotism and pride for the country” in young Russians.