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...AND RULES OUT 'COLORED' REVOLUTION. Sarkisian further ruled out in his 23 July address the possibility that the Armenian leadership will be overthrown in a "colored" revolution such as took place in Georgia in November 2003, Ukraine in December 2004, and Kyrgyzstan in March 2005, Noyan Tapan reported on 25 July. Sarkisian explained that in each of those countries, the ousted leadership were holdovers from the former Soviet elite, while in Armenia that elite was already removed from power in the early 1990s. Sarkisian further argued that those so-called "revolutions" were in fact coups, and "to be a coup participant means to be a state criminal." He said that it may be possible for the opposition to mobilize up to 30,000 people in Armenia, but this is not enough to stage a revolution. LF
POLISH PRESIDENT SAYS POLAND 'WILL NOT BE PROVOKED' BY BELARUS. "Poland will not be provoked by hostile actions of the Belarusian authoritarian regime," Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski said in an interview with Radio Polonia on 25 July, Belapan reported. Kwasniewski was commenting on a program broadcast by Belarusian Television last week that accused the Polish Embassy in Minsk of espionage, according to RFE/RL's Belarus Service. "We must not let ourselves be embroiled in adventurist campaigns that would create a bad impression that Poland is not a carrier of peace and stabilization," he said. Kwasniewski's statement came amid an escalating diplomatic row between Minsk and Warsaw. Warsaw has accused the Belarusian authorities of interfering in the operation of the Union of Belarusian Poles, while Minsk has accused Polish nationals of spying. The conflict escalated with reciprocal diplomatic expulsions in May, when Minsk ousted Polish diplomat Marek Bucko (see "RFE/RL Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova Report," 27 May and 22 June 2005). RK
KAZULIN ELECTED CHAIRMAN OF BELARUSIAN SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY. Former Belarusian State University rector Alyaksandr Kazulin was elected chairman of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Hramada) at its 24 July convention in the House of Writers in central Minsk, Belapan reported on 25 July. The party was formed in April by uniting the Belarusian Social Democratic Assembly and the Belarusian Social Democratic Party-Popular Assembly (see "RFE/RL Belarus and Ukraine Report," 11 March 2005). Police officers and plainclothes agents arrived at the meeting halfway through the convention and ordered all delegates to leave the premises because of an alleged bomb threat, according to the party's press office. However, the delegates ended the convention only after electing Kazulin party leader. RK
UKRAINIAN, ISRAELI DEFENSE OFFICIALS SIGN COOPERATION AGREEMENT. Israeli and Ukrainian defense officials signed an agreement on 25 July for security and military cooperation, "The Jerusalem Post" reported. Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and visiting Ukrainian Defense Minister Anatoliy Hrytsenko signed the agreement at a meeting in Tel Aviv. The agreement is to lead to cooperation in fighting terrorism, as well as joint military maneuvers and defense industry cooperation. "In these days, when global terror is becoming an epidemic and is sending its arms everywhere, as we saw in London and in Egypt, we believe that all the nations of the world have to unite and cooperate against terror," "The Jerusalem Post" quoted Mofaz as saying. Israeli troops recently returned from Ukraine, where they trained with NATO forces for the first time. RK
CASE OPENED AGAINST UKRAINIAN GOVERNOR. Criminal charges have been filed against former Dnipropetrovsk Governor Mykola Shvets, Interfax-Ukraine reported on 26 July. The charges against Shvets include misuse of large amounts of state funds for personal gain during his tenure as governor from 1999-2003, a Prosecutor-General's Office spokesman said. According to Interfax, Shvets has left Ukraine and is living in an undisclosed location. This is the latest case of a governor appointed by former President Leonid Kuchma being charged with criminal activity. The former governors of Donetsk, Sumy, and Transcarpathian oblasts have all been indicted on similar charges (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6, 17, and 18 May 2005). RK
With the arrival of hot temperatures and summer recess, thousands of young Russians have traded city life for the peace of Russia's picturesque countryside. But at a pro-Kremlin camp north of Moscow, young Russians have little time for barbecues, mushroom picking, and lazy afternoons. They have come to learn how to defend their country -- and President Vladimir Putin. The government, meanwhile, this week approved a comprehensive five-year program to raise patriotic feelings among youth.
This is no ordinary boot camp. It is organized by the pro-Kremlin youth group Nashi and the 3,000 youths are not here to relax. Their day starts at 8:00 a.m. with a 5-kilometer jog followed by political lectures, debating workshops, and physical training.
Gleb Pavlovskii head of the Foundation for Effective Politics has been invited to give lectures at the camp. He told RFE/RL's Russian Service the goal is to prepare young Russians to head off a possible coup against President Vladimir Putin.
"We're still an unstable country, and the lads have to be trained, educated," Pavlovskii said. "What will they do in the event of an attempt such as the one in August 1991, an attempt to overthrow Putin? Sit and listen to lectures? They have to get up, go into the street, and stop the putsch. It means they have to know how to do this. They have to know how to stop and break up a fascist demonstration. Break it up with the use of force. How else?"
Many observers believe Nashi was set up by the Kremlin earlier this year to avert any popular revolution in Russia like the ones in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan ahead the 2008 presidential elections.
The Kremlin has not officially admitted having links to Nashi, but Vladislav Surkov, one of Putin's closest aides, recently flew to the camp.
Life at the camp is strikingly reminiscent of the Soviet era -- youngsters call each other "comrade" and cartoons hung between pine trees portray Soviet heroes fighting capitalists, fascists, and American politicians.
Nashi describes Russian liberal politicians, wealthy oligarchs, and radical youth groups as its enemies and tends to brand them as "fascists."
At the Seliger camp, most youths, like this young man, are also eager to extol the virtues of patriotism. "The young generation is the future of Russia," he told RFE/RL's Russian Service. "If patriotic views are not created now for the young generation, if everybody goes to America and so on, Russia won't hold out for very long."
A manifesto distributed at the camp also promotes strong patriotic views, expressing support for Putin and warning in vague terms about Russia's enemies.
As the caricatures on display at the camp suggest, anti-Western feelings seem to be rife among Nashi members and sympathizers. During his visit to the camp, Putin's aide, Surkov, said Russian youth had to be protected against "the manipulative influence of the West."
Such statements are increasingly common among Russia's political elite, a tendency that is worrying to many observers, such as U.S. Ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbow. "I hear such declarations more and more often," he told RFE/RL. "It's a shame, because we had the impression that post-Soviet Russia wanted to become a member of the West and that the strategy of the administrations of Yeltsin and Putin was to integrate Russia into the world community. Such statements about the protection of young people against the West sound very strange."
Camps such as the one on Lake Seliger are still relatively rare, but similar initiatives could see a sharp rise in the near future.
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov this week approved a governmental program aimed at promoting patriotism among Russian youth over the next five years. The program, called "Patriotic Education for Citizens of the Russian Federation," is due to receive a total of $17.4 million from the federal budget between 2006 and 2010. It outlines plans for summer camps, competitions, and games with a strong focus on sports and the military.
And the names that have already been given to some of the planned events -- "Ready for the Defense of the Motherland" or "We Believe in You, Soldier!" -- speak volumes about the government's desire to boost the prestige of Russia and its ailing army.