Nashi Says It's Healthy and Planning to Double in Size

ReutersBorovikov
Pro-Kremlin youth group Nashi said Friday that it was seeking to double its membership this year and dismissed reports of its imminent demise.

Nashi leader Nikita Borovikov said at a news conference that while the group was undergoing a reorganization, it was not drifting into irrelevance.

"No one can stop us," Borovikov said.

Kommersant and Vedomosti, citing Nashi members and sources in the presidential administration, reported recently that Nashi was becoming obsolete after United Russia swept to a landslide victory in the Dec. 2 State Duma elections.

Borovikov said the reports were part of a campaign to discredit the group by "small movements" and "individual politicians who have disappeared from the political skyline."

He did not specify which groups or politicians were behind the purported campaign.

Part of Nashi's reorganization includes transferring power to regional centers to implement various projects, including Mishki, or Bear Cubs, a patriotic children's group under the Nashi auspices, Borovikov said.

Nashi intends to organize rallies in Moscow and St. Petersburg with 100,000 activists, as well as send 1,000 activists to Grozny to support reconstruction projects in the Chechen capital, Borovikov said.

Nashi members are also working on the presidential campaign of Dmitry Medvedev in the March 2 election. Medvedev, expected to win in a landslide, has the backing of President Vladimir Putin, to whom Nashi has pledged fealty.