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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rodina Seeks Coalition of 4 Left-Wing Youth Groups

Rodina's youth wing has said it wants to form a coalition with three left-wing youth groups to challenge the growing pro-Kremlin Nashi youth movement, but at least two of the groups swiftly rejected the nationalist party's proposal.

Rodina wants to call the coalition "League of United Youth," or LOM in its Russian acronym, which translates as crowbar.

The group would unite Rodina's youth wing with the Union of Communist Youth, a Communist Party project; the leftist Red Youth Vanguard; and the National Bolshevik Party, Rodina youth leader Sergei Shergunov said Wednesday, Interfax reported.

"This organization will be created as a counterweight to the Nashi youth movement," said LOM coordinator Oleg Bondarenko.

Nashi, or Us, a well-funded pro-Kremlin youth movement that claims 150,000 members nationwide and bills itself as "a democratic, anti-fascist youth movement," has been growing steadily in recent months.

Eduard Limonov, leader of the radical National Bolshevik Party, responded to the proposal by saying that his youth-dominated party did not plan to merge with anyone.

The Union of Communist Youth also rejected the proposal. "This announcement came a total surprise to us," said Sergei Dovgal, head of the union's Moscow branch.

Bondarenko said that LOM would stage "prominent and radical" protests, but he did not elaborate. He said the coalition would make defending youth rights its top priority, including free education and medical care and exemptions from compulsory military service.

Bondarenko said LOM would be against the revolutions that toppled governments in Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan. But he said it might borrow from the tactics of the Ukrainian youth group Pora in future elections, including those for the Moscow City Duma in December.