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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Nashi's Record Disqualifies It From Policing

Nashi, the youth group that is the bane of any foreign or Russian politician who has dared oppose the Kremlin, is becoming a militia of sorts. As reported by David Nowak in Monday's issue, the group has struck an agreement with the Moscow police force to maintain public order with brigades of unarmed volunteers.

But what kind of order could Nashi possibly offer? To help provide an idea, here's a sampling of some of the group's activities since it emerged in early 2005.

February 2005: Holds initial training conference for 200 youths in the Moscow region. Beats up and throws out a Yabloko youth leader who snuck in.

March: Declares itself to be a "healthy reaction" to the now-banned National Bolshevik youth group.

April: Calls founding congress and vows to fight corrupt bureaucrats, liberal politicians including Vladimir Ryzhkov and Garry Kasparov, fascists, ultranationalists and U.S. influence. The same day the congress is held, a young man strikes Kasparov over the head with a chessboard. Kasparov and Yabloko blame Nashi for the attack.

July: Holds its first annual summer camp, with lectures about elections, patriotism and the handling of weapons. President Vladimir Putin meets with delegates.

August: Blamed for an attack on National Bolshevik Party activists by masked men wielding baseball bats and gas pistols.

October: Accused by Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov of staging violent attacks on the opposition.

July 2006: Disrupts conference held by The Other Russia opposition coalition, whose leaders include Kasparov, Mikhail Kasyanov and National Bolshevik founder Eduard Limonov.

July-December: Pickets the British Embassy and hounds Ambassador Tony Brenton and his family after Brenton attends The Other Russia conference.

May 2007: Storms a news conference called by Estonian Ambassador Marina Kaljurand to demand that Estonia apologize for its relocation of a Soviet monument in Tallinn. Camps out at the Estonia Embassy for seven days.

September: Forms brigades to head off possible political unrest during State Duma elections in December.

Nashi is believed to be the brainchild of Kremlin deputy chief of staff Vladislav Surkov, who is also credited with creating United Russia and Rodina. Its financing is murky, although it denies accepting money from the state.

The last thing Moscow needs is unrest during the election season. Nashi, however, lacks credibility when it comes to maintaining order. It's clear that Nashi has been involved in violent activities. It's clear that Nashi has its own agenda.

People charged with maintaining order should be impartial and responsible. Nashi isn't.