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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Surkov Considers Future of Youth Groups

Vladislav Surkov, first deputy head of the presidential administration, has summoned leaders of the three largest pro-Kremlin youth movements to discuss future strategies, Vedomosti reported Wednesday, citing unidentified sources within the movements.

Mestniye youth group spokesman Andrei Gulyutin said Wednesday that Surkov, widely seen as the chief Kremlin's ideologist, had met only with leaders of the Nashi movement.

Nashi head Nikita Borovikov refused to comment on the report Wednesday, while spokespeople for Young Guard, the third group said to have met with Surkov, could not be contacted.

The youth groups, which claim memberships in the tens of thousands, were created with Kremlin aid and guidance for the apparent purpose of countering potential street protests by its opponents of the type that led to regime changes in disputed elections in Georgia in 2003 and Ukraine in 2004.

A Young Guard source said the youth groups would have to abandon street demonstrations and focus on environmental issues following December's State Duma elections and the presidential vote in March, Vedomosti reported. The source said priority also should be put on creating an open forum for intellectual discussion among youth.