|How the sausage is made|
The most accurate part about their self-given description is "youth movement". It is believed that Nashi was originally created in response to the Ukrainian Orange Revolution; the powers that be (i.e. the United Russia party) feared the power of the nation's youth and its ability to bring about change. Nashi was their way of
coopting harnessing this and putting to work for themselves. Nashi has been accused of having two branches: one devoted to "respectable" activities like "exposing corruption"[note 1] and general good (getting expired foods out of stores, etc.) and a second branch tasked with carrying out illegal activities, like discrediting political dissidents.[note 2]
This second task is surprisingly important, as Vladimir Putin's government is built in no small part on the claim that there is no serious alternative to himself or his United Russia party. By doing outlandish stunts like flying penis-shaped helicopters at speeches given by opposition leaders or pooping on the cars of opposition leaders (yes, those both have happened) the opposition is effectively trivialized, which helps cement Putin's power.
A slightly older — both in inception and in demographics — movement is RNU, which does the same things but in the name of… their own Russia National Unity party.
- Read: political dissidents
- Putin's Kiss.