No to privatization of the festival!
We publish the appeal of representatives of the regional organizations of the Russian Communist Youth League (RKSM) and other leftist activists of Russia in connection with the 19th World Festival of Youth and Students in Sochi. The appeal is open for signatures; you can join it and subscribe to the appeal.
To WFDY President Nicolas Papadimitrio
WFDY Secretary General José Angel Mauri De Toro
First Secretary of the Central Committee of the RKSM Darya Mitina
First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Young Communist League of Belarus Vladmir Isakov
First Secretary of the Central Committee of the RKSM (b) Michael Belyaev
First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Komsomol Alexander Podzorov
First Secretary of the Union of Communist Youth (SCM) of the Russian Federation Denis Sommer
OPEN DECLARATION OF REPRESENTATIVES OF REGIONAL OFFICES OF THE RKSM AND LEFT ACTIVISTS OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
We, the undersigned representatives of the regional offices of the Russian Communist Youth League, as well as members of communist organizations belonging to the National Preparatory Committee, and leftist groups operating in the territory of the Russian Federation, appeal to the leadership of the World Federation of Democratic Youth and secretaries of member organizations of the National Preparatory Committee to resolve the situation created around the XIX World Festival of Youth and Students.
In our opinion, in the course of preparation for the XIX World Festival of Youth and Students, trends prevailed that led to the festival being turned from its purpose as a platform of dialogue for forces advocating progress and social justice into an event whose content is fundamentally contrary to the original goals and objectives of the festival movement.
First, the process of selection for the festival was designed in such a way that representatives of left organizations were placed in unequal conditions compared with bourgeois youth organizations. Selection for the festival was held through regional preparatory committees, and the selection criteria were made in such a way that people who worked closely with city administrations were more likely to pass. And these, in most cases, were representatives of bourgeois and conservative political forces. In particular, the list of requirements for festival participants included a number of requirements that, in the conditions prevailing in the Russian Federation, only representatives of bourgeois forces closely associated with the authorities could achieve; for example, the existence of social projects at the municipal level. Left activists are simply not allowed to attend such events.
Second, there was a bias against left-wing activists in the regions during the interviews for participation in the festival. The composition of the expert commissions, which engaged in the interviews, included representatives of power structures often hostile to left forces. Representatives of a number of departments, for example, Novosibirsk and Khabarovsk, were asked questions of a provocative nature, not related to the theme of the festival, the answers to which in the current political situation in Russia could be used against activists.
Third, the authorities of the Russian Federation created obstacles to participation in the festival by progressive and left-wing forces. Since the overwhelming majority of the regional preparatory committees of the festival were representatives of bourgeois forces, units of left-wing activists passed through regional selection. It was the state that paid the way to the festival. The remaining members of the left organizations that make up the National Preparatory Committee (RKSM, RKSM (b), LKSM, Komsomol) were able to get to the festival only on the federal quota. But the conditions for participation in the federal quota are built in such a way that most of the leftist activists could not get to the festival. First of all, due to the fact that travel on the federal quota must be carried out by activists at their own expense. Due to the large distance of the country’s territory, most activists could not afford to travel to the event. Thus, the left forces were actually cut off from participation in the event.
Fourth, until the very last moment, that is, until October 11, neither WFDY President Nicolas Papadimitriou nor those IOC responsible for accreditation were accredited for the festival.
Fifth, the majority of the festival’s agenda is occupied by bourgeois forces. The WFDY has only 5-7 sites for its programs, with a distance of about a kilometer. The remaining 30-40 rooms were allocated to subjects of a bourgeois nature, for example, meetings with bankers and top managers. As a result, on the territory of Sochi, two festivals were created: the big one – pro-imperialist, and the small one — anti-imperialist.
Sixth, despite the protest of the WFDY and Arab delegates, representatives of right-wing forces are coming to the festival: including Turkish nationalists from Erdogan’s party.
Seventh, not only was the price of tickets for charter flights even higher than scheduled flights, but on October 9, without explanation, Russian officials denied several hundred foreign delegates the right to participate in the festival despite the presence of visas and paid tickets. According to various estimates, this is up to a thousand activists of WFDY member organizations from India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Congo and other countries. It is necessary to pay tribute to the activists from these countries — they ignored the dispute and flew to Sochi.
Eighth, the speech of WFDY President Nicolas Papadimitru was cut from the broadcast.
The above facts show that there was a deliberate policy by officials to prevent attendance at the festival by members of left forces whose political position is different from the leadership of the Russian Federation. Thus, instead of a festival promoting leftist, anti-capitalist and anti-fascist ideas, the WFDY received an event whose goal is public relations for the Russian authorities, rather than promoting the goals and objectives of the festival movement. The leading role in it is not played progressives and leftists of the Russian Federation, who can answer questions that are of interest to the communist, socialist and democratic forces of the world, but by pro-government youth, who in fact does not share the goals and objectives of the festival, and are not supporters of socialist and democratic ideas.
To date, we must declare that the XIX World Festival of Youth and Students in the Russian Federation has been fully privatized by bourgeois forces, and ideas originally laid down in the framework of the festival movement have been completely shunned. And we do not understand the behavior of the leadership of WFDY. Indeed, the above-listed facts were sufficient to cancel the XIX World Youth Festival in the Russian Federation, as, for example, the XV WFYS in Algeria was canceled in 2001.
Regardless of WFDY’s decision, the undersigned representatives of the RKSM regions will make every effort to ensure that such a situation will never be repeated in the future and that the festival movement regains its good name among the fighters for truth and justice.
For a festival of democratic and socialist forces!
Against the distortion of the principles of the festival movement!
Representatives of regional branches of the RKSM:
Moscow City Branch of the RKSM;
St. Petersburg City Branch of the RKSM;
Novosibirsk Regional Branch of the RKSM;
Krasnoyarsk Regional Branch of the RKSM;
Rostov Regional Branch of the RKSM;
Amur Regional Branch of the RKSM;
Kaluga Regional Branch of the RKSM;
Omsk Regional Branch of the RKSM;
Kurgan Regional Branch of the RKSM;
Ivanovo Regional Branch of the RKSM;
Altai Regional Branch of the RKSM;
Yakut Republic Branch of the RKSM.
Activists of other left organizations:
The Left Bloc of Tomsk;
Obninsk City branch of SCM RF;
Kazan City branch of LKSM RF;
Representative of the OKP Central Committee.
Resources of left orientation:
Left and trade union activists from:
October 14, 2017
Update 10/17: The original Russian page appears to not be working, but can still be viewed via the Internet Archive here: https://web.archive.org/web/20171015212456/http://rksm.ru/?p=645