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What is “Seliger”?

Monday, 19 August 2013 18:55 | Hits: 6807 |

The yearly youth educational forum “Seliger” traditionally gathers a huge number of youth. This year the forum welcomed around 6 000 people. Participants of the “New Youth Policy” were at the forum as regular participants, as well as educators of the “Working Youth” shift of the “Civil Forum”.

The audience at the forum was variegated. The organizers have tried to gather maximum number of people from various youth movements and organizations, mainly patriotic or pro-socialism directions.

So what is the all-Russian youth educational forum “Seliger”?

If the “Seliger” would have gathered youth from all social groups, then participants of the forum would have represented a statistical cut of youth from the whole of Russia. This cut could have been used to understand expectations, desires, their needs and capabilities. However, most of the youth, that has gathered at the forum, wanting to actively spend time, relax, possibly gather as many new contacts as possible and realize their ambitions. There were much less youth, that wants, first of all, to change life in their country and the world. These people came to “Seliger” precisely for knowledge of “how to do this?” and new information “based on what, can I do this?”. There were very little youth that is not interested in intrigues, who read serious books, who look for answers to own questions, not satisfied with authoritative opinions and famous faces, and who regard “Seliger” and other similar forums as meaningless gatherings and “parties”. Unfortunately, politically intrigant youth were many. Because of that, “Seliger” could not be considered as a place with full representation of socially active youth, since the biggest part of the most talented and thinking youth avoid the forum and see no point in participation.

Accomplishments of the forum should also be noted: after V.U. Surkov (ideological creator of the “Seliger” forum) has left, ideological plane was left unfilled, which was then began to be filled with various, often alternative to each other, views. Educational programmes of the forum were not strict at all in following educational templates and opened big opportunities for youth to familiarize with different approaches to management of societies and economies. Organizers were often trying to fit into the programme radical points of view on purpose and diversify it with appearances of Fursov (political analyst, historian), Efimov (rector of Russian State Agrarian University, analyst), Ivashov (vice president of the Academy on Geopolitical Affairs), Starikov (writer and opinion journalist), Fedorov (member of the State Duma of Russian Federation, State Councilor of the Russian Federation) and other famous in certain patriotic circles individuals, bearers of views different from official. Active export of “Western values” and standards via the mass culture is a lousy attempt on state level to return youth to traditional values.

On platforms of “Seliger 2013” we have presented our views on processes, happening in the world, the globalization, versions of our foreign and global policy, big ideas, which we could offer to the world. Also we have discussed problems of low-rise development in a series of roundtables..

Unfortunately, main educational programmes of the forum mostly did not carry any adequate to life knowledge. The programmes contained “managers’” methods and tricks, as well as “schizophrenic” type of psychopractics, wrapped in somewhat scientific terminology, and other pseudoscientific “wisdom”.

Regardless of the shown drawbacks, it is apparent that the informational field of the forum is changing for better. Questions on development of alternative paths of globalization has been discussed, problems of ideology have been raised as well. Disregarding the discussion level is not sufficiently high, considerations are not deep enough, sometimes with purposeful distortion and inaccuracy, however, these topics have already been discussed on such elevation and at a such platform. This is ф doubtless benefit.

This year the head of RusYouth Sergey Belokonev ask Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has traditionally visited the forum, to make “Seliger” a year round platform, to which the head of the state supported.

Of course, these news have gladdened the leadership of “Seliger” and RusYouth, since now the forum will receive funding whole year round, proper accommodation, conference halls and other stationary objects of the forum will be built. However, “Seliger” is, first of all, an educational platform, meaning, that the key question, especially in condition of permanent basis, will be the choice of educational strategy and programmes. Right now “Seliger” lasts 21 day, but the number of actual useful educational programmes is already not enough. What will happen with the educational part, when the forum will function for, at least, 100 days in a year? Where would the organizers find educators with interesting programmes, at least, for this term? But this is not the main question. The main question is what do Russian Federation and its citizens, who pay for “Seliger”, need all this for?

It is possible, of course, to increase the number and quality of entertainment programmes, but then “Seliger” risks finally becoming a fun, pleasurous, but with an empty content. Even now such trend is developing, since youth is often less eager to indulge in the educational part, many of whom nearly sleeping through it. They are more interested in the time, after the “main” part, when they could partake in joyful events of the forum, relax, converse and amuse themselves.

Consider an example of people, who have came to the forum not just to amuse themselves:

“As a participant, I can say, that on educational platforms from the last few lectures I did not take any new, useful information, which I would have liked to. I was not even interested in sharing of my impressions and opinions on the topic. Some lectures, which I have visited, were “close to nothing”. Guys, with whom I have spoken to, also have similar regards of the forum. I asked: “What did you like at the forum?”, the majority have replied: “Putin’s arrival, apart from that we came to enjoy ourselves”.

All in all, leaders of the forum and RusYouth have a difficult question before them:

As an educational platform paid from people’s pockets, will “Seliger” fill young heads with informational garbage whole year round? Or could “Seliger” introduce young people with the best developments in fields of sociology, psychology and other social sciences, and, most importantly, help people to stand onto the path of personal development?

Of course, we suppose that “Seliger” could really become a serious social factor, bringing real benefits, only when any willing individuals, in particular, will be able to take part and contribute any ideas to the development of the forum’s programmes, especially, educational programmes. As well as that, the choice of educational programme will have to be based on objective criterions of usefulness, and not closeness to leaders. If these will not change, another alternative to “Seliger” platform (or several) will emerge, and “Seliger” would be forgotten as another failed project.



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