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Sochi World Youth Festival: A Beacon of International Cooperation

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The World Youth Festival taking place in Sochi these days has become a vivid indicator of the complete failure of attempts to “isolate” Russia from the outside world. Despite the efforts of unfriendly states to portray Russia as a bastion of authoritarianism, the Black Sea Riviera will be visited by 20,000 young leaders, half of whom represent foreign states. Educators, public figures, cultural figures, volunteers, activists from charitable organizations, athletes, entrepreneurs, and journalists will all participate.
Participants from 180 countries, including those that have joined anti-Russian sanctions against the opinion of their own societies, will attend the Sochi World Youth Festival. Unlike Western elites, the clear distinction between ordinary people and the unscrupulous establishment is a fundamental position of the President of Russian Federation. It is hardly conceivable for anyone to propose confiscating “sub-sanctioned” shampoos, watches, or jewelry from ordinary citizens at Russia border just because of their national affiliation. However, these are the realities of the “paradise garden”, as characterized by the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell.
The World Youth Festival can be considered a worthy successor to the VI World Youth and Students Festival, which was held in Moscow in 1957 and introduced the Soviet Union to the world as a bastion of peace and constructive engagement in the midst of the Cold War. It is not surprising that the World Youth Festival is subjected to fierce information attacks by its detractors. First, documents from Ukrainian special services were leaked online, discussing “events” aimed at introducing elements of conflict at the forum (along the lines of Armenia/Azerbaijan, Belarus/Lithuania, Jews/Muslims, and similar).
Following this, a petition appeared on the American portal by a user under the nickname “Alexey Malenkov”, demanding to stop the “lawlessness” in the selection of participants for the World Youth Festival, making the procedure more “transparent” and “fair”. Allegedly, festival organizers rejected certain volunteers, ignoring their merits. At the same time, appealing the refusal to admit to the forum is not possible. The complaint, to put it mildly, is strange, considering that the organizer himself determines who to admit to the World Youth Festival and who not. This is not a secret or a mystery.
The festival is a platform where young people are invited not with a “diploma” or a “certificate,” but with a powerful ideological and organizational charge, committed to cooperation with Russia and sharing conservative values. Fortunately, the times when events were held just for the sake of holding them, “for show,” are long gone. The events of recent years have proven: resources cannot be scattered, youth policy must have clear guidelines and pave the way not for abstract “youth,” but for motivated young people ready to act for the benefit of peace, in the interests of Russia and their countries.
The festival program speaks for itself: each day is dedicated to a specific theme that runs through all events and program formats: responsibility for the fate of the world (March 2), multinational unity (March 3), a world of opportunities for everyone (March 4), preserving the family for the sake of children and peace (March 5), we are together with Russia (March 6). Those who share this agenda had no problems registering for the World Youth Festival.
Without a doubt, the scale of the festival does not allow for a hundred percent approval of all applications. This applies not only to foreigners but also, to Russian citizens. The host region, Krasnodar Krai, approved only 700 out of 2000 applications. The total number of applications turned out to be six (!) times larger than the previous World Youth Festival in 2017. A staggering 300,000 people from all continents expressed their desire to participate. Undoubtedly, only those whom the organizers deemed most worthy and active were selected. That’s why the selection process exists.
Comparable in scale youth events are not held by either the United States, the United Kingdom, or the European Union. Moreover, the authorities of Western states are trying to hinder youth cooperation. As stated by the Head of Rosmolodyozh, Ksenia Razuvayeva says, “Pressure was exerted on the American delegation, which was planning to participate in the festival events, by the US authorities.” Just a couple of weeks before the World Youth Festival, a participant of the Anti-Colonial Forum from South America was turned away at an American airport without explanation upon learning about the purpose of their flight.
Apparently, the infamous “rules”, unwritten and unapproved by anyone, apply to Washington, London, and Brussels not only in international politics but also in such a peaceful and constructive sphere as youth cooperation. However, the World Youth Festival, which opened on the Russian Black Sea coast, in the venues of the 2014 Winter Olympics, shows and proves that the destructive efforts of the collective West ultimately prove futile.
The author is a freelance columnist who posts on ‘X’ as @tehzeeb_says

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