The Movement of the First: comeback to pioneers or a union uniting anime fans with activists?

Members of informal communities say they at the moment question the movement but do not deny its value

The Movement of the First Russian children and youth movement was offered to be created almost a year ago at a meeting of the Supervisory Board of Russia — Land of Opportunities ANO. Now it starts to develop in all 89 regions of Russia. Tatarstan was one of the first to back the initiative. Realnoe Vremya and the regional office of the branch explain what it will do and what schoolchildren, students, teachers and parents think about it.

The Movement of the First starts to develop in all 89 regions of Russia

Children themselves launched an initiative of creating such a movement that could unite lads from different and remote parts of our country at a meeting of the Board of Russia — Land of Opportunities ANO in April 2022. The idea was backed at federal level. The Russian Congress of Children Public Organisations took place in Moscow in June, and on 14 July 2022 Vladimir Putin signed federal law On Children and Youth Movement. Later, he chaired the movement’s Supervisory Board.

Now the Movement of the First starts to develop in all 89 regions of Russia. The Republic of Tatarstan was one of the first to support the initiative. There have been two meetings of the regional office of the movement now. The first of them was at Uram extreme park on 27 January where the structure and key areas of the movement were considered as well as scheduled events. The second was held in the format of a strategic session.

“I am neutral to this movement now, but with a touch of distrust”

It is planned in the short run to find such formats that would be interesting for every child, not only activists and school Olympiad participants.

The moment of choosing the name of the movement was especially illustrative. The current name was pronounced by the children themselves who participated in the first session on 18 December. Then this was followed by several stages of voting where the current name got the absolute majority of votes.

“I joined the Movement of the First right after the first session that took place in Moscow. First of all, I see a prospect for myself, getting to know such determined and talented lads. Secondly, it is an opportunity to represent interests and projects of my republic at federal level and receive support for their implementation. Thirdly, of course, it is feeling the spirit of a big community. The Movement of the First club hasn’t yet been created in my school. But a club Mr Suleymanov visited and talked with lads opened at Orion Youth Centre in Chelny on 6 February,” said 16-year-old member of the movement Kamila Yunusova from Naberezhnye Chelny.

The movement was created to unite different children and young people and create an environment to develop absolutely every child: from those who hobbies are quite “traditional” to representatives of different subcultures. Members of informal communities at the moment express their doubts about the movement but do not deny its value.

“I am neutral to this movement now, but with a touch of distrust that is caused because it appeared recently and during a kind of crisis moment when Redan members are making headlines everywhere. Nowadays I don’t have an idea about the movement and the scale of its influence, but I would like to truly conserve the officially claimed goals. I would like the as tolerant attitude to ‘youth subcultures’ the movement itself exists for as possible and not to see moral infighting from people who know nothing about these specific movements, which happens very often. I have never participated in such projects and have little interest in them. However, if the earlier offered anime festival is held, I would participate in it,” says Nura Kozhanova, 19, a representative of the anime fan community from Kazan.

“We think today the youth want to develop in all spheres of activity”

The first congress of mentors of the Movement of the First in the republic was held on 27-28 February. Over 300 mentors participated in the congress: it is specialists in youth affairs, organisers, teachers, educators and other specialists from all over Tatarstan. It should be reminded that Board Chair Grigory Gurov joined the participants on day two — Tatarstan became the first region where he paid an official visit.

Photo: Platonov

Future mentors were told what clubs of the movement were like and how to launch them, how to set up the mechanism of interaction inside the community.

“An organiser of our school was at the first meeting and brought new, interesting ideas in general. At a council meeting of senior school students, key areas of the job were discussed, approximately plans were made — they require further discussions yet. This is why we will try to interest children with engaging them in events and contests, see potential in every child, help them to discover this talent. We think today the youth want to develop in all spheres of activity and we hope that children will be able to make their ideas a reality through this movement,” says biology teacher from School No. 5 in Leninogorsk Lyudmila Zarubezhnova.

Parents: for or against

It is always important for children to feel their family’s support. This is why the main task of the older generation nowadays is to help the youth to achieve their goals, choose their future profession, bring their talents to light.

“As a father I see my child can develop in Kindness and Fairness area. I will single out further issues among the post topical problems of teenagers and the youth: the absence of benchmarks, disrespect for the elderly and teachers, bullying, the absence of unity, social media, computer games. And it would be good if they can be solved through the participation of the younger generation in this movement. At the moment I would like to start working with children by organising various events, congresses, including in summertime in children’s summer camps, learning their history and being proud of their country, helping the elderly and disabled people, inculcating an eco-friendly attitude,” says Konstantin Mefodiev, a representative of Verkhny Uslon District at the republican Parents’ Council in the Tatarstan Ministry of Education.

Representative of Naberezhnye Chelny in this council Tatiana Pevgova expressed her hope that the movement would interest not only active children and mentors would be able to engage children with little motivation:

“I would like to have more ‘growth areas’ for lads as a result where they can show off and become better. Our children talk about the movement but there is nothing specific yet about what things they will do. My child wants to go to a meeting of the Movement of the First with friends to Kazan in April.”

Nowadays parents have questions, for instance, if a child can switch from one club to another, what programmes will be organised for pre-schoolers and if the participation in this movement will provide any bonuses in the future.

Children’s any proposals can be considered and supported by organisers and mentors of the movement. So aide to the Tatarstan rais, head of the republican office of the movement of the First Suleymanov paid attention to an initiative of holding an anime festival and did a survey on his Telegram channel. Nearly 2,000 people participated in the poll, and 49% were in favour of the idea.

Photo: Platonov

“We will meet with the lads from the anime fan community, discuss how they want to see this movement, what they want. We will be glad to see representatives of other communities too,” Suleymanov wrote on his channel. It is the first step that shows that the movement is really open to initiatives of absolutely different representatives of the youth.

Regional office of the Movement of the First Russian children and youth movement

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