Kremlin publishes child's guide to opposition politics

17th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

The Kremlin stressed the key role of political opposition and independent media on Tuesday in a new children's section on President Dmitry Medvedev's website.

The section added to Medevedev's website for schoolchildren,, is titled "What is the opposition and why do we need it?"

"Adults call political opposition those people who don't agree with the opinions and actions of the government," it explains.

The opposition ensures "the authorities constantly feel their responsibility towards citizens" and activists inform independent media about mistakes by the ruling powers, it says.

The president "has to make sure to keep television studios, radio stations and newspapers that are independent of the state, state officials and even the President himself," the site explains.

The short texts are surrounded with animated black and white drawings including activist figures who scream into loudhailers and hold up the Constitution.

The website does not touch on political representation of the opposition nor on its right to protest peacefully, however.

"We are trying to explain to children that in a normal democratic state, the opposition not only does not hinder, but helps the government," said the text's author Grigory Oster, online newspaper reported Tuesday.

Oster, a well-known children's author and screenwriter known best for his mid-1990s book of sarcastic children's rhymes, titled "Bad Advice", has already written for other sections of the children's website.

The Russian opposition is practically non-existent in the parliament, where a handful of Communist deputies is regularly stifled by an overwhelming majority of pro-Kremlin United Russia party.

Protests organized by Russian opposition figures on the last day of the month are regularly broken up in central Moscow by scores of riot police, and opposition politicians are rarely seen on Russian television.

The president's website for children, opened six years ago, already has a section on democracy that quizzes children on how they can tell if their country is democratic.

A country is "democratic" when "some people think that everything is good in their country, while others think that everything is bad," the site says.

© 2011 AFP

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