Glory to Russia or Putin, The Terrible? This week's Maclean's

    Book burnings, fanatical youth, extremist attacks. Putin's Russia is
    getting restless - where should the West draw the line? Also in this
    week's issue of Maclean's: Luiza Savage reports on the new momentum from
    the summit in Montebello, and Saggy Season: why kids are getting heavier
    for the summer.

    TORONTO, Aug. 23 /CNW/ - No one's predicting that Europe is headed for
another 1938, of course - at least not yet. But for years, Western leaders
have proceeded on the hope that Vladimir Putin, russia's enigmatic president,
might stabilize Russia's internal politics. But as Russia drifts ever further
from familiar notions of civil democracy, human rights watchers and political
observers are starting to see threads between officially sanctioned groups
like the Nashi, (a Kremlin-funded youth movement loyal to Putin whose work
involves denouncing the president's critics as fascists, homosexuals or
foreign-controlled traitors), and the fringe dwellers responsible for the
online executions. Both draw inspiration from Nazi-style ultranationalism,
with its obsession about ethnic and ideological purity. Both invoke a Russian
destiny to wield power throughout its hemisphere. Both do their business under
the nose of - in the Nashi's case, with the blessing of - a government that
purports to wage a war against extremism. The 100,000-strong Nashi, whose name
means "Ours Together," has been dubbed the "Putin Youth" by liberal critics
and intellectuals.
    "At a rally north of Moscow in July," reports Maclean's correspondent
Charlie Gillis, "10,000 members gathered under images of ballistic missiles to
burn works of unpatriotic fiction and non-fiction, while studying a manifesto
that calls on young people to mobilize in defence of the motherland." Couples
were even encouraged to bolster Russia's "pure" population by using special
tents set up for sessions of connubial intimacy. "Now, as Russia heads toward
an election," writes Gillis, "the question is whether Putin's successor has
the capacity, or the inclination, to control the forces he's unleashed."

    Momentum at Montebello

    No big initiatives were announced at the Montebello summit, but North
America's business execs are pleased. Washington correspondent Luiza Savage
reports on the Canada, U.S., Mexico Security and Prosperity Partnership summit
in this week's Maclean's.

    The Saggy Season

    According to the most recent national health survey, a staggering
26 per cent of Canadian children between the ages of two and 17 are
overweight. But now, studies are showing that kids gain more weight over the
summer because parents let them snack on junk. Read more, in this week's

    About Maclean's:

    Maclean's is Canada's only national weekly current affairs magazine.
Maclean's enlightens, engages and entertains 2.9 million readers with strong
investigative reporting and exclusive stories from leading journalists in the
fields of international affairs, social issues, national politics, business
and culture. Visit

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For further information: Jacqueline Segal,

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