Why Is Accounting Firm KPMG Funding Putin's Version of Hitler Youth?

One of the last bastions of honest journalism in Vladimir Putin’s Russia is the heroic Echo of Moscow (EOM) radio station. But not if accounting major KPMG has anything to say about it.

On July 27, 2010 (Russian-language link), EOM broke the story of how a Kremlin-funded youth summer camp called “Selinger” -- which Russian democracy activists have likened to the Hitler-Jugend -- had sponsored a very unusual summertime activity for the future leaders of the country.

Selinger had the youths take photographs of the faces of the most well-known democracy activists -- including former first deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov and octogenarian Lyudmila Alekseeva, leader of the Moscow Helsinki Group. They then put the faces on pikes, and topped them off with Nazi hats.

They displayed them in a gallery through which other campers could stroll at their leisure while licking ice cream cones and munching cotton candy.

The primary participants in Selinger are the members of the infamous youth personality cult of Vladimir Putin known as Nashi (“us Slavic Russians”). They are so virulent and terrifying in their rabid, racist Russian nationalism, which often expresses itself in violence towards even high-ranking Western diplomats, that they make many denizens of the Kremlin itself feel uncomfortable. When Ella Pamfilova, the highest-ranking human rights official in Russia, recently attempted to criticize Nashi’s outrageous misconduct, she was smacked down by the Kremlin. She publicly complained about the lack of support, then resigned in protest.

KPMG apparently has no problem with Nashi’s blitzkrieg against human rights, democracy, and American values. The accounting firm’s Russia website proudly proclaims its open financial support for Selinger. Such support would of course be something to take pride in, if the goal is perhaps to ingratiate yourself with the Kremlin so that you can continue to line your pockets via your Russian business enterprises.