Oleg Vyacheslavovich BODROV1 Almaz Vasilovich ZAKIROV2 Dmitriy Mikhailovich KOLOMYTS3

ABSTRACT: The paper analyzes the modern aspects of “soft power” in modern international relations using the example of the student movement festival, which celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2017 in Sochi. Youth policy is an integral part of public policy both domestically and abroad. Soft power institutions are seen as integral tools of modern international politics. In the 20th century, a special form of youth participation, or youth festivals, was formed. The paper uncovers the way of thinking, technique and substance of the World Festivals of Youth and Students, just as the highlights of their projects. Right up until the present time, work at celebrations assumes a significant part in accomplishing worldwide compassionate objectives, specifically, guaranteeing a calm life on our planet and the foundation of fair qualities. The fundamental way of thinking of the celebration is the standards of harmony, kinship of people groups, global solidarity against radical and hostile industrialist battle. The flame of the festival did not die out during the establishment of a unipolar world, after the collapse of the USSR in 1991, and today is a symbol of the hope for a just and peaceful life on Earth. The 19th WFYS, which took place in 2017 on the Black Sea coast in the city of Sochi, was another example of the successful work of the World Federation of Democratic Youth on the dissemination of universal values and progressive ideas.

KEYWORDS: History of youth movements. Cultural policy. “Soft power” in diplomacy. International relations. XIX World Festival of Youth and Students in Sochi (WFYS). World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY). International Union of Students (IUS).

RESUMO: O documento analisa os aspectos modernos do "soft power" nas relações internacionais modernas, usando o exemplo do festival do movimento estudantil, que celebrou seu 70º aniversário em 2017 em Sochi. A política da juventude é parte integrante


1 Kazan Federal University (KPFU), Kazan – Russia. Senior Lecturer of the Department of Regional and Eurasian Studies, Institute of International Relations. E-mail:

2 Kazan Federal University (KPFU), Kazan – Russia. Senior Lecturer of the Department of Regional and Eurasian Studies, Institute of International Relations. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4562-897X. E-mail: almazakiro@yandex.ru


3 Kazan Federal University (KPFU), Kazan – Russia. Senior Lecturer of the Department of Regional and Eurasian Studies, Institute of International Relations. E-mail: kolomits@list.ru



das políticas públicas, tanto no país como no exterior. As instituições de "soft power" são vistas como ferramentas integrais da política internacional moderna. No século XX, uma forma especial de participação juvenil, ou festivais da juventude, foi formada. O documento revela a forma de pensar, técnica e substância dos Festivais Mundiais da Juventude e dos Estudantes, assim como os destaques de seus projetos. Até o presente, o trabalho nas celebrações assume um papel significativo na realização de objetivos de compaixão mundial, especificamente, garantindo uma vida tranquila em nosso planeta e a fundação de qualidades justas. A forma fundamental de pensar da celebração são os padrões de harmonia, irmandade de grupos de pessoas, solidariedade global, contra a batalha radical e hostil dos industrialistas. A chama do festival não se apagou durante o estabelecimento de um mundo unipolar após o colapso da URSS em 1991 e hoje é um símbolo da esperança de uma vida justa e pacífica na Terra. O 19º WFYS, que aconteceu em 2017 na costa do Mar Negro, na cidade de Sochi, foi outro exemplo do trabalho bem-sucedido da Federação Mundial da Juventude Democrática sobre a disseminação de valores universais e ideias progressistas.

PALAVRAS-CHAVE: História dos movimentos juvenis. Política cultural. “Soft power” na diplomacia. Relações Internacionais. XIX Festival Mundial de Jovens e Estudantes em Sochi (WFYS). Federação Mundial da Juventude Democrática (WFDY). União Internacional de Estudantes (IUS).

RESUMEN: El documento analiza los aspectos modernos del "poder blando" en las relaciones internacionales modernas utilizando el ejemplo del movimiento estudiantil del festival, que celebró su 70 aniversario en 2017 en Sochi. La política de juventud es una parte integral de la política pública tanto a nivel nacional como internacional. Las instituciones del poder blando se consideran herramientas integrales de la política internacional moderna. En el siglo XX, se formó una forma especial de participación juvenil, o festivales juveniles. La ponencia descubre la forma de pensar, la técnica y la sustancia de los Festivales Mundiales de la Juventud y los Estudiantes, así como los aspectos más destacados de sus proyectos. Hasta la actualidad, el trabajo en las celebraciones asume un papel importante en el logro de los objetivos compasivos en todo el mundo, específicamente, garantizar una vida tranquila en nuestro planeta y la base de las cualidades justas. La forma fundamental de pensar de la celebración son los estándares de armonía, parentesco de grupos étnicos, solidaridad global, frente a los radicales y hostiles a la batalla industrial. La llama del festival no se extinguió durante el establecimiento de un mundo unipolar después del colapso de la URSS en 1991 y hoy es un símbolo de la esperanza de una vida justa y pacífica en la Tierra. La XIX WFYS, que tuvo lugar en 2017 en la costa del Mar Negro en la ciudad de Sochi, fue otro ejemplo del trabajo exitoso de la Federación Mundial de Jóvenes Democráticos en la difusión de valores universales e ideas progresistas.


PALABRAS CLAVE: Historia de los movimientos juveniles. Política cultural. “Poder blando” en diplomacia. Relaciones Internacionales. XIX Festival Mundial de la Juventud y los Estudiantes en Sochi (WFYS). Federación Mundial de la Juventud Democrática (WFDY). Unión Internacional de Estudiantes (IUS).




In the 20th century, young people turned into the most mobile and active social group of society due to their large-scale involvement, sociability, susceptibility to innovations, ability of quick learning, youthful maximalism, and also independence from the prejudices and stereotypes of previous years. For these reasons, young people as a layer of society are in the stage of constant socialization and are most ready to accept new ideas.

Therefore, youth policy is an integral part of public policy both domestically and abroad. In accordance with the Russian Foreign Policy Concept of November 30, 2016, the institutions of “soft power” (NYE JR, 2004), are defined as integral tools of modern international politics. Along with education, temporary work, or accommodation, internships, sports competitions and other international events in the 20th century, a special form of youth participation was formed, named as youth festivals (GUZHOV, 2018).

The World Festival of Youth and Students (WFYS) arose under the auspices of the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY) in the middle of the 20th century as one of the forms of mass international holidays aimed at strengthening peace and friendship in the context of the confrontation between the two political systems. “World festivals of youth and students” were defined in the scientific literature as mass forums of representatives of youth from different countries fighting for peace, independence of peoples, democracy and social progress (ALTBACH, 1970; CLEWS, 1952; CORNELL, 1965; HAUCK; PETERKE, 2016;

GILL; DEFRONZO, 2009; NATION, 2013).

The program of festivals, as a rule, included mass demonstrations devoted to the struggle for peace and national independence, antiwar rallies, actions for the release of unjustly arrested left activists and political prisoners, concerts and national programs of individual delegations, international competitions of young performers, meetings of youth according to their interests, and other events. Unlike other modern manifestations of youth activity, the World Festival of Youth and Students was based and carried a clear ideological vector (anti-bourgeois among Western youth; anti-colonial and national liberation among third-world youth; socialist and anti-war among Soviet youth).

A new stage in the international youth movement begins after the end of the Second World War, when the following organizations were created: the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY)4 and the International Union of Students (IUS) in the socialist



4 Available: http://wfdy.ru. Access: 10 dec. 2020.



countries5 and the World Assembly of Youth (WAY)6 and the International Student Conference (ISC) (PAGET, 2003) in Western countries.


World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY) was created on November 10, 1945 at a major international conference of democratic youth in London. Representatives of 63 countries declared the goal of the new international organization to promote mutual understanding and cooperation of youth in all areas of society, as well as the struggle for peace and security of peoples, for the rights of youth and against all forms of oppression. After that, November 10th was considered to be World Youth Day. The supreme governing body of WFDY was its Congress, which elected the Council from among its members. The executive body of the federation was the Executive Committee and the Bureau of WFDY, and the Secretariat carried out daily work7 One of the most effective forms of work of the federation was holding of world youth festivals in conjunction with the International Union of Students.

World Festivals of Youth and Students (WFYS) became an instrument of "soft power" and public diplomacy of the socialist camp countries in the second half of the twentieth century. In the conditions of the Cold War, festivals were associated with direct human communication, voluntary participation, sympathies and attractiveness irrespective on the boundaries and differences of ideologies.

The history of the festival movement began on July 25, 1947 in Prague with the opening of the 1st WFYS. 17 thousand young men and women from 71 countries of the world took part in it. The festival was held under the slogan: "Youth are united to go forward to a lasting peace!" (VAN MAANEN, 1966). We can distinguish the conditional periodization of WFYS. The first period covers the era of the formation of the WFYS and is entirely tied to the countries of the socialist camp (1947-1957). The second period is the highest point of the festival movement, which went beyond the boundaries of the socialist camp and swept the youth of the capitalist world (1959-1989). The third period in the history of WFYS was the era of the revival of multipolar civilizational values (1997–2017).

With the breakdown of the Soviet Union, there were numerous who hurried to foresee the finish of the celebration development. Nonetheless, the World Federation of Democratic


5 Available: https://uia.org/s/or/en. Access: 10 dec. 2020.

6 Available: https://way.org.my. Access: 10 dec. 2020.


7 Available: http://wfdy.ru. Access: 10 dec. 2020.



Youth stayed in administration. Regardless of the breakdown of communism during the 1990s and the renaissance of private enterprise, it had the option to conquer inward inconsistencies, both in its association, and to save the beliefs of the celebration development spoke to by the All-Russian Federal University of Music and Culture. Significant choices to reinforce the association were made by the fourteenth and fifteenth WFDY General Assemblies in Lisbon (February 1995) and Larnaca (February 1999) (BASOV, 2017).

The breakdown of communism in the USSR and Eastern European nations influenced both the area and the recurrence of the World Festival of Youth and Students (WFYS). The celebration vector has moved to the Asian and South American landmasses. Just gratitude to the ingenuity of the WFDY part associations and with the definitive commitment of the pioneer of the Cuban transformation, Fidel Castro Rus, the resuscitated XIV WFYS was held in 1997 in the capital of the Island of Freedom, Havana. The festival brought together 12 325 people from 136 countries under the slogan "For anti-imperialist solidarity, peace and friendship" (CHERNIK, 2009). Of the subsequent festivals, two also took place in Latin America: XVI in Caracas under Hugo Chavez (VENEZUELA, 2005); XVIII in Quito (ECUADOR, 2013), and two in Africa: XV in Algeria (ALGERIA, 2001); XVII at Pretoria under Nelson Mandela (SOUTH AFRICA, 2010).

WFYS number XIX was held in Russia for the third time in Sochi from October 14 to 22, 2017 under the slogan "For peace, solidarity and social justice, we are fighting against imperialism - respecting our past, we are building our future!" Over 20 thousand people from

188 countries took part in it. The decision to hold it in Sochi was made at the First International Preparatory Meeting organized by the WFDY in Caracas (Venezuela) on June 2016.


In April 2016, an innovative rivalry was held to make the logo of the forthcoming celebration. It was the refreshed logo of the two Moscow celebrations in 1957 and 1985. The traditions and continuity of generations are reflected in a multi-coloured daisy consisting of many multi-coloured pixels, which represents the network of youngsters around the globe in the time of the data network. A bird of harmony with outstretched wings was in the focal point of the symbol against the foundation of the globe.



Results and discussion

On January 19, 2017, Presidential Decree No. 23 “On the Preparation and Conducting of the XIX World Festival of Youth and Students” was published8. The tone was set by President V.V. Putin, who said at a meeting with participants in the Tavrida All-Russian Youth Educational Forum during a working trip to the Republic of Crimea on August 20, 2017: “It seems to me that today we need to get away from politicization. It is necessary that this event should be dedicated simply to young people around the world regardless of their political views”9.

The Sochi festival was dedicated to the Great October Socialist Revolution and personally the legendary Cuban revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara, and also to those who had recently passed away: Fidel Castro and Mohammed Abdelaziz, a fighter against colonialism in Western Sahara10.

Leader of the World Federation of Democratic Youth Nicolas Papadimitriou worried in his meeting with TASS: This is a Festival with its own history. We additionally consider Russia to be a nation with an extraordinary history. It made an extraordinary commitment to the advancement of the celebration development... I trust that we will give a valiant effort to guarantee that the fundamental standards and thoughts of the Festival are considered... The scene doesn't make a difference much, since it is, most importantly, the development. We are appreciative to and regard Russia, which is facilitating it this year. What's more, this occasion corresponds with another, no less significant for us, for the WFDY: this is the centennial of the Great October Revolution11.

The motto of the XIX celebration itself communicated the embodiment of the celebration development. The WFDY President noticed that maintaining the goals of the WFYS, the youngsters of the world along with the WFDY and with the assistance of the celebration development, ought to turn into an amazing manufacturers, where harmony and solidarity rule, and the manufacturers of a planet liberated from colonialism, this worldwide arrangement of predominance of capital and imposing business models. Furthermore, regardless of whether colonialism today looks so amazing, it isn't strong! (VOLOSOVA, 2018).


8 Available: http://www.sovross.ru/papers. Access: 10 dec. 2020.

9 Available: https://kprf.ru/pravda/issues. Access: 10 dec. 2020.

10 Available: http://russia2017.com. Access: 10 dec. 2020.


11 Available: https://tass.ru/interviews/4592247. Access: 10 dec. 2020.



The primary objective of the celebration was the improvement of regular ways to deal with tackling worldwide issues and the combination of the planet's populace "for the sake of world harmony". The program of the worldwide gathering incorporated an exchange of societies, conversation of financial issues and the difficulties of globalization, legislative issues, worldwide security, and the advancement of open organizations. It was partitioned into the accompanying territories: questioning, social, logical and instructive, sports, provincial, and furthermore opening and shutting of the celebration (VOLOSOVA, 2018).

Every day 70 different sites worked for the participants of the youth movement; they hosted discussions, trainings, presentations, and other events. Many actions took place in the main media centre of Sochi. 1325 speakers were involved in the events.

According to the director of “Rospatriottsentr” Zyuganov (2017),

a tremendous amount of work was done to carry out the festival program... We attracted a large number of partners, Russian and foreign, including through the UN and other international organizations. We have only discussion programs in 12 areas. There were 2-3 partners for each direction, and this means administrative work. Preparation took 24 hours, 7 days a week. Nobody sleeps here, nobody complains, everyone gets crazy pleasure from this process.

The discussion area accommodated crafted by different stages for discourse, including board conversations, open talks, and logical meetings. The key subjects were Culture and Globalization, Global Economy, Knowledge Economy, Development of Public Institutions, Politics and International Security. Each day was dedicated to a specific global problem or to any part of the world. Creative platforms also actively worked, where participants from different countries demonstrated their national cultures, clothes, and national cuisine. Over 13 thousand people daily enriched their knowledge, skills in the scientific, cultural and sports fields (ZYUGANOV, 2017).

October 15 was the first educational day. October 16 - "America Day."

October 17 - “Africa Day”. October 18 - “Middle East Day

October 19 - "Asia and Oceania Day." October 20 - "Europe Day ".

October 21 - "Russia Day"12.



12 Available: https://kprf.ru/activity/young/169952.html. Access: 10 dec. 2020.



On October 16, the Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation G. A. Zyuganov at a panel discussion delivered a report “100 years of the Great October Socialist Revolution”. He said:

For a hundred years, the socialist version of world progress has successfully proved its advantages over capitalism in both domestic and foreign policy. Not one of the global problems of mankind could be solved in a hundred years without the participation of the countries of the socialist camp and the Third World. Today, like a hundred years ago in the era of triumphant imperialism, poverty comes first among the threats of humanity; diseases are in second place; the third is occupied by environmental problems. In addition, terrorism and neo-colonial wars have added to them in the unjust world.13

On October 18, the same tone was continued at the panel discussion “Student movement in the fight for free, public and high-quality education: The struggle of youth for free and universal access to healthcare, education, science and information.” The speaker from Russia was the Komsomol coordinator of the Central Committee of the Russian Federation Komsomol association and furthermore the administrator of the free understudy association "Diskurs" A. Baibikova14. Representatives of Cuba, Jordan, DPRK, PRC, Sri Lanka, Germany, and Great Britain spoke within the framework of the discussion. All speakers discussed comparable issues in their nations, where youth from everywhere the world are battling for nothing and quality training. During warmed conversations, it was conceivable to arrive at an agreement on an understanding between understudy associations for solidarity in the battle for the privileges of understudies, free and quality instruction, and the advancement of science15. A distinctive sign of the mind-set of the celebration was the Left March and the intrigue to the young people of the entire world: "No to imperialism!"

As it was at all previous festivals, the organizers gave a worthy place to the cultural program. Here, more than 70 creative unions, associations and specialized universities acted as partners.

The participants of the festival in Sochi were waiting for by a cultural program for all tastes. “The idea was that the festival participants saw the culture of Russia, the country itself through the eyes of youth and we tried to put together a program so that it was the young


13 Available: https://tass.ru/obschestvo/4646702. Access: 10 dec. 2020.

14 Available: https://tass.ru/kultura/4630010. Access: 10 dec. 2020.


15 Available: https://eksmo.ru/eksmo-news/biblioteka-budushchego-na-vsemirnom-festivale-molodezhi- ID10451155. Access: 10 dec. 2020.



people who presented their achievements, their work to friends”16 - said Ilya Bachurin, the creative producer of the WFYS-2017.


The cultural program was divided into daily working venues and events of the day. The following categories belonged to the first category:


14 Disponível em: https://1838.life/news/programma-festivalja-molodjozhi-i-studentov-2017-v-sochi. Acesso em: 10 dez. 2020.

15 Disponível em: https://1838.life/news/programma-festivalja-molodjozhi-i-studentov-2017-v-sochi. Acesso em: 10 dez. 2020.


16 Disponível em: https://1838.life/news/programma-festivalja-molodjozhi-i-studentov-2017-v-sochi. Acesso em: 10 dez. 2020.



A programação desportiva do festival também foi contundente e incluiu os seguintes eventos: abertura do recinto GTO Mundial (apto para trabalho e defesa); Festival corra por 2017 metros; a abertura do "Planeta Dançante"; Área interativa da Federação de Dança Esportiva e Rock and Roll Acrobático; o torneio final de mini-futebol “Rumo à Copa do Mundo FIFA 2018” etc. (VOLOSOVA, 2018).

Um elemento inconfundível do Festival de Sochi foi um árduo programa provincial de ocasiões, realizado em várias comunidades urbanas do país: Veliky Novgorod; Vladivostok; Yekaterinburg; Izhevsk, Kazan, Kaliningrado, Krasnoyarsk, Makhachkala, Orenburg, Novosibirsk, Rostov-on-Don; São Petersburgo, Sevastopol, Tyumen e Yaroslavl (VOLOSOVA, 2018).

Sábado, 21 de outubro, foi declarado Dia da Rússia. Neste dia o festival apresentou a plataforma "A Rússia é o país das oportunidades", composta por 10 projetos voltados para pessoas de 7 a 50 anos. Entre eles estavam o concurso "Leaders of Russia" para jovens gestores, o projeto "Gerenciar" para estudantes; concurso de bolsas para iniciativas juvenis, bem como o projeto "Movimento escolar russo: o território do autogoverno", tema Olimpíadas para estudantes "Sou um profissional", o projeto "Quero fazer o bem", a ação de enviar cartas de agradecimento "Obrigado" etc.

A celebração de Sochi terminou em 21 de outubro com um brilhante fechamento no campo do castelo de gelo Bolshoi. V. V. Putin cuidou do adolescente desde o estágio fundamental da celebração: uma vitalidade irregular, totalmente bizarra, reinou na celebração. Quase o mesmo que reina hoje nesta praça. Essa é a vitalidade do jovem. Estou certo de que deixando a Rússia, você deixará um pouco do seu coração aqui, mas a Rússia sempre permanecerá em seu coração. Nós colocamos estoque em você18.


Que lições podem ser tiradas dos resultados do XIX Festival Mundial de Jovens e Estudantes?

Lição 1. O colapso da URSS e a mudança no sistema sócio-político da Rússia não contribuíram para o desenvolvimento da ideia esquerdista no mundo. No entanto, a Rússia é


17 Disponível em: https://1838.life/news/programma-festivalja-molodjozhi-i-studentov-2017-v-sochi. Acesso em: 10 dez. 2020.


18 Disponível em: https://1838.life/news/programma-festivalja-molodjozhi-i-studentov-2017-v-sochi. Acesso em: 10 dez. 2020.



uma fortaleza confiável para o mundo, assim como antes, o que envia este sinal de esperança ao movimento juvenil mundial.

Aula 2. O conteúdo ideológico do festival até hoje desempenha um papel importante para alcançar um diálogo global igualitário através do “soft power”, e não através da violência, como tem acontecido nos últimos trinta anos. Hoje, mais do que nunca, são necessários valores humanos verdadeiramente universais, e não aqueles que protejam os interesses de uma classe, de uma nação escolhida ou dos países do "bilhão de ouro".

Aula 3. Apesar de tudo, está resguardada a forma essencial de pensar a festa, que há muito é a base da realização de cada FSM. Esses são os objetivos da harmonia, comunhão de grupos de pessoas, solidariedade global e hostilidade à fronteira e às batalhas industriais.

Lição 4. A Declaração Final da 19ª WFYS afirma: “Durante 70 anos, o Festival foi um bastião da luta contra o colonialismo, ditaduras, fascismo, guerra, ocupação, intervenções agressivas, ataques à soberania dos povos e às suas instalações. Este fórum apóia a luta dos jovens pelo direito à educação para todos, pelos direitos do trabalho, da medicina, do esporte e do lazer, pelo fim da exploração dos povos, da opressão e da agressão, para que os jovens vivam em uma sociedade que atenda às suas necessidades”. (http://www.skmrf.ru/hronika/news_8658.html.)

AGRADECIMENTOS: O trabalho é realizado de acordo com o Programa de Crescimento Competitivo do Governo Russo da Universidade Federal de Kazan.


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Como referenciar este artigo

BODROV, O. V.; ZAKIROV, A. V.; KOLOMYTS, D. M. Lições do XIX Festival Mundial de Juventude e Estudantes em Sochi 2017. Revista on line de Política e Gestão Educacional, Araraquara, v. 25, n. esp. 1, p. 494-509, mar. 2021. e-ISSN:1519-9029. DOI: https://doi.org/10.22633/rpge.v25iesp.1.14986

Submetido em: 06/11/2020 Revisões requeridas em: 18/01/2021 Aprovado em: 23/02/221


Publicado em: 01/03/2021