It's quite natural that young people want to socialize with their equals so as to express their views on several political and social issues. They join youth organizations and societies. The main aim of these organizations is to involve young people into socially useful activities such as sporting events, volunteering at hospitals, taking care of war veterans, assisting the old and the handicapped, carrying out some ecological projects and doing other things.
There are a lot of youth organizations in Belarus. The most authoritative of them are: the Belarusian Republican Youth Union (BRSM), the Belarusian Republican Pioneer Organization, the Association of Belarusian Scouts, the Belarusian Organizations of Falcons, the Belarusian National Scout Organization, the Association of Belarusian Guides, etc.The aforementioned organizations take an active part in the formation of the basis and implementation of the state policy in respect of youth. These activities are managed and directed by the State Committee on the Affairs of Youth.
The most numerous youth organization in our country is the Belarusian Republican Youth Union (BRSM). This organization works in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus.
BELARUSIAN REPUBLICAN YOUTH UNION
The Belarusian Republican Youth Union (BRSM) is a youth organization in Belarus. Its goals are to promote patriotism and to instill moral values into the youth of Belarus,to unite patriotically thinking young people for active participation in the construction of a society of social justice and progress using activities such as camping, sporting events and visiting memorials. The organization was created after a merger of other youth groups in 2002 and is the successor of the Leninist Communist Youth League of the Byelorussian SSR. The BRSM is the largest youth group in Belarus and is supported by the Belarusian government.
The main objectives of the organization are as follows:
- to express, defend and realize the rights and legal interests of its members;
- to form the world outlook, based on moral and spiritual, as well as Christian, values;
- to foster patriotism as the main spiritual and social value;
- to express devotion to the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, to the country, its people and its state symbols;
- to give assistance to every member of the organization in his spiritual, intellectual and physical development and in realization of his abilities and creative potential;
- to take part in preparation of young people for the defense of their motherland.
The Belarusian Republican Youth Union and its members accomplish their goals and objectives in the following activities:
- they participate in formation of youth policy and put it into practice;
- they support the initiatives of the youth, directed at self-perfection and all-round development of their individual abilities;
- they help young people to become integrated members of society;
- they elaborate and accomplish different educational, social and other youth programs which do not contradict the present legislation of the republic of Belarus;
- they render assistance in finding employment;
- they promote international youth co-operation;
- they attract the attention of the mass media and the bodies of state power to the problems and initiatives of the youth;
- they organize conferences, meetings, lectures, exhibitions, concerts for young people; etc.
The BRSM was created on 6 September 2002, after the merger of two Belarusian youth organizations, the Belarusian Youth Union and the Belarusian Patriotic Youth Union. The Belarusian Youth Union had been considered the legal successor of Leninist Communist Youth Union of Belarus (the Komsomol branch in the Byelorussian SSR), the Belarusian Patriotic Youth Union had been created in 1997.
The BRSM national headquarters is located in Minsk, the national capital of Belarus. Each voblast of Belarus—Minsk, Brest, Vitsebsk, Homiel, Grodno and Mogilev—has its own branches of the BRSM. The BRSM has estimated that it has 6803 branches located inside Belarus.
The national leadership of the BRSM is controlled by the central committee, which is headed by the first secretary of the central committee. Below the first secretary are the second secretary of the central committee, the chairman of the central investigation commission, and three secretaries of the central committee. Collectively, these leaders are also referred to as the secretariat of the BRSM.
While the exact yearly and total funding of the BRSM are not known, the majority of funds given to the BRSM are given by the national government.
The BRSM has two official symbols: an emblem and a flag. The emblem, which is based on the Komsomol badge and modeled on the Belarusian national flag, has a red bar bearing the initials of the BRSM, written in gold in Cyrillic, over a green bar bearing a golden olive branch.
The flag of the BRSM has the same elements as the emblem, but the reverse of the flag bears the organization's full name in gold (in Russian) in the red section, with the green section unemblazoned.
In order to join the BRSM, the applicant must be between the ages of 14 and 31 and must send a photo of himself or herself. If the applicant is between the ages of 14 and 16 written permission from a parent or legal guardian must be granted. A count in 2003 by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting showed that the BRSM had roughly 120,000 members.
A person must also pay a one-time fee of 1,400 Belarusian rubles (around US$0.65) and a mid-year fee to continue membership in the BRSM. The total amount of the fee is adjusted based on the person's working and living status, and fee waivers are granted for children who are orphaned or disabled. Members of the BRSM have certain rights and duties and they can leave the organization at their own free will.
Most of the BRSM's activities are similar to those that were performed by the Soviet Komsomol. The main activities of the BRSM involve the promotion of Belarusian patriotism. This is accomplished by participating in wreath-laying ceremonies at various memorials around the country. BRSM members also pass out flowers to veterans of the Great Patriotic War (World War II) to honor their service during the national holiday Den Pobedy (Day of Victory). Both the memorial visits and the flowers for the veterans give BRSM members an idea of what sacrifices their ancestors made. During other national holidays, the BRSM passes out a ribbon that resembles the national flag of Belarus, to be worn on a shirt or jacket. This program, along with other events, is part of its "For Belarus!" (Russian: За Беларусь!) campaign.
The BRSM participates in outdoor activities and sports, including football, running, swimming and hockey. Some of these athletic events involve different groups from inside Belarus or from neighboring countries, such as Russia, Ukraine or Latvia. BRSM members also participate in competitions amongst themselves or with other foreign groups that are similar to the BRSM.
Social events, such as concerts for the youth of Belarus, are hosted by the BRSM The BRSM was one of the main organizers of the 2004 "Miss Belarus" pageant, a beauty competition along the same lines as Miss America and Miss Universe. While the BRSM does not get involved in politics, it’s the first secretary, Mikhail Orda, signed a letter along with other public officials denouncing the United States' Belarus Democracy Act of 2004.
BRSM organizes student construction brigades, a practice also originated in the Soviet Union.