The evidence can be found in the number of young volunteers helping the flood-devastated town of Krymsk, and in the skittishness of some Russian officials about such volunteers.
Soon after an overnight flood destroyed the town of nearly 60,000 people in southern Russia on July 7, killing 172 by official count, perhaps many more, Presidentpredictably sought to play it down: “One should not exaggerate the dimensions of the tragedy,” he decreed. It was not the first time he had shown indifference to human suffering. But the response from many Russians — particularly young people — was different. From many corners of the country, groups organized humanitarian aid and descended on Krymsk to help, rather than wait for incompetent government functionaries to fail. (Local officials were already being blamed for not notifying residents about the impending consequences of an extraordinary rainstorm.)