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Bulletin 5:11 (2011)

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  • Andreas Umland
    THE RUSSIAN NATIONALISM BULLETIN A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs Vol. 5, No. 11(132), 24 April 2011 Compilers: Scott Littlefield & Andreas Umland I
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 23, 2011
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      A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs
      Vol. 5, No. 11(132), 24 April 2011
      Compilers: Scott Littlefield & Andreas Umland

      I NEWS: 15 March - 1 April 2011

      [NOTE: When viewing an RNB issue in the Messages archive of the homepage and the end of the text is truncated, scroll to the end of the message and click "Expand Messages." Only then, the whole text of the - otherwise truncated - issue will appear.]

      I NEWS: 15 March - 1 April 2011

      Church won't interfere in the politics, but will influence the authorities - official
      Interfax-Religion, March 16, 2011

      Moscow, March 16, Interfax - Non-political character of the Russian Church does not mean that it can't influence the country's leaders, head of the Synodal Information Department Vladimir Legoyda said.
      "Saying that the Church won't become an oppositional power we don't mean that we'll support any action of the authorities, but we stress two things: first, that the Church is not involved in political struggle, doesn't participate in it," Legoyda said in his interview with Interfax-Religion on Tuesday.
      The second thing, he went on to say, is that this statement doesn't mean that "the Church won't influence the authorities." "But what influence is in question? It's influence through moral evaluations, through influence on conscience," the interviewee of the agency said.
      According to him, the Church wants businessmen and officials understand that "their Orthodoxy should be displayed not only in donating on church building, but in conscientious fulfillment of their work and professional duties."
      "Yes. There is church influence on authorities, but it's the influence on human conscience, not political struggle," Legoyda said.
      He said that current situation of Church freedom from the state is unique: the state "doesn't interfere in inner life of the Church and the Church settles its own questions as it wishes."


      Multiculturalism is not hamburgers and pampers, but ability to live in one country, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin believes
      Interfax-Religion, March 17, 2011

      Moscow, March 17, Interfax - Head of the Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin urged to interpret the term "multiculturalism" correctly.
      "If we understand multiculturalism as intention to tolerate various peculiarities of nations and then to reduce them to common denominator of consumer society, society without God, where hamburgers, pampers, sneakers or banking accounts becomes God, then I am against such a tendency and it is destined for defeat as western leaders have recently said," the priest said answering the questions at the online conference.
      The church official pointed out that Russia has always had true multiculturalism when "people of different religious views, different traditions, different lifestyle, different social rules, for instance, Finns with their typically European political system and residents of Middle Asia who lived according to the Sharia laws, managed to live in one country."
      "However, any attempts to dramatically break the balance were suppressed, especially when inspired from the outside. I think this model will help Russia in the future. Moreover, the whole world should pay attention to it as it faces not only the crisis of multiculturalism, but the crisis of reducing all to the same level recently suggested to British residents by James Cameron," the priest said.


      Bigotry Monitor-UCSJ's bi-weekly newsletter, Volume 11, Number 3, March 18, 2011

      In its just released annual report covering 2010, the Sova Center for Information and Analysis warned that while large nationwide nationalist organizations such as the Movement Against Illegal Immigration and Slavic Power are losing popularity, youths join small clandestine groups instead and such small groups constitute an even more serious danger to society than those registered with the authorities. The report was drafted by Galina Kozhevnikova, a founder of Sova and one of Russia's leading specialists in xenophobia who died on March 5.
      While fewer people died at the hands of nationalists in 2010 than in 2009, ultra-nationalist groups are gaining more supporters and becoming more sophisticated, said the report by Sova, an independent group which monitors hate crimes in Russia. `There are a lot of small groups which prefer to lay low,' Sova director Alexander Verkhovsky said. `They believe they are conducting a guerrilla war, not only against migrants but also against the authorities. While it was relatively easy to fight them several years ago, it has now become much harder to find them.' He attributed the change in tactics to increasing pressure from the authorities.
      "Attendance at nationalist actions has been going down from the beginning of 2010,' Verkhovsky said. `New ideas were becoming scarce. Attempts to restore the Motherland party and other such organizations failed. And yet, the Russian March on November 4 gathered a record number of nationalists. Several mass actions were staged less than a month later."
      According to the report-which reflects the thinking of leading human rights activists--new youth groups are primarily violence-oriented and distrustful of politicians, especially those who try to flirt with them. "Youths stay away from legal nationalist organizations because they no longer trust their leaders," Verkhovsky said. "Organization of unauthorized mass actions via the Internet is much easier than obtaining authorization through the approved channels."
      Verkhovsky noted a change that may have consequences in the future: Football fans have joined radical nationalists. `They used to belong to two different environments that did not trust each other,' Verkhovsky said. In December, scores of football fans and ultranationalists clashed with police near the Kremlin in a protest ostensibly at police handling of the shooting of a Spartak Moscow football fan in one of the most violent riots in recent years. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin then vowed to `respond severely' to the violence and said that it was a `disturbing sign.' But many analysts say the Kremlin has deliberately courted nationalists for years and the December riots and the subsequent police crackdown showed that the authorities did not entirely control the situation. `The situation is bad, things have gone too far, and it is not clear how to find a way out of it,' Verkhovsky said.
      According to the report, in 2010, far-right nationalists killed 37 people and injured 382. In 2009, 84 people were killed and 434 injured in racist attacks.
      In February 2011, at least three people were injured and three killed in attacks by neo-Nazis, Sova added. The incidents of violence were recorded in Moscow (one dead), St. Petersburg (three wounded, one dead), and Astrakhan (one dead). According to data available to Sova, at least 17 people were injured and eight killed so far this year. In February, Sova also recorded at least three acts of vandalism motivated by hatred or neo-Nazi sentiment: Muslim graves were defaced in Nizhny Novgorod, as were a pagan temple in Arkhangelsk and a statue of Lenin in Voronezh.


      Bigotry Monitor-UCSJ's bi-weekly newsletter, Volume 11, Number 3, March 18, 2011

      In the central Russian city of Barnaul (Altay Region) university students Anton Berdikhin and Aleksandr Yeltsov were found guilty of a hate crime, and each will be sent to a prison colony for 16 years for killing South Korean exchange student Kyeng Byong-gil, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported on March 16. The third attacker, an underage teenager whose name was not made public, was sentenced to six and a half years in a juvenile prison.
      Kyeng, a student in the Barnaul Teacher Training Academy, and a female Korean colleague were brutally attacked last year. He died in the hospital and his compatriot was severely injured. The court also ruled that each killer pay 500,000 rubles ($17,300) to Kyeng's family.
      Initially, investigators did not consider the case a hate crime but later learned that the trio had been involved in other attacks against non-Slavic men and women in Barnaul. The discovery allowed prosecution to charge a hate crime.


      Bigotry Monitor-UCSJ's bi-weekly newsletter, Volume 11, Number 3, March 18, 2011

      The words "murdered swine" and a swastika were daubed at the site where human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov, 34, and journalist Anastasia Baburova, 25, were shot dead in broad daylight on January 9, 2009, according to a March 11 report by Jewish.ru. Far-right nationalists are currently on trial for the murders, which took place a short walk from the Kremlin. Representing victims of neo-Nazis, Markelov had pushed hard for the prosecution of neo-Nazis throughout his career.


      Bigotry Monitor-UCSJ's bi-weekly newsletter, Volume 11, Number 3, March 18, 2011

      Four neo-Nazis were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 9 to 23 years after a Moscow court found them guilty of four murders and 11 attempted murders, according to a March 3 report by the Jewish.ru news agency. The defendants were also found guilty of setting off four bombings between August 2008 and January 2009.
      Victims included citizens of South Korea, Cameroon, Kazakhstan, Gabon, Uzbekistan, China, and Cabo Verde. One defendant reportedly admitted having targeted ethnic minorities "so that they would leave Moscow." The defendants took video of one of their attacks--an assault on two Korean women. Russian neo-Nazis regularly film their attacks and post them on the Internet. It is unclear from the report if any of the defendants was charged with hate crimes.


      Bigotry Monitor-UCSJ's bi-weekly newsletter, Volume 11, Number 3, March 18, 2011

      On February 24, shots were fired at a Jehovah's Witnesses prayer hall in Novoshakhtinsk (Rostov Region) according to a March 4 report by the Sova Center for Information and Analysis. Six windows were shattered. No injuries were reported.
      On February 16, someone daubed threats against Jehovah's Witnesses on the walls of a prayer hall in Armavir (Krasnodar Region), Sova reported. "No to false religions on Russian soil!" the words read, ending with the threat "It's time to pay" and a swastika.


      KREMLIN TO GIVE $350 MILLION TO FRIENDLY NGOS. The Kremlin will hand out 1 billion rubles ($350 million) this year to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) through six NGOs that critics say have close ties to the state, `The Moscow Times' reported on March 10. Five of the six organizations have distributed government grant money in the past, according to a decree signed by President Dmitry Medvedev last week.
      This year's biggest recipient-distributor is called the State Club Foundation for a Personnel Reserve" which will oversee the distribution of 280 million rubles. Headed by top United Russia lawmakers like Federation Council Senator Mikhail Margelov, the foundation says on its web site that it aims to form a "patriotic-orientated political class." The second-largest grant distributor (240 million rubles) is the National Welfare Fund. Set up in 1999 on the initiative of then-Acting President Vladimir Putin, the organization coordinates aid for armed forces personnel, according to its web site.
      Experts criticized the method of distributing state aid for NGO grants through a small group known as `operators,' all of them based in Moscow and close to the Kremlin. "There is a flavor of nontransparency because it was never explained why those organizations were chosen. Why can't we have a tender for choosing them?" said Yelena Panfilova, head of Transparency International's Moscow office.


      Russian Church urges Catholics to organize missionary "attack" on Europe
      Interfax-Religion, March 1, 2011

      Its official points out Orthodox-Catholic relations have recently improved
      Moscow, March 21, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate urged the Catholic Church to strategic alliance.
      "Orthodox and Catholic need to take each other not as competitors but as allies in protecting rights of Christians. We have shared field of missionary work - modern Europe that has lost its religious, moral and cultural roots," head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk said speaking at the 4th International Congress in Wurzburg (Germany).
      He believes that "future of Christianity in the third millennium depends" on joint efforts of Orthodox and Catholics.
      The Metropolitan noted that good will of the both sides helped reach "real positive results in normalization of Orthodox-Catholic relations in recent years."
      "Especially significant changes in this direction have happened after election of Pope Benedict XVI of Rome in 2005 as he knows the Orthodox Church very well. Today, for example, we don't see aggressive proselyte activity of Catholics in our territory that took place in early 90s," Metropolitan Hilarion said.
      "Orthodox and Catholics face the same challenges cast by modern epoch to the traditional life style. Here it's not the matter of theological issues, but present and future of human community is in question. It's the sphere where Orthodox and Catholic can cooperate without any harm to their church identity," the hierarch said.
      He called this form of interaction "a strategic alliance."
      It includes joint efforts taken to affirm in society Christian ideas of family, marriage, bringing up children, value of human life from conception to death. Other direction of possible interaction which becomes more actual is "protection of Christians from discrimination," the hierarch said.


      Gay pride parade scheduled in St. Petersburg for June
      Interfax-Relgion, March 28, 2011

      St.Petersburg, March 28, Interfax - St. Petersburg gay activists intend to hold gay rallies in the city in May-June 2011.
      "We plan to conduct a flash mob in St. Petersburg on May 17. The organization "Ravnopraviye" ("equality" - IF) also said it intends to hold another gay pride parade in St. Petersburg in June," Igor Kochetkov, one of the leaders of the Russian gay movement, told a press conference on Monday.
      The purpose of such actions is to draw people's attention to the problems of homosexuals in modern society, he said.
      The St. Petersburg administration earlier rejected requests filed by gay pride parade organizers to hold a march and a rally in defense of the rights of sexual minorities in June 2010.
      Despite that, the city's gay movement activists tried to hold an unauthorized rally on the city's Dvortsovaya Square, but were detained by the police.


      Church blames liberalism for deepening social gap in Russia
      www.russiatoday.com, March 30, 2011

      The Russian Orthodox Church has come up with its view of the current situation in the country. According to its report, many of the problems Russia is facing are rooted in alien liberal values.
      The document called "Tranfiguration and Modernization: Spiritual Basics, Aims, Risks and Chances" was presented during a meeting of the Economy and Ethics council curated by Patriarch Kirill, Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper reports. The authors are concerned about the fact that "in the background of official optimistic rhetoric, protest mood is growing in the country". They quote statistics which suggest that the number of "discontented Russians ready to take part in protest rallies is nearing half of the population".
      Going deeper into the reasons for the current state of the country, the authors conclude that the problem is in liberal ideas which became popular in the 1990s. They put most blame on individualism, consumerism, and the cult of money. In their opinion, this "implies the liberation of a sinful personality" who is given the right to discharge everything that limits him or her in self-accomplishment, including moral values. In this perspective, liberal values are completely opposite to Christianity.
      These ideas only "deepen social gaps and will eventually result in a social explosion", the authors believe. The report says that liberalism remains the dominant doctrine, although liberals themselves are of the opposite opinion. More than that, "Russia's ruling elite does not show understanding of the situation and readiness to act in the conditions of forthcoming destructive external influences".
      "West-oriented projects do not find support among the people," the authors are convinced.
      The Church calls on the government to get rid of officials "who compromised themselves with their debauched conduct" and of "those who are unable to control the situation". But this is only one small step.
      The document stresses the role of traditional Russian religions, first of all Orthodox Christianity, in giving an impetus to the transformation and modernization of the country, which should be based on moral values.

      Russia Unveils De-stalinization Plan
      Interfax, March 30, 2011

      MOSCOW. March 30 (Interfax) - Russian officials denying the crimes of the Soviet totalitarian regime could be banned from public service.
      This is one the provisions in the de-Stalinization plan proposed by the Human Rights Council's working group for historical memory.
      "To adopt an official decree that public speeches by government officials of any rank, containing a denial or justification of the crimes of the totalitarian regime are incompatible with holding a public office," according to a document posted on the website of the Memorial human rights group.
      The question of Lenin's burial must be resolved, it said.
      "There is also, of course, a need for a long overdue decision about the burial of Lenin's body. But there also a need for an enormous preliminary awareness effort so that the whole proposed program is not reduced to the removal of the body from the mausoleum and a campaign around it," the program said.
      Proposals to establish a nationwide program titled, "The perpetuation of victims of the totalitarian regime and national reconciliation," were delivered to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at his February meeting with the Human Rights Council members.
      There is a need to review Russian official commemorative dates and profession holidays "to re-orient them to the events of the entire centuries-long Russian history and not just the Soviet period," the document said.
      There is a need to pass legislation on toponymy to ban perpetuation of "the memory of those responsible for mass repressions and other grave crimes against the civil rights and liberties" in town, street, square names, etc, the document said.
      There needs to be a law or a decree requiring monuments to repressions' victims to be built in all big cities and towns, the program said.
      "The Federal Security Service, the Interior Ministry and Rosarkhiv (Federal Archive Agency) must be compelled to conduct a special search within state and departmental archives for detecting and fullest possible documenting of mass graves of terror victims," the document said.
      "To prepare and issue an order granting researchers free access to all documents, directly or indirectly related to mass graves of terror victims. First of all, researchers should be allowed access to resources containing records of execution, acts of death of prisoners and penal colony inmates, as well as any material pertaining to internal inquiries conducted by state security agencies in 1989-1991 and earlier years in regard to executions and mass graves," the program said
      "There is a need to set up a special Internet portal to post on it all important documents regarding the political history of the Soviet Union, kept in the archives, as well as most important studies by Russian and foreign scientists," the document said.
      The president's Human Rights Council believes that such "a portal would become an evident attestation of Russia's openness, its willingness to cooperate on the past with other countries," the document said.

      Right Cause, Yabloko Support Russia's De-stalinization Plan
      Interfax, March 30, 2011

      MOSCOW. March 30 (Interfax) - Members of the non-parliamentary opposition have approved measures to de-stalinize Russia, which were proposed by human rights activists.
      "Overall, this is right, of course. And although this might seem to many as irrelevant now, I think this is a movement in the right direction, particularly, toponymy proposals. The names of Bolshevik figures must be erased from our country's map," Right Cause co-chairman Leonid Gozman told Interfax.
      He also suggested paying particular attention to destroying the symbols of Stalin's power. "The very presence of Stalin's bas-relief legitimizes this vampire as if to reconcile us with this part of history, which should never be done," he said.
      Apart from the proposals already added to the plan, Gozman called for objectiveness in assessing the events of Stalin's era.
      "Portraying Stalin as the winner of the war is a flagrant lie. Our people won the war, and most likely, not because of but despite Stalin's repressions and the Stalin regime," he said.
      Yabloko Party leader Sergei Mitrokhin also approved of the proposed measures.
      "Those are the right measures. But, in my view, they cannot be reduced to merely symbolical efforts, although these are also important. First of all, we need to develop educational curricula, we need truth about history in our textbooks, awareness programs on television," he said
      It is important to talk not only about de-Stalinization but also about de-Bolshevization of Russia in general, Mitrokhin said.
      "First of all, it is important to recognize the 1917 Bolshevik coup and overthrow of power as being illegitimate. This involves restoring the good name of people, restoring the historic truth. This work must be systemic and not isolated or superficial," he said.
      It was reported earlier that the presidential Human Rights Council's working group had unveiled a plan for Russia's de-Stalinization.

      Communist Leaders Slam Kremlin Aides' "de-stalinization" Plan
      Interfax, March 30, 2011

      MOSCOW. March 30 (Interfax) - Communist leaders have lashed out against a plan of the "de-Stalinization" of Russia drawn up by Kremlin human rights advisers and unveiled on Wednesday.
      "Instead of making practical efforts to modernize our country and lead it out of its socioeconomic and political crisis, some of the aides of the head of state are provoking new unrest by trying to rewrite history and set different generations of Russians against each other under the guise of action against the so-called Soviet totalitarian regime," Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov told Interfax.
      Zyuganov branded the publication of the Kremlin-overseen Human Rights Council's plan as "a blatant and shameless provocation" and mentioned that, in an open letter early this year, he warned President Dmitry Medvedev against such attempts to supposedly rewrite history.
      "So far I have had no reply to my letter, but I believe it's about time the president should bring such pseudo-aides to reason," Zyuganov said. "I hope that I will be given a coherent reply to my letter instead of one more attempt to publish lampoons just as blatant, which can do nothing else than confusing the hearts and minds of people and may cause explosive actions in response."
      Ivan Melnikov, Zyuganov's first deputy and a deputy chairman of the State Duma, described the authors of the plan as "vulgar anti-Sovietists and pragmatic provocation seekers."
      "It actually needs to be pointed out that their intentions largely run against current legislation," Melnikov told Interfax in reference to a proposal for closing some jobs in government to people who deny or support various objectionable Soviet-era practices. This runs against constitutional guarantees of rights and freedoms, he claimed.
      Moreover, proposals for burying the embalmed body of Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin, which lies in a glass encasement inside a tomb on Moscow's Red Square, and for revising Russia's list of public holidays "carry a huge conflict charge," he said.
      "What needs to be done is not to de-Stalinize Russia but to de-paranoidize the political system, the people must be defended against such provocations," Melnikov said. The Communist Party "will get involved in this task if efforts are made to put the balderdash that has been published into practice."
      The "de-Stalinization" plan was posted on the website of the Memorial human rights group.

      Church denies any link to controversial anti-liberalism report
      www.russiatoday.com, March 31, 2011

      The Russian Orthodox Church has nothing to do with a report blaming liberal values for the deepening social gap in Russia, released earlier this week, according to its public relations head Archbishop Vsevolod Chaplin.
      The church official, who also chairs the Economy and Ethics Council under the auspices of Patriarch Kirill, has said that the body did not contribute to the report titled Transfiguration and Modernization: Spiritual Basics, Aims, Risks and Chances.
      It was presented on Tuesday in Moscow by an organization called the Club of Orthodox Christian Entrepreneurs. Among other things, it stated that liberalism, which promotes consumerism and individualism, has a negative impact on Russian society and also contradicts the values of Christianity. The authors of the report said it was drafted jointly with the Economy and Ethics Council.
      Archbishop Chaplin has denied any connection to the document.
      "As chairman of the council, I would like to say that we did not consider the text," he told Interfax, adding that the document is heavily "politicized and controversial, to say the least."
      "I personally, as well as other Orthodox Christians, cannot agree with the radical stance of the report, it can be a good issue for discussion, but no more than that," the church official commented.
      He went on to say that there are both supporters of conservatism and liberalism and of different political parties, and "only the dialogue of all those people is the pledge of balanced and steady development of Russia."
      The report asserted that today's problems in Russia are rooted in the 1990s, when liberalism gained ground in the country. In response to this, the archbishop said, "The mistakes made in the 1990s need to be corrected. This process has already begun, but no force should claim that it has an exclusive right to determine the country's future. We have to do this together, weighing all pros and cons," he concluded.

      Russian Poll Shows Further Decline In Support For Stalin's Legacy
      Interfax, March 31, 2011

      Moscow, 31 March: The number of Russians citizens who recognize the achievements of Joseph Stalin is gradually diminishing. At the same time, a third of people asked believe that the country has already rid itself of the effects of Stalinism, according to sociological research.
      At present, 45 per cent of Russians believe that Stalin played a positive role in the country's history through his policies and his actions, whereas in 2009 49 per cent of those asked believed that, and in the past 51 per cent believed that, researchers from the Levada Centre told Interfax on Thursday (31 March) based on the findings of a nationwide survey carried out in March.
      The study also showed a rise in the number of Russians who take a negative view of Stalin's deeds, from 33 per cent in 2009 to 35 per cent this year, as well in the number of those who struggled to express an opinion (from 18 per cent to 20 per cent respectively).
      Asked by the sociologists to assess the role played in the country's history by the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, at which Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev made a speech exposing Stalin's personality, around half those asked (48 per cent) described that role as positive.
      Twenty-two per cent of those surveyed disagree, and find nothing positive to say about the condemnation of Stalin's personality cult and the repressions carried out during the period of his rule.
      Those who most often spoke during the course of the survey about the negative role played by the 20th Congress include pensioners (35 per cent) and, more generally, Russians above the age of 55 (32 per cent), on low incomes (37 per cent) and those living in towns with a population of between 100,000 and 500,000 (28 per cent).
      Among those who spoke most about the congress's positive role were entrepreneurs (53 per cent), workers (52 per cent), specialists (51 per cent) and, more generally, men (50 per cent), Russians aged between 40 and 55 (52 per cent), those with a higher education (52 per cent), those with a high consumer status, people living in Moscow (56 per cent) and people living in towns with a population of less than 100,000 (54 per cent).
      In the opinion of 32 per cent of Russians surveyed, our country has already rid itself of the effects of Stalinism, while 30 per cent of citizens disagree, continuing to believe that the country is gradually overcoming them.
      Twelve per cent of people are confident that overcoming the effects of Stalinism is impossible, while 11 per cent believe that this does not need to happen, "because, under Stalin, there were a lot of good things". Fifteen per cent struggled to provide a response, the Levada Centre told the agency.

      Investigators Name Suspect in Murder of Moscow Judge
      SOVA Center, April 1, 2011

      On 24 March 2011, the Investigation Committee of the Prosecutor's Office (SKP) of the Russian Federation named a suspect in last April's murder of Moscow City Court Judge Eduard Chuvashov. According to an SKP spokesman, 28-year old Muscovite Alexei Korshunov is alleged to have committed the murder in revenge for sentences levied against his Nazi skinhead comrades.
      The investigation had placed Korshunov - who is in hiding - on a wanted list while a court ordered his detention. He is charged under Article 295 of the Criminal Code: making an attempt on the life of a judge with the intent of obstructing official activity or as retribution for such activity.
      After a February 2010 ruling against the far-right "White Wolves" group, a video was posted on the Internet placing Chuvashov on a list of "enemies of the people" and calling for his death. During the trial process, Chuvashov had likened the group's members to "black sheep" amongst Russians.
      Korshunov is reportedly a member of OB-88, a neo-Nazi group whose members include suspects in other high-profile murders of Russian left-wing activists and officials. Among them are Alexei Bormot and Alexander Parinov, who are wanted in connection with the 2006 murder of anti-fascist activist Alexander Riukhin. Nikita Tikhonov, the chief suspect in the December 2009 murders of lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova, is also a member.
      Some evidence points to Korshunov's involvement in the murders of Markelov and Baburova, a case SOVA has closely followed. It is worth noting that while Tikhonov is known to have kept track of the movements of Markelov and Baburova, a man resembling Korshunov was photographed at the press center that became the crime scene during a conference attended by Markelov weeks before his killing. It is also alleged that Korshunov acted as a lookout, giving the signal to shoot Markelov.


      BIGOTRY MONITOR, Volume 11, Number 4, April 1, 2011

      On March 28, Russian security forces claimed to have slain 17 Islamic rebels in Ingushetia, a small, restive North Caucasus republic bordering Chechnya. President Dmitry
      Medvedev praised the raid and said that it had "dealt a heavy blow" to the
      insurgency. Citing law-enforcement sources, some media reports even added
      that Chechen warlord Doku Umarov and his associate Aslan Byutukayev might
      have been among those killed in the operation. But others dismissed the
      claim, pointing out that Umarov's death has been announced on too many
      The clashes in the Ingush village of Verkhny Alkun included air strikes and
      formed part of a large-scale counterinsurgency operation, Russian officials
      revealed and noted that three law-enforcement officers also died in the
      "During the special operation currently being conducted on the territory of
      Ingushetia, two of the republic's residents, brothers Islam and Ilez
      Yandiyev, were also arrested," said Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for the
      Investigative Committee of the Prosecutor-General's Office. "According to
      the investigation, they were the ones who met the suicide terrorist Magomed
      Yevloyev in Moscow and who took him to Domodedovo Airport on January 24."
      A suicide bomber's belt and two homemade bombing devices were said to have
      been found at the brothers' home.
      Despite recent gains in the North Caucasus, the Kremlin faces an uphill
      battle in stamping out the insurgency, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
      observed and summed up the causes as `grinding poverty, compounded by
      corruption and abuse by security forces.'
      Aleksei Malashenko, a respected Caucasus expert at the Carnegie Center in
      Moscow, did not share in the jubilation over the March 28 raid. "It was
      undeniably a success; security services must be given their due," he said.
      "But I don't think anything will come out of it because we've seen how slain
      militants are always replaced by new ones."

      BIGOTRY MONITOR, Volume 11, Number 4, April 1, 2011

      On March 29, the day after the raid in Ingushetia, Russian investigators formally charged
      Chechen warlord Doku Umarov with organizing the suicide bombing at
      Domodedovo Airport that killed 37 people in January.
      A spokesman for the Investigative Committee of the Prosecutor-General's
      Office, Vladimir Markin, said that the committee decided to bring charges
      against another militant, Aslan Byutukayev. Also known as Emir Khamzat,
      Byutukayev is said to have trained suicide bombers for a number of attacks,
      including the one at Domodedovo.
      Umarov, who has named himself the Emir of the Caucasus, claimed to have
      masterminded the attack in an online video. In addition, he has claimed
      responsibility for twin suicide bombings on Moscow's metro a year ago that
      killed 40 people.
      Markin said authorities had tracked down all seven perpetrators of last
      year's deadly subway bombings, six of whom were killed by security forces.
      He said an international warrant had been issued for the remaining one

      BIGOTRY MONITOR, Volume 11, Number 4, April 1, 2011

      In his annual report on human rights in Russia, government human rights ombudsman
      Vladimir Lukin has condemned the "extrajudicial killings of members of
      illegal armed formations in the North Caucasus." The surprisingly sharp
      condemnation was published in the daily `Gazeta' which says it has obtained
      a copy of the report written before the March 28 raid.
      Lukin stressed that he does not question the need for harsh measures in the
      struggle against `militants'-- and he avoided using the term "terrorist."
      But he insisted that only lawful means be applied against lawlessness.
      Human rights activists agree that arbitrary violence by members of the
      police and security forces has been an important--possibly the most
      important--factor in generating a steady stream of volunteers to join the
      insurgency over the past decade. Many young men who participated in the June
      2004 attacks on police and security personnel in Ingushetia joined the
      insurgency after their relatives were abducted and disappeared. Similarly,
      police brutality against young practicing Muslims propelled young men in
      Kabardino-Balkaria to launch attacks in October 2005.

      BIGOTRY MONITOR, Volume 11, Number 4, April 1, 2011

      Ilya Goryachev, the principal prosecution witness in the trial of two
      ultranationalists accused of murdering human rights lawyer Stanislav
      Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova in January 2009, has revoked his
      testimony after fleeing Russia, Interfax has reported. Goryachev now claims
      that force was used to extract his testimony to the effect that the accused
      Nikita Tikhonov and Yevgenia Khasis confessed to him carrying out the
      killings. But to retract a statement, a witness is required to do so
      personally in court, and that is something Goryachev is unlikely to consider
      returning to Russia to do.

      BIGOTRY MONITOR, Volume 11, Number 4, April 1, 2011

      Addressing the fourth International Christian Congress in Wurzburg, Germany, Metropolitan
      Hilarion of Volokolamsk, known as the foreign minister of the Russian
      Orthodox Church (ROC), called for a strategic alliance with the Roman
      Catholic Church. According to the official state newspaper `Rossiyskaya
      Gazeta' published on March 23, Hilarion said that the two Christian churches
      should recognize each other as `allies' rather than as `rivals,' and focus
      on protecting the rights of Christians. Hilarion heads the ROC's Department
      for External Church Relations.
      The metropolitan stressed that "the future of Christianity in the third
      millennium depends on the joint efforts of the Orthodox believers and
      Catholics.'' In a statement to the state newspaper, he explained that his
      idea is `the direct opposite of Uniatism, which is a way toward a
      rapprochement based on doctrinal compromises. In our point of view, the
      policy of Uniatism had suffered complete failure. Not only did it not bring
      the Orthodox Christians and Catholics closer together, it actually put a
      distance between them. And Uniatism, as is currently recognized by both
      Orthodox believers and Catholics, is not the path toward unity.'
      He said he is not asking for `any doctrinal compromises and without attempts
      to artificially level our dogmatic differences, the teachings about the
      Church and about the superiority of the Universal Church, without the claims
      to resolve all of the existing problems between us act as allies, at the
      same time, without being a single Church, without having a single
      administrative system or common liturgy, and while maintaining the
      differences on the points in which we differ.'
      Metropolitan Hilarion pointed out the importance of common problems, as both
      Orthodox and Catholic Christians face `the challenges of a godless world,
      which is equally hostile today to Orthodox believers and Catholics, the
      challenge of the aggressive Islamic movement, the challenge of moral
      corruption, family decay, the abandonment by many people in traditionally
      Christian countries of the traditional family structure, liberalism in
      theology and morals, which is eroding the Christian community from within.
      We can respond to these, and a number of other challenges, together.'
      "We don't need any compromises,' Hilarion stressed. `We need cooperation and
      collaboration. And within the framework of the theological commission, we
      could discuss the differences that exist between us not in order to find a
      compromise, but in order to clarify our differences and the things we have
      in common.'

      BIGOTRY MONITOR, Volume 11, Number 4, April 1, 2011

      A Moscow district prosecutor responded to a request from a human rights group
      to ban an infamous antisemitic forgery by asserting that it does not incite
      ethnic hatred and has "political-educational value," according to a March 9
      press release by the NGO For Human Rights.
      In addition, Russia's consumer goods protection agency, Rospotrebnadzor,
      reportedly replied to the same NGO's request to ban the book as a forgery by
      asserting that there is nothing illegal about selling a forgery.
      "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" was published and distributed by the
      tsarist secret police as part of its program to incite pogroms. Hitler and
      other antisemites made use of the work which claims to be a transcript of a
      secret meeting of Jewish leaders plotting to take over the world.


      Events in Moscow 11th December 2010: Political Crisis
      By Emil Pain
      Russian Analytical Digest, No. 93, 10 March 2011

      A common Russian saying is that a man's life can hang on where a comma lies within a sentence, deter¬mining whether he is pardoned or sentenced. Similarly, the line between viewing societal problems as common issue for all of the population and blaming specific eth¬nic groups for all the ills of society is a thin one. At the heart of the events of 11 December in the Manezh Square, was the desire to redress societal problems, pri¬marily the need for a just judicial system with no cor¬ruption, which are concerns shared by all Russians and hence should in theory serve to bind society together. However, the demands of the youth that came out to voice their frustrations on that day were channelled through ethnicity, directly blaming other ethnic groups for all societal problems. The way these demands are being articulated threaten to breakup society within a multiethnic country such as Russia, provoking danger¬ous conflicts and significantly lowing the probability of successful modernisation.
      Where is Social Protest Directed?
      Neither the summer fires in Moscow, nor the closure of airports leaving thousands stranded in Winter brought people out onto the street. Yet, 5,000 (Police sources) to 12,000 (Expert assessments) demonstrators came out onto the Manezh Square under slogans such as `Russians forwards', `Russia for Russians-Moscow for Musco¬vites', `Moscow is not the Caucasus'. These protesters were not bussed in nor bribed by third parties, nor were they tempted by promises of a pop-concert, but turned out on their own accord. Indeed, these demonstrations spilled over into 15 other towns. The level of public sup¬port and sympathy for this political action, according to expert sociological centres, was 25-27%. About the same amount stated they were uncertain whether they supported the protests. Is this significant support or not?
      In October 1922, 8,000 black shirts relying on the support of a tiny section of the Italian population marched on Rome, leading to Mussolini coming to power. Similarly to the Manezh Square protests, the ideas that united the black shirts were social justice and the rehabilitation of a humiliated nation. This is how Italy was raised from its knees in the 1920s. How¬ever, the whole Italian nation was not behind the cause of the Black Shirts, instead support for their ideas was splintered-those from the North hated Southerners, who in return hated Northerners. A similar context is evident in Russia today in relation to the Manezh pro¬testers and their ideas. However, there is a significant difference between the two cases. In the 1920s there was no internet, but in the contemporary world groups are able to almost instantly organize thousands of peo¬ple via social networks, as happened in Moscow on 11th December. This potential of the internet as a tool for organizing large groups of people in a short space of time is illustrated by direct quotes from the social networks used to organise the Manezh gatherings: one site states that `the group itself appeared on 12th December 2010, before that we only had one meeting, now the group has over 5000 people', another outlines that `the idea of the Manezh Square came immediately, as soon as we managed to cordon off the traffic on Leningradskaya, we then immediately posted the information', while another details that `we have been in contact since the 6th December, as everyone knows the march was orga¬nized for the 11th December. 9000 people registered for the march in advance'. This is the method by which these demonstrations were organized, with dozens of volunteer coordinators, aged between 14 and 20, able to bring together many thousands of people. Older organiz¬ers of the demonstrations relied on other less open ways of coordinating, including conspiratorial flats. Regard¬less of age, all those involved were united by a common idea, which closely resembles that outlined in an anon¬ymous letter to General Shamanov, the head of Russian Airborne Troops, which has circulated on the internet. This letter demanded the use of Russian paratroopers to fight against not only against the lawlessness from the Caucasus but also against officials that do nothing about it. Citing both these concerns, the nationalistic youth are looking for a leader in the military sphere. In this light, the case of `Kvachkov' is not so far-fetched. Kvachkov was accused of organizing militia groups in different Russian cities, who on his order were suppos¬edly meant to take over military facilities and march on Moscow in support of the Patriotic Youth. A simi¬lar scenario is not impossible. Indeed, other threats and trends are even more likely before 2012.
      The Transformation of Supporters to Attackers
      In the 1990s Russia had many problems, but social pro¬cesses were developing in the same direction as in other countries of the North. Russian youth showed a strong inclination for modernizing reforms and high ethnic tol-erance in comparison with the elderly. Since the start of the 2000s the situation has changed, and it is the youth that has become the main proponent for traditional¬ism and xenophobia. In the 1990s football supporters often pitted themselves against nationalists and neo- Nazi groups. During this period, a common story cir¬culated among all groups of football supporters about a Spartak supporter, who was hanged by Nazi skinheads using his own Spartak scarf. In the 2000s, this previ¬ous hatred has become love, leading to dozens of reports in many towns of incidents of armed attacks with signs of racial and ethnic hatred involving both nationalists and football supporters. In parallel, other protest move¬ments began to take on an ethnic component, such as the 2004 protests against the modernisation of social benefits, which were accompanied in many places by xenophobic slogans, the events of Kondopoga in 2006 and other local clashes across Russia.
      Increasingly the ethnic Russian Self is being con¬structed against an opposing ethnic Other in response to earlier consolidation of identity by ethnic minorities. This process was accelerated by the Chechen War, as well as significantly by Putin's encouragement of offi¬cial suspicion-'enemies are everywhere, who want to take fat chunks out of our territory' or `foreign enemies are encouraging domestic enemies'. This approach by Putin created the psychology of a victimized nation. Eth¬nocization was intensified by politicians of all political persuasions. The first political grouping to identify that this sense of victimhood could be utilized to mobilise mass support were the new nationalist parties, groups and movements. More established parties also tried to exploit this, such as LDPR, which changed its slogan from `cleaning our boots in the Indian Ocean' to a sim¬pler one `we are for the poor, we are for Russians'. The Communist Parties changed its position from `interna¬tionalism' towards presenting itself as a party of the eth¬nic majority. In the Presidential elections of 2008, the leader of the Communist Party was described as `not liked by the international governing elite and the Putin team not only because he is a communist, but because he is the only one of the candidates that is Russian by blood and spirit'.
      And even some politicians, who describe themselves as liberal, put forward the idea of liberal-nationalism. Within this position, the only thing that is left from liberalism is the name, but even this served to make them unpopular with Russian nationalists, for whom `liberals' is a word associated with `enemies', `foreign¬ers' and `homosexuals'. Furthermore, the ideology of the different strands of Russian nationalism is categori¬cally against liberalism, they are against liberty, let alone equality. They demand that the dominant position of the Russian ethnic group is legally institutionalized as part of a one-nation Russia.
      The Drift of Power: the Eyes Fear-the Hands Do
      A common but mistaken view amongst the Russia media is that the events on the Manezh Square were provoked/ orchestrated by the authorities. The Russian authorities have been scared by these events, which highlighted that they are less and less able to control the growth and behavior of Russian nationalism. The state's attempts to manufacture a certain type of nationalism, which could be controlled and manipulated have failed. Therefore, the Russian authorities have had to come up with their own nationalist project, the `Rodina' Party. Whilst the Russian authorities initially institutionalized the new national holiday, National Unity Day held on the 4th November, they are now concerned about this partic¬ular holiday and deploy OMON troops to control the thousands of people that take part in Russian-nationalist marches every year. Indeed, it was on the 4th November 2010 marches that the people involved in the Manezh Square protests were trained. Today, Russian national¬ism cannot be domesticated by or allied to the authorities, because it is primarily centred upon protest movements.
      While the political elites cannot control nationalism, they can push it along. Following the ethnic pogrom in Kondopoga 2006, the authorities began to speak about the need to guarantee the primary place of the titular population in Russia. In the wake of the war with Geor¬gia 2008, quotas were introduced for foreigners com¬ing to Russia, and in light of the events in the Manezh Square, debate in the State Council moved beyond lim¬iting travel to Russia to restrictions on the registration regulations for internal migrants-Russian citizens, moving from one Russian region to another. Such sug¬gestions seem absurd considering that even supporters of limiting migration from abroad have argued that the loss of external migrants should be mitigated by increased internal migration. They say `we should replace street cleaners in Moscow from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan for the ones from Ryazan'. Indeed, internal migrants are not just street cleaners, but make up a good proportion of the Kremlin and the White House. The demonstra¬tors at Manezh called for a limit on internal migration, but from only certain regions of Southern Russia and for migrants of certain ethnic backgrounds. Hence, it is clear for whom the tightened registration regulations have been created. However, the increased concessions by the authorities to the nationalists lead to increased demands. Currently, the nationalists demand not only controls on the arrival of migrants from other ethnic groups into Moscow, but also the deportation of those that have come earlier.
      At the same time as revoking the rights of certain ethnic groups, the Russian authorities are calling for greater patriotism from all ethnic groups within Russia. How will these ethnic groups respond? A real danger exists that the response will lead to increased incidents of local clashes on ethnic grounds. The SOVA centre investigated such incidents in 2010, finding that they occurred in 44 Russian regions, resulting in 37 deaths and 368 injured people.
      Religious Mobilisation
      If in regions with a predominantly ethnic-Russian pop¬ulation social dissatisfaction is being expressed through increasing ethnic tension, in those Republics historically linked with Islam, ethnic mobilisation is being replaced by religious mobilisation.
      In Russia a special zone has emerged-the Chechen Republic, in which a theocratic regime has been estab¬lished that can only be compared with the regimes found in Iran, Sudan and Afghanistan under the Taleban. An illustration of this brand of Islamic theocracy is that all woman and young girls (not only those working in offi¬cial building, but also in universities and schools) are now required to wear headscarves and long skirts. Those that break this norm are punished. This is illustrative of the growing Islamization of Chechnya under Kadyrov.
      Although little information about Chechnya reaches the rest of the country, the presence of such a theo¬cratic regime is impacting on Russian views of their own country in ways that are hard to quantify. It also causes many Chechens to migrate to other parts of the country. Many of these internal migrants maintain official reg¬istration in Chechnya or other Republics, but live pri¬marily in central regions of Russia. It is important to highlight that citizens of Russia from the North Cauca¬sus attract much greater ethnic hatred than other immi¬grants from the CIS. Relations between the ethnically Russian populations of many towns and cities with inter¬nal migrants from the North Caucasus are often more conflictual than with other new immigrants, because these migrants seeks to demonstrate their right to pre¬serve their own specific norms of behavior more strongly.
      In other Republics (predominantly Muslim), social conflicts are framed along the lines of traditional vs. non-traditional Islam. This is a process that began in the North Caucasus at the end of the 1990s and is now in evidence in the centre of Russia as well, in the Republics of the Volga region. The deputy Mufti of the Republic of Tatarstan, Valiulla Yakupov states that `the major¬ity of young people are supporters of foreign religious influences'. He also predicts that `knowing the evolu¬tion of this movement on other Republics of the post- Soviet space, in which Islamization is greater than in Tatarstan, maybe we can see what will happen to us'.
      What awaits the rest of the country. For now only one thing-growing radicalization and antagonistic relations between different ethnic groups of a broken down society.
      [About the Author Prof. Emil Pain is General Director of the Centre for Ethno-Political and Regional Studies and professor at Russian State University-Higher School of Economics.]


      Ideological Splits: The ruling party could be facing a showdown between its pragmatic and pro-Russian wings
      By Dmytro Kalynchuk
      Ukrainian Week, March 10, 2011

      After Party of the Regions won the VR election in 2006, its, then very much alive Yevhen Kushnariov, a member of PR's Political Council, shocked White&Blue supporters with a killer statement: `Ukraine should have one official language and that language is Ukrainian.' Adding injury to insult for the pro-Russian contingent, he suggested cutting the salaries of civil servants who didn't speak Ukrainian 20% and adding 30% to the salaries of those who spoke only Ukrainian at work. All this brought a furious response from fellow PR member Vadym Kolesnichenko, a notoriously anti-Ukrainian deputy: `I think Kushnariov got it wrong… The Russian language should have official status in some oblasts-and that's just the first stage.' Fortunately, the `first stage' is still only talk.
      In 2004 election, Viktor Yanukovych's team for the first time violated an unspoken rule in Ukrainian politics by thro­­wing divisive issues that had previous­­ly been taboo into the campaign. These included granting the Russian language official status, allowing dual ci­­tizenship with the Russian Fe­­deration, and so on. In addition, Russian political handlers involved in the campaign organized visual propaganda that divided Ukrainians into `three sorts' and other hostile messages geared to splitting Ukrainian society.
      After Yanukovych lost the election, Party of the Regions continued to actively exploit these issues as the opposition. Local councils elected in 2006 with a PR majority in Eastern and Southern Ukraine made a big deal of establishing `Russian as the regional language' and declaring themselves `NATO-free zones.'
      The situation changed radically after PR gained virtually complete power in 2010. Objectively, the party should no longer have had an interest in breaking the country up. Moreover, numerous protests, resentment among the Ukrainian intelligentsia and resistance in the opposition hold them back from keeping their language and humanitarian promises. The Yanukovych Administration is obviously not rushing to implement the most radical of these, even though it has all the leverage to do so: its people run the SBU, the Prosecutor's Office, the Interior Ministry, and the Constitutional Court, and it can easily organize a majority for any vote in the Rada. It looks like the pragmatic wing, at least, is trying to prevent further radicalization of Central and Western Ukraine, which means agreeing to certain ideological compromises.
      But not everyone in the agglomeration called the Ukrainian government shares this pragmatic and completely reasonable approach. Some characters cannot seem to back off, doing damage to the image, of not just their country, but of their own leaders..
      Neither fish nor fowl
      Like most Ukrainian parties, Party of the Regions has no clearly defined ideology. In the time it spent as opposition, PR collected a crazy ideological cocktail made up of all the wishes of all those who might possibly vote for them, first among them, the pro-Russian contingent. Yet PR's moves in this direction came down to noisy words: the party rushed to pass the language bill, the obscure Declaration of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine `On Dignity, Freedom and Human Rights,' and so on. In time, though, the language bill was set aside until `after the election' and never raised again.
      While one PR man, Education Minister Dmytro Tabachnyk, declares that Halychians and Ukrainians are two different peoples, the Government and the President arrange grand celebrations of Unity Day January 22, commemorating the day when the Western and Central Ukrainian Republics joined together. VR Deputies Tsariov and Kolesnichenko crusade against commemorating OUN-UPA, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, while L'viv Deputy Ihor Hryshchuk calls on the public to donate money to complete the monument to Stepan Bandera, the most prominent leader of OUN. Donetsk Oblast Council Secretary Mykola Levchenko jeers that the Ukrainian language is only good for folklore and jokes, while the President's Deputy Chief-of-Staff Hanna Herman urges, `Protest when you're told you are not Ukrainians!'
      On the anniversary of the Battle of Kruty, where 300 students and cadets were mowed down by 6,000 Bolshevik troops, Kolesnichenko whimsically publishes an article entitled `The Kruty tragedy is not a myth on which the country can build its future,' while President Yanukovych addresses the people of Ukraine, saying, `With their courage and sacrifice, several hundreds of cadets, college and high school students set a true example for the next generations of fighters for independence.' Zaporizhzhia Governor and PR member Borys Petrov shocks some party faithful by suggesting that the Communist Party's Oblast Committee should place statues of Stalin only inside its offices. When Ms. Herman announces that the President will never sign Tabachnyk's draft education reform program, the Minister calls for her resignation.
      This clash of `ideologies' within PR is leading to more and more conflicts. For the voters who did not support PR, the party remains an oligarch-run political force that steals state property and is ready to cut deals with Russia by crushing Ukrainian identity. Nowadays, PR diehards are beginning to talk about `political collaborationism.' The habit of saying one thing in the West and its near opposite in the East is yet more proof to PR supporters that they are being lied to. The expected `better life today' has not arrived so far, nor is it likely to do so. These days, PR voters are voting with their feet: in 2006, 60% of voters came to the polls in Sevastopol; only 41% did in 2010. In Kramatorsk, only 37% voted in local elections, while Melitopol broke the record for votes `against everybody'-25%.
      The Kremlin wing
      The PR members who want to avoid clashes within Ukrainian society-its business wing-or who prefer to look for compromises on cultural issues-Herman, Lavrynovych and Landyk-are finding themselves more and more estranged from those party members who are openly ready to serve Russian interests and Kremlin bosses. The `Kremlin wing' includes Tabachnyk with his belief that `Halychians and Ukrainians are two different peoples;' Kolesnichenko with his `For a Russian-Speaking Ukraine' movement, who also arranged an exhibit called `The Volyn Massacres: Polish and Jewish Victims of the OUN-UPA'; Levchenko with his `Ukrainian is only good in folklore and jokes'; VR Deputy Oleh Tsariov, co-leader of the Anti-Fascist Forum of Ukraine, known best for his campaign to close Kryivka, a very popular UPA-themed restaurant in L'viv; and so on.
      The Kremlin wing is known for its aggressive opposition to all things Ukrainian and for endlessly singing to the ideological tune played towards Ukraine across the Russian border. Nor are they looking less enthusiastic with time, despite protectionist moves on Moscow's behalf that are havingan adverse effect on PR's business wing. With no serious business of their own and having built their image exclusively on being dead against all things Ukrainian, these PR members are now struggling to find their place. The Administration, in turn, uses this `Kremlin wing' largely to play the tunes that pro-Russian supporters in Eastern Ukraine and Crimea want to hear, such as the threat of `the vengeance of Banderites,' a `swift' solution to the language issue, and so on.
      Nevertheless, the current position of PR leaders on socially sensitive issues is slowly turning its pro-Russian wing into a team of buffoons who, in the eyes of voters, are only capable of lying and manipulating. Borys Kolesnikov, who represents PR's business interests, once openly called Tabachnyk `a cheap clown.'
      A political time bomb
      Since `A better life today' never materialized for most Ukrainians, voters are beginning to treat any new promises, such as `no unemployment in Ukraine in a year,' as science fiction; in exchange for extending the Black Sea Fleet, gas has become more expensive, not cheaper; education and arts initiatives are all still on paper alone. Given this, the political prospects for the Kremlin wing are anything but clear now.
      Still, PR is unlikely to split over ideology just yet. So far, Viktor Yanukovych has managed to reconcile his oligarchs among each other. The PR's business elite is consolidated as never before. But the Kremlin wing is unlikely to find a powerful sponsor anytime soon. Eventually, though, the PR oligarchs could start squabbling again. At that point, some `decent' sponsor might need the Kremlin faction and any deserters will easily find shelter in Moscow.
      Hypothetically, there is the third scenario: before the next VR election the PR leadership will force a split. Yuriy Lutsenko's Narodna Samooborona once grabbed the votes of those unhappy with President Yushchenko's and Premier Tymoshenko's policies, only to run in a bloc with Yushchenko's Nasha Ukraina in a subsequent election. Similarly, the Kremlin faction can draw dissatisfied voters from PR, which would allow it to continue singing about `Banderite threats' yet set up a bloc with PR later... theoretically.
      Yet the reality is that PR is in a political split as a result of its shortsighted ideological work when it was in opposition. It is constantly walking a fine line between further radicalization of Central and Western Ukraine and deeper disappointment in Eastern Ukraine and Cri­­mea. And holding the splits for too long is not good for the musculoskeletal system.
      Dmytro Tabachnyk on the steadfast leader:
      `A local community can build monuments to whomever it wants for its own money. The government has no right to prohibit people from following any ideology they want, although it should stop any attempts to impose ideologies on others. When we talk about historical facts, Stalin was the leader of the winning army and of the nation that won the Great Patriotic War [WWII]. This has ensured him an important, unshakeable place in history.' (UNIAN)


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