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Bulletin 5:13 (2011)

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  • Andreas Umland
    THE RUSSIAN NATIONALISM BULLETIN A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs Vol. 5, No. 13(134), 11 May 2011 Compilers: Scott Littlefield & Andreas Umland I
    Message 1 of 1 , May 11 1:23 PM
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      THE RUSSIAN NATIONALISM BULLETIN
      A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs
      Vol. 5, No. 13(134), 11 May 2011
      Compilers: Scott Littlefield & Andreas Umland

      I NEWS: 15 - 30 April 2011
      II SURVEYS, ANALYSES, COMMENTS
      III ANNOTATIONS OF RECENT PUBLICATIONS

      [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 - 30 April 2011

      Designers to present Orthodox dress code in Moscow
      Interfax-Religion, April 21, 2011

      Moscow, April 21, Interfax - Traditions and Style fashion show will be held April 28 in Moscow as an Easter celebration event.
      "Hardly anybody knows what the Orthodox dress code may look like. To my mind, it involves covered knees and shoulders, decency and charm. This is dress one can wear in church and in the street," Vera Zhestovskaya responsible for selection of dress collections for the contest told Interfax-Religion.
      According to her, every participant can share his or her opinion in the discussion of the Orthodox dress style. The discussion will involve, in particular, a well-known film director Nikita Mikhalkov.
      Currently, several designers have been selected to participate in the event. They include Igor Miroshnichenko, deputy head of the Union of Orthodox Banner-Bearers, who will show t-shirts, do-rags and belts featuring Orthodox symbols.
      "We hope to use this collection to not only attract attention to the fact that it is possible to follow fashion trends falling back on national and religious traditions, but also inspire a creative initiative focused on boosting production and business efforts to promote Orthodox fashion trends," he said the agency.

      http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=8396
      -----

      Russian state TV viewers give massive support to Stalinism
      Rossiya 1, BBC Monitoring, April 22, 2011

      The 22 April edition of the weekly Poyedinok (Duel) talk show on Russian official state television channel Rossiya 1 discussed Stalin and his role in Russian history.
      The debate, chaired by regular presenter Vladimir Solovyev, was between Gennadiy Zyuganov, leader of the Russian Communist Party, and Leonid Gozman, co-chairman of the Right Cause non-parliamentary opposition party.
      In his opening remarks, Solovyev said: "The public discussion of the project to immortalize the memory of the victims of the totalitarian regime and to achieve national reconciliation began today. Although the document does not say a word about Stalin, it is called none other than the de-Stalinization plan. Such fierce battles have started that national reconciliation is in danger of becoming national confrontation.... Why, despite all the revelations, does Stalin remain an idol for many?"
      In his opening statement, Zyuganov said: "The country has been driven into a corner. It needs concerted work. Instead, it is being offered a confrontation again... We offer constructive work, not this scandal, which is again being imposed on the country which is writhing in the throes of crisis. I don't believe this is the right way, but an even greater impasse and a pit into which we all falling."
      For his part, Leonid Gozman said: "Stalinism is not just about mass murders and concentration camps. This is in the past. Stalinism is about untouchable and irremovable authorities, absolute power of the authorities and powerlessness of the people, flashers on cars and unjust courts. This is not about yesterday, this is about today. And we are not discussing the past, we are discussing the future. We are discussing how our country should live."
      Zyuganov said the condemnation of Stalin would equal to the condemnation of the whole Soviet period in Russian history.
      He said: "After the victory in May 1945, when the banner of victory proudly flew over the world, the Americans felt that our example was very contagious. So a doctrine was formulated to prove that the Soviet Union was not the architect of victory but no better than the Fascists. This attempt was made ??several years ago in the Council of Europe, when unfinished followers of unfinished Nazis, followers of Vlasov and Bendera, again raised this issue in Europe. It looked like total nonsense to me then, and suddenly the same plan has been born but in the Kremlin offices this time, by the so-called human rights commission. This is not just an attempt to judge Stalinism, this is an attempt to brand the entire Soviet era as criminal."
      The interactive vote conducted throughout the programme gave Zyuganov a massive victory, with over 100,000 votes to Gozman's 14,000.
      -----

      Federal Migration Service Official Fired For Racist Remarks
      SOVA Center, April 22, 2011

      On April 20, 2011 the Russian government dismissed Konstantin Poltoranin, who served as Press Secretary for the Federal Migration Service beginning in 2005.
      Poltoranin was fired after raising concern over the "survival of the white race" and making a statement about the proper "mixing of blood" during an interview with the BBC's Russian-language service.
      He claims his resignation was voluntary.

      http://www.sova-center.ru/en/xenophobia/news-releases/2011/04/d21465/
      -------

      Armed, Drunken Local Official Storms Private Jehovah's Witnesses Meeting
      SOVA Center, April 22, 2011

      On April 17, 2011, the Head of Administration for the Revyakino Municipality of the Irkutsk region forced entry to a private residence where a Jehovah's Witnesses meeting was underway.
      Firing a pistol into the air, Leonid Frolov demanded an end to the meeting, and is reported to have broken furniture, assaulted two believers in attendance, and made death threats.
      Participants in the meeting appealed to police for a criminal investigation of Frolov for threats of violence, abuse of office, incitement to hatred on religious grounds, and obstruction of the right to freedom of conscience and religion.
      Jehovah's Witnesses meetings were also broken up in Novokuznetsk and the Rostov region on the same day.

      http://www.sova-center.ru/en/xenophobia/news-releases/2011/04/d21466/
      -----

      Russian Navy will stay in Sevastopol forever – admiral
      RIA Novosti, April 23, 2011

      MOSCOW, April 23 (RIA Novosti)-Russia will never give up its naval base in Ukraine's port of Sevastopol on the Crimean peninsula, ex-commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet Adm. Igor Kasatonov said.
      Russia's Black Sea Fleet is stationed in Crimea under a lease agreement with Ukraine. On April 21, 2010, Moscow and Kiev signed a deal extending the lease on the fleet's base in Sevastopol for 25 years after the current lease expires in 2017.
      "The year 2042 is not the final date of the Black Sea Fleet's presence in Crimea. The Russian Navy will stay in Sevastopol forever," Kasatonov said in a recent interview with the Kiev-based Expert magazine.
      "Russia will never give up either Sevastopol or the Kuril Islands," the admiral said, adding that the naval base in Sevastopol played the utmost strategic role in the protection of Russia's southwestern border.
      Kasatonov said that the Black Sea Fleet must be equipped with advanced weaponry as soon as possible to counter effectively the existing and emerging global threats.
      At present, the Black Sea Fleet has about 40 operational vessels, including a single diesel-electric submarine, but most of them are slated for decommissioning.
      Russian Navy Commander Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky said last year that the fleet would be reinforced with 15 new combat ships and diesel-electric submarines by 2020, and could become a formidable force by 2035.
      -----

      Hundreds of neo-Nazis rally in Moscow calling for expulsion of non-Slavic migrants: About 300 protesters, including activists from banned or unregistered groups that preach white supremacy, waved red-and-white flags with German Nazi eagles and chanted 'Hail Russia! Stop feeding the Caucasus!'
      By The Associated Press
      Haaretz, 23 April 2011

      Hundreds of neo-Nazis rallied in Moscow Saturday to protest the Kremlin's policies in the violence-plagued Caucasus region, calling for the forceful expulsion of non-Slavic migrants from Russia.
      About 300 protesters, including activists from banned or unregistered groups that preach white supremacy, waved red-and-white flags with German Nazi eagles and chanted "Hail Russia! Stop feeding the Caucasus!"
      The predominantly Muslim mountainous region hosts at least 100 ethnicities including Chechens, who have waged two separatist wars against Moscow after the 1991 collapse of the former Soviet Union.
      Analysts say the Chechen conflict, with atrocities and civilian slayings committed by both Russian forces and militant Islamists, has triggered the rise of xenophobia and neo-Nazism in Russia as well as growing resentment by Caucasus natives to ethnic Russians and Moscow's rule.
      After pacifying Chechnya, the Kremlin has spent billions of dollars on restoring the region and funding provincial governments that often include former warlords and jihadists, including the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who has boasted of killing his first Russian soldier at age 15.
      In recent years, Islamists and criminal groups have stepped up attacks on servicemen and officials in most of the Caucasus provinces and organized attacks on civilians in Moscow and central Russia.
      On Friday, unidentified militants killed a police officer and wounded a soldier in the village of Chaumyan in the province of Dagestan adjacent to Chechnya, police spokesman Vyacheslav Gasanov said.
      Racially motivated attacks, often targeting people from Caucasus and ex-Soviet
      Central Asia, have risen in recent years, peaking in 2008, when 110 were killed and 487 wounded, independent human rights watchdog Sova said.
      The group said ultranationalist thugs have recruited thousands of supporters on Internet forums and chat rooms.
      About 70,000 neo-Nazis are active in Russia – a sharp increase in comparison to just a few thousand in the early 1990s, according to the Moscow Bureau for Human Rights.

      http://www.haaretz.com/news/international/hundreds-of-neo-nazis-rally-in-moscow-calling-for-expulsion-of-non-slavic-migrants-1.357765
      -----------------

      Moscow allows first ever gay parade
      RIA Novosti, April 26, 2011

      MOSCOW, April 26 (RIA Novosti)-The Moscow city authorities gave official permission on Tuesday to hold the first ever gay pride march in the capital, in an important victory for the country's gay community, the parade's organizer said.
      In a landmark decision greeted with delight by Nikolai Alexeyev, Russia's top gay rights activist, the city government allowed the proposed march on May 28 to go ahead.
      The head of Moscow's central district said he was not aware of the planned event.
      "The authorities must now ensure the security of the participants in line with the ruling of the European Court [of Human Rights]," Alexeyev said in a statement published on the community's website, gayrussia.eu.
      In October, the Strasbourg Court fined Russia for banning gay parades in Moscow, saying fears that such marches could cause unrest were unfounded. The authorities were told to pay $41,090 in damages and for legal fees.
      "This is a crippling blow to Russian homophobia on all accounts," Alexeyev said after the ruling.
      The former Moscow mayor, Yury Luzkhov, who ruled the city like his own personal fiefdom for 18 years before he was sacked by President Dmitry Medvedev in September, described gay parades as "satanic."
      The new mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, told a radio station in February he was not in favor of the idea.
      Campaigners who have tried to march in Moscow without permission have come under attack from hardcore nationalists and religious groups, or were set upon by police.
      The mayor's office was not available for comment.
      ----

      Patriarch Kirill: Lessons must be drawn from Chernobyl disaster
      Interfax-Religion, April 26, 2011

      Kiev, April 26, Interfax - On the day marking the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia addressed the entire flock of the Russian Orthodox Church, asking all to remember the heroic feat of cleanup workers.
      "Man-made disasters, which have been assuming an increasingly menacing scope as civilization is developing, reflect what is happing inside the human soul. Without a profound spiritual analysis of the role Man plays in the Universe such disasters cannot be prevented," he said.
      The Patriarch noted with regret that many have failed to learn the lessons of the Chernobyl catastrophe and that Mankind has been treating the land, water and air, and the entire environment merely as a consumer.
      "It is impossible and not worthwhile to try and stop the development of science and technology. But people will not be guaranteed against tragedies similar to the one that occurred 25 years ago if they do not learn to use natural resources and achievements of civilization wisely, with care for each other and everything God has created," Patriarch Kirill said.
      Scientific and technological development "cannot be non-ethical. It must be combined with devotion to the eternal moral standards and the ideals of mutual respect and love. This is the guarantee of a worthy future for our people and the world as a whole," the Primate of Russian Church said.

      http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=8403
      ------

      Moscow says 'studying' gay march proposal, leaves event up in air
      RIA Novosti, April 27, 2011

      MOSCOW, April 27 (RIA Novosti)-The Moscow city government says it is studying a request by a leading gay activist to hold the country's first ever gay pride march in the capital.
      "We are studying the proposals and will reply in due time," Lyudmila Shvetsova, who oversees the capital's social policy, told reporters on Wednesday.
      Nikolai Alexeyev, Russia's top gay rights activist, said on Tuesday the city council had allowed the proposed march on May 28, a claim dismissed by Moscow's central district head, who said he was not aware of any such event.
      In October, the European Court of Human Rights fined Russia for banning gay parades in Moscow.
      The court in Strasbourg said fears that such marches could cause outrage and provoke violence were unfounded and ordered Russia to pay $41,090 in damages and for legal fees.
      Former Moscow mayor, Yury Luzkhov, who was in power for 18 years before being sacked by President Dmitry Medvedev in September, described gay parades as "satanic."
      The new mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, told a radio station in February he was not in favor of the idea.
      Activists who have tried to march in Moscow without permission have come under attack from hardcore nationalists and religious groups, or were set upon by police.
      -----

      Stalin Portraits On Public Transport Is Provocation - Russian Rights Activists
      Interfax, April 27, 2011

      Moscow, 27 April: Mikhail Fedotov, chairman of the Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights under the president of the Russian Federation, believes that the Federal Antimonopoly Service should react to plans to launch minibuses with portraits of Iosif Stalin in the streets of Moscow and some other towns and cities on 9 May.
      "My personal opinion is that these plans are pure provocation," Fedotov told Interfax on Wednesday (27 April).
      "Following this one could think of launching a minivan depicting Stalin behind bars or Stalin in some disreputable appearance. Some cartoons will follow. Using the law on advertising for political provocations seems to me illegal and disgraceful," Fedotov said.
      One can express one's political views or one's opinion on history in a newspaper or in the Internet, he added.
      "I think the issue should be dealt with by the Federal Antimonopoly Service whose competence is supervising the advertising legislation," Fedotov said. (Passage omitted)
      Earlier head of the oldest human rights organization, Moscow Helsinki Group, Lyudmila Alekseyeva told Interfax: "My attitude to this is purely negative".
      "I believe these portraits may result into needless spending," she said, adding that the appearance of Stalin portraits may cause strong protest on the part of many people.
      "All this yet again confirms the need to assess Stalin's activities from the legal point of view. Promoting a criminal of such a scale is not good, to put it mildly," one of Memorial leaders Yan Rachniskiy told Interfax earlier.
      "They built good roads under Hitler. But this by no means justifies the character. If we take an objective look at history, this war (World War II) would not have happened, had it not been for the mistakes and crimes of the Stalin regime. Had it not been for the terror before the war, another 700,000 men of conscription age would have been alive and could have defended their homeland," Rachinskiy said.
      "Many millions of people had their relatives die before the war, during and after it through Stalin's fault," he said.
      ----

      Patriarch Kirill calls Chernobyl disaster 'divine retribution for people's sins'
      Interfax-Religion, April 27, 2011

      Kiev, April 27, Interfax - Human sins were the reason why the disaster happened at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, said Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.
      "The sin that has infiltrated human nature and pushes people to commit mistakes for the sake of achieving sinful goals. A horrible error was the cause of the Chernobyl disaster," the Patriarch told the believers assembled for the liturgy at the Kiev Monastery of the Caves on Wednesday.
      "God could have stopped the hand of the operator who made the horrible error while operating the reactor. God let it happen. And many people, by their death, might have contributed to the atonement for sins," he said.
      The Chernobyl disaster occurred not without "the finger of God, because the cleanup in the aftermath of the disaster became a great act of moral courage for thousands of people," he said.
      A disaster such as Chernobyl shows that "when a man acquires an enormous strength through his mind, infiltration into science and technology creation, he must simultaneously increase his great moral responsibility for people around him, for the peace of God and nature," the Patriarch said.

      http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=8408
      -----

      Russian Church hopes Moscow authorities will ban gay parade
      Interfax-Religion, April 27, 2011

      Moscow, April 27, Interfax - Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the head of the Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations, said the Moscow authorities will hopefully not allow homosexuals to hold a gay parade in Moscow.
      "I hope the Moscow authorities will, as previously, stand firm in relation to a propaganda action, being organized by supporters of sexual perversion and ban this action," Father Vsevolod told Interfax-Religion on Wednesday.
      "The question must be raised squarely after all. If international law envisions curbs on certain rights for moral considerations, all political decisions must take into account that the moral standards of our people reject the propaganda of homosexuality. This fact must be decisive in the formation of politics and law," he said.
      "If international law must be changed for that, then it must be changed," Father Vsevolod said.
      "No state that respects itself or deserves respect will allow itself to go against the will of its people an give preference to other factors," he said.
      Representatives of sexual minorities plan to hold a gay parade on Moscow's Bolotnaya Square on May 28. The organizer, Nikolay Alexeyev, claimed the city authorities have given their nod to the action for the first time. Meanwhile, a source in the city's regional security department told Interfax on Tuesday that "they have not been granted a permit, and will hardly get one."

      http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=8409
      -------

      Victory Day commemoration will not use Stalin's portrait
      Izvestia, summarized by RIA Novosti, April 29, 2011

      A total of 300,000 rubles ($10,949), collected nationwide by Stalinist bloggers for a Victory Day commemoration featuring placards bearing the Soviet dictator's profile on shuttle buses across Moscow, will be allocated to amateur archeologists combing former battle sites instead.
      Josef Stalin's profile was to have adorned fixed route taxis across Moscow and five other Russian cities from May 3. The organizers claimed they had signed one-month contracts with bus service provider Avtoline operating in the Russian capital. Three Mercedes Benz mini-buses were to have carried pictures of the medal For Victory Over Germany in the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War, complete with Stalin's profile.
      On Wednesday, the Dva Miga (Two Instances) advertising agency said it was refusing to apply these designs bearing Stalin's image.
      "This is a misunderstanding," Dmitry Lyskov, one of the organizers of the PR campaign, told Izvestia. "We had not signed any contracts with the Dva Miga agency and are acting through another advertising agency. I can see no objective reasons to cancel the campaign. The Federal Anti-Monopoly Service's Moscow division has already said that this use of Stalin's image does not violate any advertising law," Lyskov added.
      The agency's general director, Alexei Tarasov, confirmed that no contracts had been signed and that the talks had been conducted through an intermediary (Lady Music advertising agency). "A layout incorporating an image of Stalin was submitted. We said we don't place political advertisements in any form. They assured us that Stalin's image would be replaced with a depiction of a medal but didn't say this would be the medal For Victory Over Germany. The new layout included Stalin's profile on that medal. After I told the media that we are not going to fulfill this order, I received a letter from Mr. Lyskov insisting that we place this advertisement. But we replied firmly that no image of Stalin will be displayed."
      Nonetheless, Avtoline will do its bit to congratulate war veterans: operating 20 festively decorated buses on May 9. The funds collected by Stalinist bloggers will be used to finance amateur archeologists in their research on former battle sites.
      -----

      FIRST GAY PARADE TO BE ALLOWED IN MOSCOW?
      Bigotry Monitor-UCSJ's bi-weekly newsletter, Volume 11, Number 6, April 29, 2011

      The Moscow city government says it is studying a request to hold the country's first ever gay pride march in the capital, RIA Novosti reported on April 27. The previous day, Nikolai Alexeyev, Russia's top gay rights activist, told the news agency that the city council had allowed the march scheduled for May 28. But the claim was dismissed by Moscow's central district head who said he was not aware of any such event.
      In October, the European Court of Human Rights fined Russia for banning gay parades in Moscow. The court said that fears that such marches could cause outrage and provoke violence were unfounded and ordered Russia to pay $41,090 in damages and for legal fees.
      Former Mayor Yury Luzkhov, in power for 18 years before getting sacked by President Medvedev last September, called gay parades "satanic." In February, his successor Sergei Sobyanin told a radio station he did not favor the idea. Activists who have tried to march without permission have come under attack from far-right nationalists and religious groups, or were set upon by police, the dispatch noted.

      http://www.ucsj.org/bigotry-monitor/volume-9-2009/volume-11-number-6-april-29-2011
      ------

      MOSCOW COURT BANS LEADING NATIONALIST GROUP
      Bigotry Monitor-UCSJ's bi-weekly newsletter, Volume 11, Number 6, April 29, 2011

      On April 18, the Moscow City Court banned the Movement Against Illegal Immigration (known by its Russian acronym DPNI), often called the country's leading nationalist group. The ruling came in response to a request from city prosecutors, the Prosecutor General's Office said on its web site. Activists who ignore the ban face a year in prison, "The Moscow Times" reported. The group organized annual Russian March rallies that saw demonstrators shout racist slurs and make "Heil Hitler"-like salutes. DPNI members have also been involved in violent crimes motivated by ethnic hatred, commented Alexander Verkhovsky, head of the Sova Center for Information and Analysis, the country's leading group tracking hate crimes. He welcomed the court ruling. According to Interfax, the Federal Migration Service also praised the ban.
      Reuters added that DPNI leader Alexander Belov vowed to appeal and warned that the ban would lead to youths rallying in masks and unchecked by an organized leadership. Last April, the Moscow City Court banned another leading ultranationalist organization, the Slavic Union.
      "Deadly racist violence is on the decline after President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the police to stamp it out," "The Times" wrote, citing Sova figures for last year: A total of 419 people were victims of hate crimes and 37 of them died, compared with 518 victims, including 52 deaths, in 2009. A total of 201 of last year's crimes (including 19 deaths) were committed in Moscow and the Moscow Region.

      http://www.ucsj.org/bigotry-monitor/volume-9-2009/volume-11-number-6-april-29-2011
      ------

      ST. PETERSBURG HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS FOUND GUILTY OF RACIST ATTACK
      Bigotry Monitor-UCSJ's bi-weekly newsletter, Volume 11, Number 6, April 29, 2011

      St. Petersburg's Kalinksy District Court found six high school students guilty of a racist attack on two classmates, according to an April 22 report by the local news web site Fontanka.ru. The youths attacked Tagir Kerimov and Suleyman Ramazanov while yelling the far-right slogan "Russia for Russians" and "Kill a kach!" (a pejorative for people from the Caucasus). Four of the youths were sentenced to three and a half year sentences, while their companions got off with suspended sentences and fines.
      The February 14, 2009 attack took place at school, and the savage beating put Kerimov in a coma for several months. The report pointed out that curiously, a government appointed expert ruled at first that the slogan "Russia for Russians" was not aimed at inciting ethnic hatred and that the defendants yelling "Kill a kach, waste a kach" and "Beat the darkie, beat the kach" "was impossible to interpret." After adverse press reactions to that expert ruling, a second expert study was ordered, and it issued the interpretation that the attack was racially motivated.

      http://www.ucsj.org/bigotry-monitor/volume-9-2009/volume-11-number-6-april-29-2011
      ------

      RUSSIAN OFFICIAL FIRED FOR RACIST STATEMENT
      Bigotry Monitor-UCSJ's bi-weekly newsletter, Volume 11, Number 6, April 29, 2011

      Russian authorities have fired a top official for saying on BBC that his country's immigration policy was designed to promote the survival of the white race, Britain's "Independent" has reported. Konstantin Poltoranin, the chief spokesman for Russia's Federal Migration Service, also said that the "mixing of bloods" must be managed carefully.
      His interview with the BBC was aired on April 22 and he was fired the same day.
      Speaking about the poor conditions at an asylum-seekers' center in Russia, where refugees from Ivory Coast and Ghana are subjected to racist attacks from local residents and the center's administration, Poltoranin hinted that Russia was deliberately unwelcoming to Africans and other asylum-seekers to avoid a migrant influx. "We want to make sure the mixing of blood happens in the right way here, and not the way it has happened in Western Europe where the results have not been good," he said.
      Russia needs Slavic immigrants to counter its declining population, he said. "What is at stake here is the survival of the white race, and we feel this in Russia," he explained.
      "Such remarks are inadmissible for any Russian official, particularly for a representative of the Federal Migration Service," Konstantin Romodanovsky, the service's head, said. Poltoranin had been the chief spokesman for the service, which implements immigration policy, since 2005. He denies being a racist but stands by his comments.

      http://www.ucsj.org/bigotry-monitor/volume-9-2009/volume-11-number-6-april-29-2011
      ------

      Petersburg govt offers venue on city outskirts for gay pride parade
      Interfax-Religion, April 29, 2011

      St. Petersburg, April 29, Interfax - The St. Petersburg administration has rejected all of the venues chosen by local gay movement activists for their May 1 rally, suggesting that they gather near the village of Levashovo in the city's suburbs, gay movement spokesman Yury Gavrikov told Interfax on Friday.
      "The city administration has not approved any proposed venue for the May 1 procession in the city's center and has offered a venue for the rally between Levashovo and Novosyolki," he said.
      However, the venue proposed by the city authorities is not suitable, he said.
      Gay movement representatives planned to hold a procession along St. Petersburg's central Nevsky Avenue to Manezhnaya Square or to Pionerskaya Square, as well as in the Ekateringof Park.
      Activists will most likely join a May 1 demonstration the opposition will hold with permission from the authorities.
      "It will probably be the Yabloko party," he said.
      The leader of the St. Petersburg branch of the liberal Yabloko party, Maxim Reznik, did not object to this option.
      "We do not ask people who join the democratic column about their sexual orientation," Reznik said.

      http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=8411
      =====================


      II SURVEYS, ANALYSES, COMMENTS

      Rights and the Right: The Government Is Making Conspicuous Attempts to Bring Nationalist Sentiment Under Control, Although the Latest Move May Not Have the Intended Result
      By: Tom Balmforth
      Russia Profile, April 19, 2011

      Moscow City Court on Monday banned the Movement Against Illegal Migration (DPNI), a leading nationalist organization, after its activities were found to be "extremist." The move was welcomed by Russia's top hate crime monitors. The court's decision was made at the behest of Moscow State Prosecutors. It took into account a range of evidence, including speeches by the organization's leader Alexander Belov at the unprecedented nationalist riots of December 2010, in which he told thousands about the need to form "defensive battalions," Gzt.Ru reported.
      Alexander Verkhovsky, the head of Sova, Russia's leading hate crime monitor, hailed the court's move and placed it in the context of the authorities' broader, newly-invigorated, campaign against nationalist-motivated crime. "There are more serious signs of the government's campaign. The police are being extremely active in catching participants of violent groups. It's just that these moves aren't as noticeable, but they are far more important," said Verkhovsky. DPNI activists who get caught now face a year in prison, according to the Prosecutor General's Web site.
      But the leader of the DPNI, Alexander Belov, has warned that banning the organization may result in masked nationalist youths roaming the streets without leadership to restrain them. Verkhovsky said that the court's decision would definitely have less impact than the elevated police action did in 2010, during which twice as many perpetrators of nationalist hate crime were caught as in 2009.
      Vladimir Ermolaev, a representative on the national council of the DPNI, said that the group will appeal the Moscow Court's decision, which he called "not objective and baseless." In a blog entry today, Vladimir Tor, another leader of the group, called it an "unfair and deliberately unlawful decision." "Of course, they can ban the DPNI just as they can with any social organization that is not of use to the authorities. But they're too cowardly to ban Russians," wrote Tor, the nationalist Muscovite whose real name is Vladlen Kralin.
      The nine-year-old Movement Against Illegal Migration, a group of around 1,600 according to Ermolaev, has lobbied for migration to be curbed in Russia and strict language requirements to be imposed on migrating workers. The group was also behind the mass riots in December 2010 on Manezh Square in central Moscow which bear out the simmering nationalist tensions in Russian society. In 2006, Belov, the leader of DPNI, had a criminal case opened against him after he called for the deportation of people from the Caucasus which the court also referred to as it delivered its verdict on Monday.
      Verkhovsky said that the group fulfils a legitimate function in questioning migration legislation, but he said that the other side of the group is where the problem lies. "Many of the activists of the whole group have been involved in violent crimes, which were linked to their political views. This clearly is a different matter," said Verkhovsky. "This is a very clear basis for banning the organization. I understand that in a big organization, certain things can happen, and that the leadership can't be held responsible for everyone. But in that case they should have spoken out against these things, and they never did."
      Ermolaev said the group is being repressed by the authorities. "The state has exhausted its other ways of fighting," Ermolaev of DPNI said. "They've tried to discredit us in the mass media and to bring us into conflict with other organizations. They've tried everything and nothing worked we are developing from strength to strength. Now, after the events in North Africa, these people really took fright and have decided to take this step to remove us from the political field and ban us."
      Last week 110 illegal immigrants were arrested in western Moscow, and many of them were deported when they were discovered in what police officers described as an "underground city." Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin last year said that a quarter of a million migrant workers are registered in Moscow, although he said the real figure is more like a few million. RIA Novosti quoted experts as saying that there are between four and five million illegal immigrants in Russia.
      -----

      Russia: Racism and abuse in asylum centres
      By: Daniel Sandford
      BBC News, April 19, 2011

      A BBC investigation into Russia's treatment of asylum seekers has found disturbing evidence of neglect, abuse, and overt racial discrimination by officials. Our Moscow correspondent Daniel Sandford reports.
      Most people who come to Russia seeking political asylum arrive at the international airports in Moscow and St Petersburg, or cross the country's southern borders.
      Ochyor, where the Federal Migration Service has set up Russia's only centre for destitute asylum seekers, is in the northern Ural mountains.
      To get there from Moscow you have to fly more than 1,000km (600 miles) east to Perm, and then drive for almost two hours. Or you can travel for 1,300 km (800 miles) on the Trans-Siberian railway.
      The centre is a collection of mobile homes on a small hill half an hour's walk from the town centre. Ochyor is a historic but run-down place where jobs are hard to come by.
      It is not only the isolation of their accommodation that the asylum seekers complain about. They describe a regime of neglect and even fear.
      "We asked for asylum and we are being persecuted," says Benjamin N'Guessan from Ivory Coast.
      "We were persecuted in our own countries and we are being persecuted here."
      As an example, he describes how they are taken to Perm for their court hearings.
      "When they have to take us by car, they put us in the boot - the closed boot of a car - for 100km."
      Like most asylum seekers in the country, he chose Russia only because it was easy to get a tourist visa, and then applied for asylum after arrival.
      The only European language Mr N'Guessan speaks is French, and he is being given no Russian classes.
      His friend Fofana Baleymory, also from Ivory Coast, says he was attacked in Ochyor last month.
      "I was assaulted by the son of a woman who works at the camp," he tells me.
      "We can't go out alone. We have to go out in groups. It is really dangerous for us to live here."
      'Racist in charge'
      After climbing up a steep wooded path still covered in snow to enter the camp through the back entrance, I found a collection of rotting mobile homes that had been used by East German labourers in the 1980s.
      The buildings were falling apart. In the bathrooms, there were holes in the walls. Many of the rooms had buckets in the middle of the floor to catch the water dripping through electrical fittings in the ceilings. Most walls were warped with water damage.
      The buildings were well insulated, but the residents said some bedrooms were bitterly cold when the temperature outside dropped to -30C, as it often does in this part of the Urals.
      The most serious complaints the residents made were about the newly-promoted director of the camp, Leonid Tsvirko.
      Frederic Karangwa from Rwanda said: "He is racist. But his racism is particularly targeted at us Africans."
      Mr Karangwa fell out with Mr Tsvirko while he was still the deputy director. It started with a row over Mr Karangwa's passport, which he was trying to get back after asking for it to be photocopied.
      When a member of staff would not return it to him, he grabbed for it, at which point the director attacked him.
      "He grabbed me forcefully by the neck. He turned me and dragged me to the floor, and I fell on my knee like that," he said.
      Mr Karangwa showed me a photograph of his badly-swollen knee. He said he also had severe bruising on his face.
      "Someone who commits criminal acts like that, and he is the director of the centre. We are afraid."
      No criminal charges were brought against the director, but independent eyewitnesses confirmed Mr Karangwa's version of events to the BBC.
      Another asylum seeker was taken away from the camp by international agencies because he feared for his life.
      No medicine
      The refugees complain that the food makes them sick, and that the camp administration has asked people in the town not to let them send faxes or emails, or even make phone calls.
      They said that their Iraqi friend from the camp, Abu Maxim, who was diabetic, died from a lack of medicine. The official inquiry said he died of natural causes.
      "Our friend Abu Maxim - it was we who buried him," Mr Baleymory explained.
      "It was we who sent him to hospital. Nobody from the camp administration went there. After he died, no-one told us about his death. It was the doctor who told us: 'Listen, your friend has died.'
      "If we had had the means, we would have gone and paid for the medicine for him. But unfortunately we had no money."
      During the day we spent at the camp, we saw one of the guards pushing an African resident. We also saw a group of young men from the village shouting Nazi slogans at the asylum seekers while we were interviewing them.
      Tatiana Margolina is the ombudsman, or human rights watchdog, for the Perm region, and has been monitoring the centre at Ochyor.
      "This institution is supposed to be a shelter for people who can't live in their own countries," she told me.
      "In my opinion, the main mistake the staff who work there made is that they didn't see this as the main purpose. There is a huge element of repression in the way the residents are being treated."
      We asked Russia's Federal Migration Service why people seeking refuge were being kept in such poor conditions in such a remote spot.
      Konstantin Poltoranin, the chief spokesman for the FMS, said it was planning to open a new camp.
      He told me that the African residents were probably complaining because they did not want to stay in Russia anyway, and were looking for another country to take them. He said that, in any case, Russia preferred immigrants of Ukrainian and Belarusian origin.
      Then he said: "What is now at stake is the survival of the white race. We feel this in Russia. We want to make sure the mixing of blood happens in the right way here, and not the way it has happened in Western Europe where the results have not been good."
      As we left, Mr N'Guessan made a final plea to the outside world.
      "Here we are really traumatised and persecuted," he said. "And at this moment we don't know who is going to come to our rescue."
      Since Daniel Sandford's report was first broadcast, the press secretary for Russia's Federal Migration Service, Konstantin Poltoranin has been sacked. The Federal Migration Service has confirmed that he was dismissed because of the comments he made to the BBC.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-13131359
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      Solidarity movement politician: "Only Officials Are More Disliked by Russian Citizens Than Caucasians"
      Unattributed article with commentary by Ilya Yashin
      Osobaya Bukva , April 21, 2011

      "Almost 80% of the young people in large Russian cities sympathize with the participants in the action on Manezh Square." -- Ilya Yashin
      The study, made on order for the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation, showed that Russian citizens understand very well the difference between extremism and protests against corruption and ethnic crime.
      Events that take us back to the sources of the December actions on Manezh Square and their consequences are occurring regularly. Specialists of the Agency of Social Technologies "Politekh" with the assistance of the RAN (Russian Academy of Sciences) Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology have published the results of a study entitled, "Inter-Ethnic Intolerance in the Urban Youth Milieu." The survey showed a very high level of support for the slogans and demands of the participants in the actions on Manezhka (Manezh Square). What is more, almost none of the respondents doubt that they will recur. At the same time young Russian citizens hardly suffer from migrant-phobia or xenophobia at all. The results of the study are especially interesting in the context of the scandal over Konstantin Poltoranin, press secretary of the Russian Federal Migration Service, who unexpectedly raised the question of the "survival of the white race" on BBC. Later, it is true, he said that he was not inciting inter-ethnic enmity.
      Judging from the survey, the young generation of Russian citizens is aware of the causes of the actions on Manezhka. Seventy-eight percent of the respondents do not think the December events were nationalist at all, which differs fundamentally from the assessment the government gave these actions.
      The inhabitants of large cities, among whom the poll was taken, see the disturbances in late 2010 as a protest action against corruption and so-called ethnic crime. More than one-third of all participants in the study speak of the flourishing of corruption in the country, especially noting bribery in the law enforcement organs.
      When analyzing the results of the survey, it is impossible not to notice a curious fact that has long been known to every inhabitant of the Central Russia zone of the country and which the Russian leadership consistently denies: young people have a favorable attitude toward migrants in principle. Their negative feeling is directed primarily at Caucasians.
      Only officials cause greater irritation among them -- 51% -- than do people from the Caucasus. But almost 70% of the respondents express a negative attitude toward young "Caucasians" because of their "brazen behavior" and lack of desire "to live according to our rules."
      So it is at least unfair to accuse Russian youth of nationalism and racism. Such selective dissatisfaction with the behavior of one group of newcomers speaks more of structural and social problems in the nationality policy (and not only that) of the current government.
      To reproach youth for Nazi ideology or to look for those who are doing filthy things exclusively among the participants in the action on Manezh Square is to close your eyes to the differences that are continuing to intensify between migrants from the Caucasus and local inhabitants.
      Instead of analyzing the causes of the December actions, the state took the path of least resistance: very harsh sanctions are being introduced against those who dare not only to protest, but simply to express doubts -- maybe in disallowed form -- about the correctness of Russia's migration and ideology policy.
      Konstantin Poltoranin has paid for his "nationalistic statements"; the already former chief of the FMS Rossii (Russian Federal Migration Service) press service publicly said the following: "After all, in principle what is at stake is the survival of the white race and this question is palpable in Russia. Despite the fact that Russians are the titular nation, we often see and hear that problems are arising with each day... natural population loss, just as in Western Europe. Therefore we need to build re lations in such a way that the mixing of bloods goes in the right way."
      Of course, Poltoranin's words smack of open fascism, which cannot be justified in any way. It is hard to understand what made the already former press secretary of the Federal Migration Service come out with such a sharply-worded declaration. We can only conjecture that the man, who worked many years in the department where all the information about the number of migrants comes together, knows for certain what is really worth fearing. Did he draw the right conclusions from this -- definitely not. Does the problem he designated exist -- to one degree or another, yes.
      Unfortunately, there are no grounds whatsoever to think that the people at the top of the present Russian government will be more attentive to either the poll results or the statements of the former FMS press secretary. Experience shows that in our country they try to solve problems as they arise, but only in hindsight do they think about the possibility of preventing them.
      Commentary by Ilya Yashin, politician, member of the byuro of the federal political council of the Solidarity Movement:
      Really it cannot be said that 76% of young people in the large Russian cities are nationalists. The participants in the poll are irritated by the all-penetrating corruption and lawlessness. The people see clearly how bandits remain free with the help of money and high connections. Such things always lead to growth in crime, including ethnic crime.
      When there is no civilized administration of justice in a country, the lynch court begins to operate. Which we observed in Manezh Square. And the growth of dissatisfaction with lawlessness leads to such sociological studies.
      But it cannot be denied that there has been growth in nationalist attitudes in recent years. And if elections in Russia were conducted according to the law, without rigging, the nationalists would get a notable representation in parliament. This growth is impossible without the existence of serious social problems. And it seems that the authorities are doing everything they can to strengthen nationalism.
      The democratically-minded youth, who are also dissatisfied at corruption and the growth of crime, were not able to be in Manezhka because our supporters preach the non-violent method of resistance and struggle, but the people gathering in the center of the capital in December were still fairly aggressive. But in personal conversations about what happened, a certain approval at what happened is heard. And overall it can be said that the majority of our supporters at the least do not censure the actions of the soccer fans who blocked the Leningrad Highway and came out on Manezh Square.
      According to the survey, 36% of the respondents supported Nashi (Ours) and the Young Guard of United Russia movements. But it cannot be said that such a large number of people are really expressing their approval of those very organizations and what they do. More likely, many simply do not know about the actions conducted by Nashi and the Young Guards and do not suspect what these people represent. In all states at all times there is in the youth milieu a substratum of conservatively-minded people who support the existing government.
      Thirty-nine percent of those surveyed said that they did not like newcomers from the Caucasus. At the same time the attitude of respondents to the rest of the migrants was very good. Fifty-one percent admitted that they dislike officials. Twenty-seven percent do not like the police. Of the public organizations, the Movement against Illegal Immigration (DPNI), which was banned by the court literally within days, draws the greatest approval -- 32% of those surveyed approve of the DPNI. The Young Guard of United Russia is supported by 19%, while the Nashi movement got 17%, and Russian National Unity got 16%. The skinhead subculture got five percent.
      ----

      Vladimir Lenin: 141 years and still going strong
      By: Robert Bridge
      www.russiatoday.com, April 22, 2011

      The memory of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, the revolutionary who led Russia into a 70-year fling with communism, has dimmed for many Russians, but their attitude towards the son of Simbirsk has improved in the past 15 years, says a recent study.
      According to a poll report by the Yury Levada Analytical Center, which polled 1,600 respondents on April 15-18, some 39 per cent of the Russian population believes that no one but the historians will remember Lenin in the next 50 years.
      The number stood at 25 per cent in 1995.
      Meanwhile, possibly due to the recent global economic crisis that momentarily knocked laissez-faire, free market capitalism off its pedestal, Lenin gained in popularity compared with past polls.
      The number of Russians who think that Lenin will be remembered as a cold and calculating politician who imposed his iron will on an entire nation dropped from 19 per cent in 1995 to 10 per cent now.
      The number of responses that portray Lenin as an effective leader and a great thinker, as opposed to a calculating adventurer and cruel dictator, increased by more than double (48 per cent in 1995 to 19 per cent now) amongst Russians older than 55.
      Amongst the 25-40 year-old age group, however, Lenin's reputation took a beating, dropping to 24 per cent who thought him an effective leader, from 30 per cent in 1995.
      But the father of Russian communism fared well amongst those in the under-25 age bracket, registering a 21 per cent favorability rate, compared with 18 per cent in 1995.
      Rounding out the other results from the Levada Center, the number of Russian respondents who think he was a lucky political adventurer reduced from 12 per cent to 6 per cent; the number who say he was "a cruel dictator prepared to sacrifice millions of lives" dipped from 12 per cent to 5 per cent; and the number of those who believe Lenin did not understand nor love Russia decreased from 5 per cent to 3 per cent.
      In other words, although many people will not be able to recall the name and deeds of a fiery revolutionary named Vladimir Ilyich Lenin in a short 50 years, those who do essentially the historians may have a positive image of him.
      Thus, on the basis of that information, it will be interesting to see how the Russian history books treat Lenin in the years to come.
      Lenin, who was born Vladimiry Ilyich Ulyanov on April 22, 1870, was a Russian Marxist theorist and leader of the October 1917 Revolution. He died on January 21, 1924. Before his funeral, approximately 1 million mourners viewed his body in the Hall of Columns.
      Among the gathered international leaders who expressed their condolences was the Chinese premier Sun Yat-sen, who remarked:
      "Through the ages of world history, thousands of leaders and scholars appeared who spoke eloquent words, but these remained words. You, Lenin, were an exception. You not only spoke and taught us, but translated your words into deeds. You created a new country. You showed us the road of joint struggle... You will live on in the memories of the oppressed people through the centuries."
      Although many people may disagree with that funeral oration today, it cannot be doubted that Lenin dramatically changed the world, and not just for Russia.
      Since 1924, Lenin's embalmed body has been on public display in Red Square, which has been a political lightning rod over the years. According to another poll, a majority of Russians would like to see Lenin's Mausoleum, which attracts thousands of viewers annually, moved out of the capital.
      In January 2011, the United Russia party created a website goodbyelenin.ru the allows visitors to vote whether Lenin's body should be buried.
      Presently, out of 328, 722 casted votes, 67 per cent (220,678) believe that Lenin's body should be removed from the mausoleum and given a traditional burial, while 32 per cent say it should stay.
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      Revising Beria: While Censorship Reigns Over Hitler's Legacy in Germany, Stalinist Literature Still Has Its Niche in Russia
      By: Andrew Roth
      Russia Profile, April 22, 2011

      More than 50 years after his death, a leading Russian publishing house is producing a three volume set of Lavrenty Beria's diaries, which give a warm description of the paradoxical Soviet leader, Josef Stalin, through the eyes of his former head of the NKVD secret services. The Eksmo publishing house's tendency to publish pro-Stalinist pop-histories has gained notice figures in Russia's literary community have called for a boycott of the editions, saying that the publisher is reviving a cult of personality around Stalin. Eksmo representatives have fought back, saying that the market determines interest in books and that arguments against the company are a form of censorship.
      In 1942, during the darkest years of World War II, Beria wrote about Stalin in one of his rare moments of vulnerability. "Today I saw tears in Koba's [Stalin's] eyes for the first time in my life. I was giving a report about Stalingrad, about how they are fighting there. When I get to that point, I usually just swear and it eases up immediately. But he has a reputation to maintain, and when else can he pour his heart out? He could not hold it back." This excerpt, along with others, has been published in Russia's daily newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda in anticipation of the publication of the diaries.
      The diaries themselves have been arranged and edited, some argue extensively, by Sergei Kremlyov, a pen name used by historian Sergei Brezkun. Brezkun has written about Beria before; he is the author of "Beria, Best Manager of the 20th Century," also published by Eksmo. That book falls into Eksmo's so-called "Stalinist" series, a set of revisionist pop-histories that are easily recognizable by their red covers featuring busts and statues of Stalin from different angles and perspectives. The "Stalinist Coffee Table Book," for instance, gives a three-quarters profile of a stone bust of Stalin. "1937. Stalin's Justice. Not Subject to Appeal," shows the leader in a granite profile, frowning deeply in an apparent struggle with the moral weight of his decisions. "We Should Take Pride and Should Not Regret. The Truth About the Stalinist period," has a head-on shot of a golden bust of Stalin; a sure sign that the truth of the Stalinist period is going to be fairly Stalin-friendly.
      Eksmo's line of books has come under fire from a cadre of well-known culture commentators, who say the publisher is breaking its obligations to Russian society by publishing works that promote falsehoods about the Stalinist period. An open letter asking the publishing house to stop producing this series of books has been published, while biting commentaries have been written on blogs for Russian journals and magazines, in particular the high-end weekly Snob. Two journalists for the publication, Mikhail Kaluzhsky and Nikolai Klimyenyuk, have started a Facebook page to "Stop Publishing Stalinist Literature," and are trying to organize a boycott of Eksmo's publications. "We do not seek a ban on the books or persecution of the authors," the authors wrote on the Web site, anticipating accusations that they want to censor literature. "And yet we strongly believe that this brand of extremist propaganda must be kept at the margins of a self-respecting society."
      In an open letter in response published this week, Eksmo depicted their detractors as opponents of free speech, writing that "we respectfully relate to the opinions of those who initiated this dialogue, but believe that there can be no justification for censorship, no matter the goals it maintains."
      Eksmo also has an obligation to meet market demand and people want Stalinist histories, said a director at the publishing house, Leonid Bershidsky. "In terms of publishing, Eksmo is a microcosm of the Russian world. We have the responsibility to provide books for everyone who wants books, not to censor their choices. In terms of responsibility, we can only make sure that if you're an extreme anti-Stalinist, then you'll also find something that we publish to your liking. For instance, Stalin had no bigger enemy than Lev Trotsky, and I'm publishing Trotsky's book on Stalin next month. So if you're a Trotskyite, I've also got a book for you. "
      What was perceived as Eksmo's mercenary approach to selecting its product lines led a journalist at a world book fair in London to ask whether Eksmo would also put out Mein Kampf. Eksmo's head, Oleg Novikov, stayed true to his guns while dodging the question, saying that he did not see "commercial potential in that book." Mein Kampf has been banned in Russia since 2010.
      Nonetheless, critics have used Germany's extremely managed relationship with Adolf Hitler and the Nazi period by way of comparison to question whether writing laudatory texts of Stalin should be acceptable in Russia. "I can't imagine books, published in Germany, with names like "Reinhard Heydrich Best Friend of the Jews. The Entire Truth about the Final Solution of the Jewish Question" or "The Great Hitler Pride of a Nation," wrote journalist Stas Zhitsky on his blog for the Russian journal Snob.
      Russia's position today is diametrically opposite to that of Germany, said Alexei Miller, a leading research fellow at the Institute for Scientific Information of the Russian Academy of Sciences, who writes on the politics of history and social memory. "The obvious difference in this issue between Russia and Germany is that if you said in Germany, for instance, that Hitler was not that bad, because of economic development and the construction of roads were more successful than ever, you are finished as a politician the same day. You are out of the political establishment. And in Russia you can say anything. You can say that Stalin was the greatest Russian political leader ever. And these are two extremes both are extremes because the German case shows an extremely high degree of censorship, and then you have the Russian side, which is hardly censored at all."
      That degree of freedom, not only legal but also social, is shown well in the case with Eksmo. While the publishing house has naturally demanded its right to publish whatever it chooses to about the Stalinist period, it has also sought to go further by casting itself as the champion of an underserved minority of readers, hoping to satisfy a craving for dissenting, pro-Stalin literature. "History is not an exact science, and people always doubt the dominant line in historical thinking," said Bershidsky. "There are always your conspiracy theorists, people who are fans of revisionist history as far as I'm concerned, the Stalinist books are exactly that. They are for people who actually want history to be closer to the history from their textbooks from way back when."
      ----

      Only Communists mark Lenin birthday, most Russians for his burial
      By: Lyudmila Alexandrova
      ITAR-TASS, April 22, 2011

      The Communist partisans celebrate their personal holiday that is the 141st birthday anniversary of Vladimir Lenin, who is the leader of the world proletariat and the founder of the Soviet state. The Communists and their supporters initiated the rallies timed to this event in many Russian cities.
      Vladimir Lenin's commemoration rallies are held on this day not only in Russia, but also in other countries, mainly in the former Soviet republics.
      This cultic personality from the Soviet past does not stir up such passions as his successor Stalin, towards whom the Russian society is absolutely split up. Lenin remains in the focus of attention for various political forces, primarily because many people are seeking for the Lenin Mausoleum to be shut down and for Lenin's body to be buried.
      Since April 21 the Mausoleum is open again for the tourists after planned preventive works. The specialists were making necessary procedures to keep Lenin's embalmed body.
      The preventive embalming works are done in the Mausoleum every year. The suit for Lenin's embalmed body is changed from time to time and the equipment installed in the Mausoleum is tested. The mausoleum specialists affirmed that modern biochemical technologies are keeping Lenin's embalmed body in the current condition for an indefinite period of time. However, the disputes whether Vladimir Ilyich should stay on public display are still going on.
      A public opinion survey conducted by the all-Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTSIOM) showed that 61% of Russians believe that Lenin's body should be taken away from the Red Square.
      Most Russians believe that the Communist leader should be better buried at the cemetery. 43% of Russians offer to do it without any delay, 18% of Russians recommend delay Lenin's body to be inearthed until the time, when the generation valuing highly Lenin will pass away.
      Less than a third (29%) of respondents offered to leave Lenin's body in the Mausoleum, and many of them take the Mausoleum just as a popular tourist attraction site. The residents of the North Caucasus (44%) and the supporters of the Russian Communist Party (51%) oppose strongly Lenin's reburial.
      Various agencies and organizations, which often have various positions on other issues, call for Lenin's body to be inearthed. The chief of the historical and human rights society Memorial Arseny Roginsky is convinced that Lenin should not only be buried, but also all objects named after Lenin should be renamed, because, in his opinion, the latter is associated with the crimes of the Soviet rule.
      "The decision to bury Lenin's body is ripen long ago. No major protests were voiced. I would be glad that if along with Lenin's burial and the removal of several tombs from the Red Square the problem to rename the streets and avenues named after Lenin is settled," he stated.
      A veteran of the Russian human rights movement and the chief of the Civic Assistance Committee Svetlana Gannushkina spelled out the ethical point of view on the problem. "Lenin's body being kept in the Mausoleum on the Red Square is the Medieval times. If he were a dear person for me I would be just shocked. Lenin's remains should be buried and the Mausoleum should become a museum," she said with confidence.
      The Russian Orthodox Church takes Lenin's body being on public display in downtown Moscow very negatively. The chief of the Russian Orthodox Church Synodal Department for cooperation with the Armed Forces and the law enforcement agencies Archpriest Dimitry Smirnov urged in his blog "to pray for the God so that this rotten evil spirits would be finally taken away from our sacred soil."
      The removal of Lenin's body from the Mausoleum will not arouse any massive disturbances, only some individual complaints are probable from people, who "cannot take the documents and historical facts" at their face value.
      The chief of the executive committee of the Russian Association of Islamic Accord (the All-Russian Muftiat) Mufti Muhammedgali Khuzin believes that those who need him that is to say the Russian Communist Party should allocate many millions of roubles to keep Lenin's embalmed body.
      The chief of the Russian presidential property management department Vladimir Kozhin said in a recent interview with the Kommersant that Lenin' s body should be taken away from the Mausoleum and buried. This should be a political decision and the Russian leadership should take it, he said. The agency did not receive any instructions to this effect, Kozhin pointed out.
      "I still believe that the reburial of Lenin's body should take place for sure. And not only Lenin's reburial, because we should consider it as a whole, and we have a major necropolis at the Kremlin Wall and directly inside the wall. We cannot say that such decision will be taken and Lenin will be reburied and all the rest will remain unchanged. We should solve it as a complex problem," Kozhin stated.
      People are still queuing at the Lenin Mausoleum, but mainly foreigners or tourists from other Russian cities usually driven by a simple curiosity are lining up at the Mausoleum.
      Meanwhile, the last member from the Ulyanov family, in which Lenin was born, died. Lenin's niece Olga Ulyanova died at the age of 90 years in Moscow last March. The daughter of Lenin's younger brother Dmitry Ulyanov was the last direct heir of the family, which gave to the world an architect of the 1917 October Revolution that affected all the world.
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      Young Russians Hate Bureaucrats More than They Hate North Caucasians, Poll Finds
      By: Paul Goble
      Window on Eurasia, April 22, 2011

      Staunton, April 22 – A poll of 1600 young Russians in six major cities found that as much as they dislike migrants from the North Caucasus and support nationalist groups like those who took part in the Manezh Square protests last December, <br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
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