Bulletin 5:20 (2011)
- THE RUSSIAN NATIONALISM BULLETIN
A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs
Vol. 5, No. 20(141), 8 July 2011
Compilers: Scott Littlefield & Andreas Umland
I NEWS: 15 June - 30 June 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 June - 30 June 2011
Unipolar world unviable - Patriarch Kirill
Interfax-Religion, June 17, 2011
Moscow, June 17, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia supports the idea of a multi-polar world and has called for Russia to become one of its poles.
"Politicians, economists are talking on the subject of multi-polarity. Everyone understands that the creation of a unipolar world with a single center of political and economic decision-making, could be dangerous for the entire globe, for all countries," the Patriarch said at a session on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Russian Peace Fund in Moscow, where he was awarded with this organization's golden medal.
A unipolar world based on the hegemony of one political center "is unviable," he said.
"And it seems to me that today the position of Russia, along with a whole host of other countries, in particular, the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) countries, is directed precisely at defending the idea of multi-polarity, which allows various centers to exist and creates the necessary balance ensuring safety on our planet," the Primate of the Russian Church said.
It is very important for us, including public organizations, among which is the Peace Fund, to join efforts so that "Russia, as Chancellor Gorchakov once wrote, "concentrates forces" and remains one of the poles of influence in the multi-polar world," he said.
Everyone is well aware what the hegemony of one center leads to - "it is enough to recall the tragic situation in Kosovo, in Yugoslavia, and in several other places across the globe," Patriarch Kirill said.
Most Russians believe USSR could have won WWII even without Allies - poll
Interfax, June 22, 2011
MOSCOW. June 22 (Interfax) - Most Russians believe that the Soviet Union could have won WWII even without assistance from the Allies, the Yury Levada Analytical Center told Interfax based on the results of a public opinion poll.
As many as 60% of Russians are sure that the USSR would have won in WWII without support from the Allies, while 32% hold the opposite view.
Asked to explain the Soviet Union's huge losses at the beginning of the war against Nazi Germany, 29% said this happened because the enemy's aggression was unexpected, 26% mentioned Germany's military and technological superiority, and 21% said this happened because of unskillful actions by the Soviet military and political leadership.
In the view of 48% of those polled, Germany's aggression against the USSR on June 22, 1941, was not unexpected by the Soviet leadership, while 46% disagree with this.
Russia marks the Day of Memory and Grief on June 22, the date when the Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany began in 1941. In the run-up to this date, specialists from the VTsIOM sociological service asked Russians about their attitude toward the key nations participating in WWII.
The poll has shown that 39% of Russians like the Italians and the Frenchmen each, 38% the Japanese, 35% the Britons, 36% the Germans, 34% the Finns, 31% the Americans, and 26% the Poles.
In general, from 52% to 60% of Russians have indifferent attitudes to all the said nations that were involved in WWII.
Patriarch Kirill: European population will die if it fails to come back to its spiritual sources
Interfax-Religion, June 22, 2011
Moscow, June 22, Interfax - Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill urged European religious leaders to make collective efforts to pursue the revival of Christianity within the continent.
"The Russian Orthodox Church proposes that European Christian communities unite to become partners of the states and European civil community in pursuing the revival of tangible connection between the human rights concept and the pan-European spiritual heritage," the Patriarch said at the Moscow meeting of the European Council of Religious Leaders.
According to him, only economic and political ties in Europe cannot be "a sustainable basis for the well-being of European community" and existing social values of human rights and rule of law and democracy may remain just "the forms which are unlikely to benefit in the conditions of moral relativism and sometimes may even cause harm."
Patriarch Kirill quoted "the decline of family values causing depopulation in Europe" as an example.
"How can family values be less important than the above ones, if the destruction of family causes physical reduction of the European population? Who will benefit from political developments, if European peoples cease to be or reduce to such number that their role will fail to have any significance?" he asked.
The Patriarch believes that the Soviet human rights concept involves no "clear and reasonable definition of the term human dignity" which is recognized in religious world view, therefore, Patriarch urged representatives of traditional religious communities of Europe to "make the term human dignity meaningful and establish its relation to virtue and seeking perfection."
"This is going to be our investment into generating ethical standards of both personal and social development. Currently, public environment is almost deprived of any moral models or ideals. Mass culture may only offer an image of a prosperous and successful person who can afford to meet every his or her wish," he noted.
The Patriarch expressed hope that the European Council of Religious Leaders will make its contribution to "intellectual enrichment of the European community with traditional religious values which have for centuries encouraged Europeans to seek justice and life under ethical norms generated by this tradition."
A third of Russians wish they could shoot dead corrupt officials
www.russiatoday.com, June 23, 2011
A sociological research study has revealed that over a third of the country's population wish they could shoot down all bribe-takers and speculators while 70 per cent of Russians admit they are hostile to people of other nationalities.
As many as 34 per cent of Russians "always" feel like killing the corrupt and 38 per cent of the population "sometimes" wish they could do so writes Kommersant, citing the Russian Academy of Sciences' (RAS) analytical report entitled "20 years of reforms in the eyes of Russians". In Moscow the number of citizens who are fed up with bribe-takers is even higher: almost two thirds of locals would gun them down.
Moskovskiye Novosti (Moscow News) website points at yet another dangerous trend discovered by sociologists. 70 % of Russians and 60 % of non-Russian nationals admit that they dislike other ethnic groups. To add fuel to the fire, over a third of ethnic Russians say they would not mind if representatives of other nationalities were kicked out of their home towns by force. 15 per cent are certain that Russia should be a state for Russians, while about a third of respondents believe that Russians should have more rights since they have more obligations. Surprisingly, 13 per cent of national minorities' representatives approve the idea of giving preferential treatment to Russians and 9 per cent agree that Russia is for Russians.
After the dissolution of the USSR, each of the former 15 Soviet republics followed its own path. While some of them have managed to develop into quite successful sovereign states, others still face economic difficulties and cannot provide an acceptable standard of living and high salaries for their population. Seeking better conditions and jobs, millions of people from former Soviet republics have been flocking to Russia to the chagrin of locals. Despite the government's calls for inter-ethnic peace and efforts to convince the population that inter-ethnic hatred in a country that is home to hundreds of nationalities is "mortally dangerous", ethnic conflicts still regularly occur.
The level of social aggression has increased rapidly over the last decade, observed the deputy head of the RAS Institute of Sociology, Natalia Tikhonova. She noted that such findings came as a surprise to experts. The main point of the research was to find out how Russians feel about the reforms launched in the country after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the beginning of 90s. As it turned out, the majority of those questioned believe that what is happening in the country is unfair. They feel shame for the situation in Russia and fear "abuse and the explosion in crime". This mix, according to Tikhonova, explains why the citizens have become a lot more intolerant.
"Despite all of its achievements, the country is experiencing the delegitimation of power," she concluded, Kommersant cites.
Striving to improve the situation, the leadership has been carrying out reforms, made legislative improvements and taken other steps aimed at making life in the country better. Dmitry Medvedev made the battle against Russia's gravest sin - corruption - one of the pillars of his presidency. Hundreds of corrupt officials have lost their posts and faced charges for taking bribes. In spring, the President signed into law an amendment to the Penal Code that increases the fine for taking bribes by a hundredfold.
Addressing the St Petersburg Economic forum earlier in June, Medvedev pointed out that among other things, only by tackling corruption could Russia achieve its major goal - the modernization of the economy.
"We hear constantly that corruption is strangling Russia. We need to reply in kind and put a relentless stranglehold on those guilty of corruption," he said, adding that the whole of Russian society shares this view. The president admitted that corruption is difficult to detect and the current criminal prosecution procedures in these cases are very slow and complex. "We should keep these procedures in place if only to ensure reliable guarantees in the case of unfounded accusations, of which there are a fair few, regrettably," he said.
Medvedev stressed that state bodies "need to clean themselves of corrupt employees faster and more decisively, and to do this we should broaden the grounds for firing people suspected of corruption from the civil service". He pointed out though that it is important "to keep legal procedures in place which give people the right to appeal against such dismissals".
Speaking at the forum, the head of state noted that "we could also look at making civil servants and state officials bear full material liability to the state treasury, which in the past always compensated the losses caused to private individuals by civil servants' unlawful action or inaction". Medvedev stressed that "we need to squeeze out everyone who holds the law, order, and their honest colleagues in contempt, and sadly, there are many such people, including in the law enforcement system".
Yury Chaika, who was re-appointed as Prosecutor General on Wednesday, told journalists that over 40,000 corruption cases were opened in 2010. Chaika promised the Federation Council - the upper house of the Russian parliament - that he would continue an uncompromising fight against corruption.
"As you know, six prosecutors, including four town prosecutors, were fired in the Moscow region. Over the past 12 months, we've exposed 38 cases of violations of service regulations by personnel in the prosecutors office and 96 instances where office powers were used contrary to the public interest. A majority of these employees were relieved of their duties," he said, addressing the senators, cited Itar-Tass. Chaika added that 43 prosecutors were dismissed for corruption.
MURDERER MURDERED IN MOSCOW
Bigotry Monitor-UCSJ's weekly newsletter, Volume 11, Number 10, June 24, 2011
The script for the latest political assassination in Russia could have been written by a Hollywood writer.
On June 10 in broad daylight, former Russian Army Colonel and convicted murderer, Yury Budanov, 47, was killed in a park in central Moscow. An unidentified assailant fired six shots at Budanov, striking him four times in the head. The assassin escaped in a car driven by an accomplice.
On June 13, Budanov was buried with military honors. Military men saluted him by firing their guns three times into the sky and a military band played. Several uniformed military representatives attended the funeral.
Moscow-based military expert Aleksandr Golts told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) that giving Budanov a military funeral violated Russian law. Budanov was a "war criminal and a convicted murderer," Golts argued, and therefore should not have been buried with any sort of military honors.
Police prepared for Budanov's funeral, assigning some 200 officers to guard the cemetery, which was first searched by police dogs for bombs. The crowd numbered 300 to 600 people, many of them veterans and nationalists, Interfax wrote. Interior Ministry troops joined traffic police to protect the funeral procession.
Deputy State Duma Speaker and ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky said at the service that Budanov should be posthumously exonerated of the murder he was convicted of. He said: "We will always remember Yury Dmitriyevich Budanov as a colonel of the Russian Army who fought heroically in the Caucasus for the interests of Russia and the interests of the Russian people." He later noted that Budanov "paid with his life for wrong state policies."
BUDANOV EXPECTED TO BE KILLED
Bigotry Monitor-UCSJ's weekly newsletter, Volume 11, Number 10, June 24, 2011
Budanov told "Izvestia" that he expected to be murdered "not for revenge but for political goals." But he did not say who might be behind his death. Shortly after his release, he said he was prepared to die "for Russia," adding that he only wished his future killers would spare his family.
Identifying the killer may take some time. "But one thing is clear," "The Moscow Times" wrote, "Investigators have their work cut out for them because Budanov had a lot of enemies. Initial fears proved unfounded that the killing would spark ethnic rioting by ultranationalists who see Budanov as a hero."
So far, no violence has been reported. "But ethnic tensions have been simmering for months, and Budanov's killing threatens to shatter the fragile ethnic peace in the country," "The Times" warned.
Two senior United Russia members and Public Chamber member Nikolai Svanidze speculate that nationalists are looking for ways to stir up things before December's Duma vote and next March's presidential election. Others say the killing gave the Kremlin a chance to score with the voters.
INVESTIGATORS CALL THE MURDER 'A PROVOCATION'
Bigotry Monitor-UCSJ's weekly newsletter, Volume 11, Number 10, June 24, 2011
The gunman had two accomplices, one of whom, a man of Slavic appearance, drove him away, the Investigative Committee said. The car was found half-burned on a nearby street, along with the handgun and silencer used in the shooting. The investigators said that anyone charged and convicted over the killing can face life imprisonment.
Gennady Gudkov, deputy head of the State Duma's Security Committee, said the killing might have been Chechen revenge-or "mock revenge" staged by nationalists to provoke ethnic strife. Yabloko party head Sergei Mitrokhin and Chechnya's representative in the Federation Council, Aslanbek Aslakhanov, said that the murder might be revenge by Chechens or possibly Kungayeva's relatives-a suspicion shared by many others. Kungayeva's father, Visa Kungayev, denied involvement in the assassination and asserted that Chechens were not behind it. He told Lifenews.ru: "A dog deserves a dog's death."
TWO ST. PETERSBURG EXTREMISTS GET UNUSUALLY SEVERE PUNISHMENT
Bigotry Monitor-UCSJ's weekly newsletter, Volume 11, Number 10, June 24, 2011
An ultranationalist leader in St. Petersburg, Aleksei Voyevodin, and a prominent member of an ultranationalist group, Artyom Prokhorenko, have been sentenced to life imprisonment for their roles in a series of murders of foreigners, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported on June 16.
The court established that Aleksei Voyevodin and yet another ultranationalist, Dmitry Borovikov, created an extremist group in 2003. Borovikov was shot by police in 2004 while resisting arrest. The gang members also killed two of their acquaintances, Rostislav Gofman and Alexei Golovchenko, whom the group decided to get rid of, fearing that the two could turn them in to the police, "Kommersant" reported.
The high profile trial had lasted for a total of seven years. After the court issued the unusually stiff sentences to Voyevodin and Prokhorenko, dozens of their supporters, some of them wearing masks, raised their right arms in the Nazi salute and chanted "Glory to Russia!", according to RFE/RL.
Fourteen co-defendants had earlier been tried in the same case. Last month the jury found twelve of them guilty of committing a series of murders. The victims included citizens of Senegal, Uzbekistan, and North Korea, a 9-year-old girl from Tajikistan, as well as a well-known Russian scientist and human rights advocate Nikolai Girenko. Most of those killed had been kicked and stabbed to death. Ten of the gang members found guilty of the murders were given sentences ranging up to 18 years.
Aleksandr Verkhovsky, director of the Moscow-based information and analytical center SOVA, told RFE/RL that the verdict is "very important" as it will serve as a warning to ultranationalists.
MOST RUSSIANS OBJECT TO GAY PARADES
Bigotry Monitor-UCSJ's weekly newsletter, Volume 11, Number 10, June 24, 2011
The majority of Russians (61%) oppose gay parades and consider them amoral and materialistic, which children and young people should not watch, a poll by the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM) reports, according to the semi-official news agency RIA-Novosti. Only 9% hold the opposite point of view. Among Muscovites, there are even more opponents of gay parades: 69%. Only 11% support such an event.
For the past several years, gay activists have planned to stage parades in Moscow and other cities. But city authorities will not agree.
Russians Like Democrats, Dislike Nationalists - Poll
RIA-Novosti, June 28, 2011
Over 50 per cent of Russians feel positive about democrats and reformist politicians, whereas nationalists arouse negative emotions among most Russians, state news agency RIA Novosti reported on 28 June, citing a poll conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VTsIOM). The survey was held on 11-12 June 2011 and involved 1,600 respondents in 138 towns and villages in 46 Russian regions, the report said, adding that the margin of error was under 3.4 per cent.
As many as 55 per cent of those polled feel positive about democratic politicians and 53 per cent, about reformist politicians, RIA Novosti said. Nationalists are Russians' least favourite politicians: 71 per cent of respondents feel negative about them. Conservative politicians and radicals trigger negative emotions in 51 per cent of respondents, while populists are not in favour with 55 per cent of Russians, the poll has shown. Communists and liberals are viewed more negatively than positively too, by 44 and 41 per cent of respondents respectively.
Reformist politicians are disliked by Communist Party supporters (43 per cent of them feel this way) but are popular among A Just Russia supporters (61 per cent), One Russia supporters (59 per cent) and supporters of non-parliamentary parties (71 per cent). The last three groups of respondents also feel positive about democrats: 62, 64 and 68 per cent respectively.
Conservative and radical politicians are disliked by A Just Russia supporters (61 and 67 per cent) and by supporters of non-parliamentary parties (79 and 64 per cent). Liberals are disliked by people who vote for the Communist Party (55 per cent of CPRF supporters), A Just Russia (45 per cent) and One Russia (40 per cent), but are respected by Liberal Democratic Party voters (44 per cent of LDPR supporters) and by those who support non-parliamentary parties (39 per cent), RIA Novosti continued.
Communists provoke positive feelings among CPRF supporters (83 per cent of them). Populists are most of disliked by A Just Russia supporters (68 per cent of them), while nationalists are most of all disliked by supporters of non-parliamentary parties (86 per cent).
As regards different age groups, the poll has shown that Russians aged under 35 mostly support democrats (63 per cent), radical politicians (20 per cent), populists (15 per cent) and nationalists (14 per cent), the report said.
In terms of respondents' level of income, it mostly affects attitudes towards the Communist Party, RIA Novosti said. Communists enjoy the support of 44 per cent of Russians on lower incomes and of only 25 per cent of respondents who are well-off, the report said.
Prosecutor General's Office declares Ron Hubbard's books extremist
Interfax-Religion, June 30, 2011
Moscow, June 30, Interfax, - Several books by Ron Hubbard have been qualified as extremist literature, the Prosecutor General's Office said.
"Experts have made the conclusion that founder of Scientology Ron Hubbard's books and booklets aim to form an isolated social group, whose members are trained to perform their functions impeccably and most of whom are in a struggle with the rest of the world," the Prosecutor General's Office said.
"These books convey calls to engage in extremism, and carry humiliating descriptions and judgments, and negative views on individuals based on their social status," it said.
II SURVEYS, ANALYSES, COMMENTS
Yanukovych Relies On Soviet Nationalism To Stay In Power
By Taras Kuzio
RFE/RL, June 07, 2011
Western and Ukrainian analysts have long argued that three, basic factors apply in any political analysis of Ukraine.
First, President Viktor Yanukovych's Party of Regions (like other centrist parties) has no ideology.
Second, Ukraine's regional diversity prevents the monopolization of power by one political force.
And third, unlike in Russia, ruling parties cannot use nationalism in Ukraine to remain in power.
Violence last month in Lviv showed that all three of these factors are wrong.
On May 9, nationalist protestors clashed with police, Russian nationalists, Communists and the Russian Consul, a Soviet-era flag was burnt, and a commemoration wreath was destroyed. An adviser to a local deputy was shot in the leg.
Violence was inevitable after the parliamentary coalition supporting President Yanukovych voted on April 21 to fly Soviet flags on Victory Day (celebrating the end of World War II) for the first time since Ukraine became independent.
During, and since the 2004 presidential election, the inciting of interregional conflict has been a strategy forged by Ukrainian and Russian political consultants ("technologists") working for Yanukovych and the Party of Regions to ensure they remain in power.
Yanukovych therefore cannot fulfill promises of national integration that he supported in the 2010 election campaign as he would have to take three impossible steps.
First, he would have to halt the Party of Regions' reported financing of the nationalist Svoboda (Freedom) party, which was involved in the provocations in Lviv.
Svoboda's previous name in the 1990s was the Social National Party, a name that clearly evokes links to the Nazis. Mainstream nationalist parties in Ukraine and the diaspora rightly refuse to have any dealings with Svoboda.
Second, the Party of Regions should no longer draw on divisive issues, such as hostility to Ukrainian nationalism, anti-Americanism and hyping alleged threats from "Ukrainianization" to mobilize its core ex-communist voters during elections.
Third, Yanukovych should return to the religious policy promoted by Ukraine's first three presidents by staying neutral between the warring Ukrainian and Russian Orthodox Churches (ROC) in Ukraine.
The Return Of The 'Great Patriotic War'
Yanukovych is the first president to grant the ROC a de facto state and official position while marginalizing Ukrainian Orthodox and Greek-Catholics, as well as other religious denominations. ROC Patriarch Kirill has visited Ukraine countless times in the last three years with Yanukovych in tow as his host.
Ukraine is more divided today than at any time in its two-decade, post-Soviet history.
This divide that has been deepened by Education Minister Dmytro Tabachnyk's Sovietophile policies, the return of the Soviet term "Great Patriotic War" and the flying of the Soviet flag, as well as importing the Russian position on the 1933 holodomor, or "terror-famine."
Freedom House recommended in its April 27 report "Sounding the Alarm: Protecting Democracy in Ukraine" that Yanukovych "[d]ismiss Education Minister Dmytro Tabachnyk, arguably the most polarizing official in the cabinet, for sowing unnecessary and dangerous divisions within Ukraine over issues of identity, language, and education."
Let's return to the three major misperceptions about Ukraine.
Divide And Rule
The first is ideology. Yanukovych and the Party of Regions have a stable 20 percent base of support from former leftist, Stalinist and pan-Slavic voters who, until the 2004 elections, voted for the Communist Party, Progressive Socialist Party and Slavic Unity Party respectfully.
Since the 2006 elections, their natural allies in Crimea and Odessa have also been Russian nationalist-separatists who were permitted to travel to Lviv for the May 9 provocations.
Yanukovych and the Party of Regions therefore do not have the same electorate as other centrist parties such as Trudova Ukrayina (now called Silna Ukrayina and led by Deputy Prime Minister Serhiy Tihipko) and the NDP (Peoples Democratic Party). These centrist parties target Ukraine's new middle class and have a liberal ideology.
In contrast, the Party of Regions has integrated left-populist paternalistic state capitalism and is perceived as supporting oligarchs.
This is evident in the foreign partners with whom the Party of Regions has signed cooperation agreements - Vladimir Putin's Unified Russia party, the Chinese Communist Party and the Socialist group in the European Parliament (none of whom are liberals).
The second factor, regional diversity, is overcome by the administration through divide-and-rule policies. The first region, Eastern Ukraine, can be controlled by appealing to pro-Russian and Sovietophile issues and by portraying the Party of Regions as defenders against "Ukrainian nationalism" which showed its "ugly face" on May 9 in Lviv.
If All Else Fails, There's Always Political Corruption
The strategy directed at the second regional group, central Ukrainians, is to divide them from the "crazy nationalist Galicians," a plan successfully used in March 2001 when violence provoked by the authorities at an opposition rally in Kyiv turned the city against western Ukrainian radicals in the "Ukraine Without Kuchma" movement.
Changes in legislation last year also removed the right of Kyivites to vote for the city's mayor, who is henceforth the same person as the governor appointed by the president.
Finally, if all else fails, there is always political corruption, which was endemic in Kyiv and the region under former Mayor Leonid Chernovetskyy.
The strategy for the third regional group, western Ukraine, is for it to become a Svoboda stronghold.
Yulia Tymoshenko's Batkivshchina (Fatherland) party was denied registration in Kyiv and Lviv, two of its regional strongholds, in the October 2010 local elections.
This step ensured Svoboda's victory in three Galician oblasts, the first time a nationalist party has won control of Western Ukraine.
First Bourgeois Nationalists, Now Crazy Galicians
The third misperception is the alleged inability of Ukrainian authorities to use nationalism. Well-known Ukrainian sociologist Valeriy Khmelko believes "social authoritarianism" is stronger in eastern Ukraine, where its political face is extreme leftist parties and the Party of Regions, and has a stable 20 or more percent nationwide support. This compares to only 3-5 percent nationwide support for the "social authoritarian" Svoboda, whose support is limited to Galicians.
It is increasingly dawning on Western policy makers that the Yanukovych administration believes it will remain in office indefinitely; after all, giving up power goes against the grain of Eurasian, post-Soviet political culture.
In Eurasia, giving up power is also dangerous. The unleashing of criminal charges against Tymoshenko and her allies, and against ex-President Leonid Kuchma, has opened up a Pandora 's box of potential countercharges against current government officials and ex-President Yanukoych - if they are out of power.
The popularity of Yanukovych and the Party of Regions is plummeting and will continue to plummet if IMF-mandated reforms, such as raising the pension age for women from 55 to 60 and increasing household utility prices by 50 percent for a second time are implemented.
With its popularity collapsing, coupled with a fear of being out of power, the Yanukovych administration is promoting a strategy of regional divide-and-rule through polarization, using May 9-style provocations, to maintain its eastern Ukrainian electorate permanently mobilized.
The traditional Soviet policy of dividing eastern against western Ukrainians, then "bourgeois nationalists" and now "crazy Galicians," remains in place.
(Taras Kuzio is a visiting fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. The views expressed in this commentary are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of RFE/RL)
Priests in Pursuit: Is the Moscow Patriarchate laying its hands on a historical monument?
By Roman Malko
Ukrainian Week, 14 June 2011
The epic story of the Church of the Tithes seems to have reached new heights. Builders' trailers were recently installed on the excavation grounds there. This was done at night, away from curious eyes. Both the police and public activists have failed to identify the owners who brought them there. Both the municipal authorities and the Moscow Patriarchate Orthodox priests deny involvement. But it is clear that the officials and men in black frocks are not telling the whole truth.
WHO REAPS THE BENEFITS
Archeologists insist that the Kyiv City Administration and district administrations have been the heaviest lobbyists for a modern church to be built in the sacred place. "The fact that the trailers were put here apparently for construction purposes is the result of some lower-rank officials' ad-libbing," says Vitaliy Koziuba, research fellow at the NANU Institute of Archeology who directed the excavations. "Evidently they think they will push their project through, but there has been no official decision and the construction works themselves violate Ukrainian law."
It is this "bureaucratic plankton" which likes a dark and slippery environment that is the main culprit in the situation. If these functionaries stuck to their duties and national laws, there would be no conflict.
A recent attempt to hold a competition of projects to decide on what to do with the long-suffering foundation of the ancient church was an utter failure. It was doomed from the start: projects were accepted for the tender that clearly contravened both its concept and Ukrainian laws in general. The competition thus seemed to be a trick conceived to legalize the idea of a new church rather than a way to find a reasonable solution. Proof of this is the failed first ballot in which the project to make a museum, rather than a church, won. The repeat ballot only fuelled suspicion. Surprisingly, two absolutely incompatible conceptions - the museum project and the Byzantium-style church project - were declared winners.
Jury member Larysa Skoryk and Kyiv City Council member Oleksandr Bryhinets say that the votes of the respected commission members were split along professional lines. Historians, architects and archeologists, who are perfectly aware of the site's historical and cultural value, supported its conservation, while the bureaucrats voted for a new church. Obviously, they also realize how valuable the Church of the Tithes is but want to convert it into a money-bearing equivalent.
THE SILENCE OF THE PRESIDENT
There has been no shortage of people speaking in favor of building a new church at the site, including ex-President Leonid Kuchma, who even signed an edict on the matter. Viktor Yushchenko and one-time Kyiv Mayor Oleksandr Omelchenko also joined in. However, all of them changed their minds once they learned that their fantasies ran counter to law. The current president decided not to follow their suit. A rumor (later proved false) had it that Viktor Yanukovych had signed a decree permitting construction works at the site of the Church of the Tithes. In reality, Yanukovych merely ordered officials to look into the situation. Evidently, no ranking official wants to bear responsibility now and openly break the law. For this site in downtown Kyiv is protected by all conceivable international conventions.
Neither Metropolitan Vladimir, head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate, UPTs MP), nor Patriarch Kirill of Moscow have made any direct statements about the need to build a new Church of the Tithes. Their subordinates, however, do not conceal their desires. Archimandrite Hedeon went as far as saying that the church would be built there anyway. He runs the Monastery of the Tithes which was set up on a plot of land near the church which the clergy had seized essentially as raiders.
If you believe Hedeon's official biography published on the site of the UPTs MP Kyiv Metropolitanate, he is a seasoned clergyman. Before coming to Kyiv he had held two high positions, one in a Russian province and the other in the USA. His self-confident demeanor betrays having not only good intentions but also some influential patrons who have both blessed the "God-pleasing" cause and provided some tangible assistance. His selection of helpers is also revealing. Most of his monks look more like fighters in special task units rather than typical monks. They do not mince words or exhibit any particular peacefulness.
Princess Maria Romanova, who is considered a descendant of the Russian monarchial dynasty, recently paid a visit to Ukraine and awarded Hedeon with the Righteous Order on Anna, Third Degree, for his merits before the church and the state. It is an easy guess which state was implied.
THE FOUNDATION OF THE "RUSSIAN WORLD"
Church raid attacks are nothing out of the ordinary in Ukraine. People are no longer surprised at churches being taken away from one denomination by another one or chapels being built on illegally seized land. But the Church of the Tithes is special. It was the first stone church of Kyivan Rus' and was built by Prince Volodymyr himself at that. Can it be that the Kremlin rulers are viewing it as an important piece to go into the foundation of the "Russian World" they have started building by working through the Russian Orthodox Church?
Realizing that a church cannot be built legally, the masterminds must have decided to resort to the time-tested method of ruse, impudence and exploitation of peoples' superstitious beliefs. They are fortunate to have the political wind blowing in a favorable direction. Modern Ukraine has not yet seen examples of churches being taken down, even if they were illegally built in the first place. As soon as Moscow priests put the first bricks on the foundation of the Church of the Tithes to build their new church, no one will drive them out from there.
A recent attempt to install builders' trailers near the site is a very telling move. It was a test. If the public had let it pass and failed to express its outrage, bulldozers would have immediately arrived to start digging the foundation. Experience of fighting against illegal construction projects in Kyiv shows that it is extremely hard - virtually impossible - to stop bulldozers.
The Church of the Tithes or Church of the Dormition of the Virgin was built in 988-996 A.D. by Prince Volodymyr the Great. It was destroyed by Mongols in 1240. The excavations of the ruins were launched back in the 1630s on the initiative of Petro Mohyla who found the sarcophagus of Prince Volodymyr and his wife Anna there. In 1842, a new church, executed in the imperial Byzantian-Muscovite style, was erected on the ruins, but it was razed to the ground by the Bolsheviks in 1928.
Budanov and the Chechen Curse: The murder of a former Russian colonel is the latest, but perhaps not the last, act of a horrific drama that began more than a decade ago.
By Sergei Borisov
Transitions Online 13 June 2011
Yuri Budanov was shot repeatedly in the head in central Moscow on 10 June. Except in the minds of some extreme Russian nationalists and perhaps some soldiers, he is remembered as the former Russian colonel convicted of killing an 18-year-old Chechen woman in 2000. His case was convoluted, with the trial coming close to amnesty at one point before Moscow intervened and a retrial eventually ended in conviction. Even after that, as this article shows, his fate was no more straightforward than the Kremlin's approach to Chechnya. Its twists and turns are a good illustration of changing tactics and the far-from-uniform opinion in Russia about how to approach crimes committed on both sides in that conflict. And Budanov's case had tentacles: a few days after he was released early from prison in January 2009, Stanislav Markelov, a lawyer who had represented the family of the murdered girl, held a press conference to protest the move. He was shot and killed, along with Anastasia Baburova, a young journalist, on a street in downtown Moscow immediately afterward. In April, two neo-Nazis were convicted of those murders. Now some are wondering if Budanov's death will spur retribution killings of people from the Caucasus or even if it was committed by Russian nationalists in order to inflame already tense ethnic relations.
This article was originally published on 27 September 2004.
ULYANOVSK, Russia | A former colonel jailed for kidnapping and murdering a Chechen girl and pardoned by a regional commission on 15 September will not, after all, be able to walk free with a presidential pardon.
This change of direction in the long and always controversial case of Yuri Budanov came after the largest street demonstrations by Chechens in years, opposition from the pro-Kremlin Chechen government, and, it seems, behind-the-scenes pressure from the Kremlin.
THE BUDANOV CASE
The Budanov case has become a touchstone issue, as Budanov is the first and almost the only Russian officer to have been punished for crimes against Chechen civilians. Human rights groups have leveled many accusations against Russian troops. Budanov's case has also gained added prominence for its convoluted course.
After protracted court proceedings and several psychological examinations, a military court in the North Caucasus sentenced Budanov to 10 years in prison in July 2003.
Budanov strangled Elza Kungayeva in 2000 after she was seized and questioned by the unit that he commanded. Budanov admitted killing Kungayeva, who was 18, initially defending himself by saying he thought she was a rebel sniper. However, he also sought to avoid a jail term by claiming diminished responsibility. The legal and psychiatric arguments then centered on whether he had been suffering from a temporary bout of insanity when he killed Kungayeva.
The sentence was upheld in October 2003 by Russia's military supreme court and on 30 March 2004 by the Supreme Court itself.
Doubts that Budanov would ever be jailed, nurtured partly by rulings in Budanov's favor by the leading state psychiatric research center, were replaced, after his sentencing, by doubts that that he would serve much of his 10-year sentence. These grew after the decision to transfer him to the Dimitrovgrad prison in the Ulyanovsk region. Many believed that the governor of Ulyanovsk, Vladimir Shamanov, holder of a Hero of Russia medal for his role in the war, had his hand in this. Budanov was Shamanov's subordinate in Chechnya, and the men are said to be friends.
For many, the principal question was not whether Shamanov would pardon Budanov, but when.
HOW BUDANOV WAS PARDONED
In May, Budanov appealed for a pardon but withdrew his plea after uncertainties about this citizenship. Two days later, the Defense Ministry confirmed that Budanov had Russian, not Ukrainian, citizenship.
A better opportunity may have been provided by the tragedy in Beslan in early September, when more than 330 people, mainly children, were killed in the bloody conclusion to the school hostage crisis. With anti-Chechen sentiment running high, some believe Shamanov thought the timing was right to fast-track Budanov's release.
However, the main reason could be not Beslan, but the expiration of Shamanov's term of office this December. He faces direct elections, as President Vladimir Putin's proposed reforms about appointment of governors have not yet passed the State Duma.
Shamanov's chances of victory are thought to be slim. This may, then, have been one of the last opportunities to help his former comrade in arms.
Shamanov immediately put his signature to the 15 September decision by the Ulyanovsk regional pardons commission to pardon Budanov. The commission also restored his Order of Courage and military rank. The commission noted that Budanov had behaved well in prison and that he had headed the prison's sports section.
But for the pardon to be valid, it still needed Putin's signature.
For many observers, the question then became whether Shamanov had coordinated his actions with the presidential administration.
Shamanov himself did not comment on the pardon of Budanov. The Kremlin has been also silent.
THE ANGRY RESPONSE
Shamanov's decision put the Russian president in a difficult position. On 21 September, several thousand people, most of them students, gathered in the Chechen capital, Grozny, to protest against the pardon for Budanov.
The demonstration, one of the largest in Chechnya in recent years, also won the support of the Chechen government. The republic's first deputy prime minister, Ramzan Kadyrov, son of the late Chechen president, said that to pardon Budanov would be to "spit on the soul of the Chechen people."
The Chechen branch of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party condemned Budanov as a "war criminal for the citizens of the republic" and a man who had "caused irreversible harm to the authority of our armed forces."
The protesters, who also condemned the terrorism in Beslan, equated Budanov to Shamil Basaev, the Chechen warlord who has claimed responsibility for the school siege. One of the banners reportedly read: "Budanov and Basaev - both are murderers."
Ziad Sabsabi, the lawyer for Kungayeva's family, said that the pardon could fuel demands "to free ahead of schedule rebels who are in Russian jails."
An independent deputy in the Duma, Vladimir Ryzhkov, said a pardon would prompt a "flow of hundreds and thousands of Chechens into the terrorists' camp." It would also send "a signal to troops in the Caucasus to continue their lawless deeds," a view echoed by Aleksandr Petrov, deputy director of Human Rights Watch's Moscow office.
Liberal Russian politicians joined the chorus of condemnation. Irina Khakamada, who stood against Putin in presidential elections in March, said that if Putin pardoned Budanov "it would be one more proof that the authorities follow no law."
Russia's human-rights ombudsman, Vladimir Lukin, also called for Budanov to remain in prison, insisting that Russia be tough on "the murderers of innocent people and make sure there isn't an impression that we approach these issues with double standards."
THE KREMLIN'S CHOICE
Visa Kungayev, the father of the murdered girl, told the weekly Moskovskiye Novosti on 23 September that he is sure the Russian president would not sign Budanov's plea. "Why? Terrorists are the same for him. And Budanov for him is a terrorist like those who captured the school in Beslan. I am simply certain of it," Kungayev said.
But the Kremlin remained largely silent in the days after the decision, prompting some in the media to argue that a pardon was possible to please those who share the Kremlin's opinion that to fight terrorism there is a need to toughen measures against Chechens in the wake of Beslan tragedy.
One of the few comments to emerge indicated that the Kremlin was considering a pardon, though that may have been an attempt to soothe Russian servicemen in Chechnya. Dmitri Kozak, who was recently appointed his envoy in the Southern Federal District, which includes Chechnya, and granted huge powers, told the state television channel Rossiya on 19 September that "there are possibly grounds for a pardon," pointing out that Budanov has already been in prison for four years. In that time, many Chechen rebels had been amnestied, Kozak asserted.
But, if it was quiet in public, the Kremlin appears to have acted behind the scenes. The Russian media reported about enormous pressure exerted on the Ulyanovsk regional administration. Eventually, the regional Prosecutor's Office in Ulyanovsk wrote to Shamanov saying that the commission had breached some procedural requirements when it considered Budanov's plea. The commission did not take into consideration the "social danger" of Budanov's crime, prosecutors said, and added that pardoning Budanov at the moment would be "inexpedient."
Shamanov then called on the pardons commission to reconsider its decision. It is due to rule on 29 September.
But Budanov has effectively spared them the task and Putin the choice by withdrawing his plea. His lawyer, Pavel Astakhov, told reporters that his client had taken this step as a "consequence of the stir made recently by officials and media around the case of the former tank man."
Still, Budanov could in any case soon walk free. In 2005, he will have spent five years in prison, half of his 10-year sentence, at which point he can appeal to a court for early release on probation.
If the court agrees and releases him for good behavior, Budanov will not be able to return to the army as a colonel or claim back his Order of Courage.
But he could do without official help. When he submitted his plea for a pardon, Budanov said that he would be able to live in an apartment rented for him by an unnamed bank, and that he would work in the bank's security section. His wife, Budanov said, is already working on repairs in the flat.
Kungayeva's family could theoretically demand compensation from Budanov. However, her father told Moskovskiye Novosti "I would not take anything even if I was offered it."
Kungayeva's family is now in Norway, where her parents, brothers, and sisters are undergoing a psychological rehabilitation program at the invitation of the Norwegian government.
Kungayev said the family feels well in Norway but they still want to return home. "We decided: If the president does not sign the decree on the pardon, we will return to Russia."
How Russians survived militant atheism to embrace God: Today, less than 20 years after the collapse of the officially atheistic Soviet Union, Russia has emerged as the most God-believing nation in Europe. That's a testament to the devotion of babushkas who kept the flames of faith alive in the face of state-sponsored repression.
By: Walter Rodgers
Christian Science Monitor, June 16, 2011
Sometimes really huge news stories occur that receive almost no notice, but they are seismic just the same. Today, less than 20 years after the collapse of the officially atheistic Soviet Union, Russia has emerged as the most God-believing nation in Europe, more so than Roman Catholic Italy or Protestant Britain. The independent Public Opinion Fund poll discovered this spring that 82 percent of Russians now say they are religious believers.
Given the brutal and ruthless repression by Joseph Stalin of the Russian Orthodox Church and all religion, this is truly a remarkable statistic. It is a testament to the babushkas who would not capitulate to Soviet bullying. Hoorah for the hero grandmothers of the motherland! Against all odds they have won.
Those stooped, graying old ladies with head scarves, deeply creased faces, and stainless steel-capped teeth were scorned, mocked, and ridiculed by Communist officialdom during the 74 years of official Soviet atheism because they were religious believers. Dismissed as babas and crones, they were, however, the true soul of Russian society.
When the Kremlin's Soviet Politburo or the Central Committee apparatchiks raced about in their Chaikas and ZIL limousines, the babushkas quietly went about dutifully kissing their religious icons because those were their only windows to a better world.
The babushkas devotedly stood guard over decaying churches, lighting candles amid the dilapidation and ruin. These spiritual sentinels were virtually helpless to prevent decades of Soviet looting of their churches. But the babushkas refused to allow the flame of faith to go out in Russia, even if it was only their own.
In the worst of times, Stalin's thugs dynamited spectacular Orthodox cathedrals. They sent the Russian clergy to the gulags; they discriminated against believers in hiring and education; and they stole the churches' priceless religious icons, selling them in the West for precious hard currency.
All the while, the impoverished babushkas eked out an existence living on a few kopecks and handfuls of lard as they scurried in the shadows of their darkened churches, doing their best to protect and police these shrines, demanding dignity and decorum from all who entered.
The babushkas' critical role outside their churches was at least as central to Russian society as their role in preserving religious ritual. With Soviet
mothers working at full-time jobs, it was these grandmothers who raised generations of Russian children, teaching them whatever morality and ethics they could because the Communists had dismantled the traditional rudder of societal morality, the churches.
As a Moscow correspondent during the 1980s, it was my impression that the most traumatic event in a young Russian child's life was losing his babushka. In my mind's eye, I can still see a young Russian boy about 8 or 9 crying bitterly over what appeared to be the coffin of his grandmother. The boy was seated on a wooden bench, with his parents and a group of gravediggers, all of them bouncing along on an open flatbed truck in a heavy snowstorm just outside Moscow.
This was no funeral train, just an uncovered farm truck followed by an American correspondent and his wife unable to pass on the icy roads. The raw image of the falling snow; that boy's red, tear-streaked face; and the babushka's coffin covered with spruce boughs still sticks with me a quarter-century later.
An enormous debt
Russian society owes an enormous debt to its babushkas, and not just for refusing to let the religious faith of its people be extinguished by the supercilious sneers of Lenin and Stalin. This indefatigable force of grandmothers helped preserve Russia's rich cultural heritage for 74 years. From the humble icon corners of their huts to the retelling of the classic Russian folk stories, they preserved and perpetuated a culture free of the socialist claptrap taught in state schools.
On reflection, perhaps the candles of the Russian soul were too bright to be totally extinguished by Marxist ideology; Russians never totally forsook their religious heritage. During World War II, as Russian soldiers were marching to the front, poems tell of Russian women whispering "God bless you" as the boys went off to the slaughter. Russian women even wore gold crosses inside their blouses. Asked why, one explained to me with some embarrassment, "Just in case."
The institutional church was re-created in later Soviet years to perpetuate the farce of religious freedom. But everyone knew the KGB had infiltrated the Orthodox clergy to make sure religion did not take root again. That may explain why adherence to organized religion (in particular the Orthodox church) lags far behind belief in God.
To honor this spiritual resilience, Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev should consider commissioning statues to "the eternal babushka." They could be installed on all those vacant Lenin ped-estals. Why not pay tribute to all the fearless grandmothers who preserved Russian culture and faith when everyone else had given up?
Budanov exposes divisions
By: Konstantin von Eggert
Moscow News, June 16, 2011
From the shooting of former Colonel Yury Budanov until his funeral, Moscow police lived through three anxious days and nights. Rioting by Russian nationalist groups was anticipated, but in the end nothing happened.
A decade ago Budanov, a regimental commander in the second Chechen war, was arrested and tried for the murder of 18-year old Chechen girl Elsa Kungayeva, whom he kidnapped from her home in the village of Tangi-Chu.
Budanov confessed to the killing but claimed Kungayeva was a suspected sniper, and said that he suffered from temporary dementia when he strangled her to death. There was strong evidence that Budanov raped Kungayeva, but this charge was later dropped. Budanov was sentenced to 10 years, but released early in 2009 "for good behavior."
Nationalists claimed that an honest Russian officer had been unjustly condemned to please the Chechens. Liberals and human rights activists said Budanov was a war criminal who symbolized everything that was wrong with the war in Chechnya, the army and the state.
When Budanov walked free, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov declared the Chechens would never forgive him or forget his crime.
After last Friday's murder, many Russians have pointed the finger at the Chechens, claiming they have finally got their man. Others say it was a nationalist provocation aimed at destabilizing the country.
The wave of sympathy for Budanov after his death was shown by a poll by Ekho Moskvy, which found that nearly 50 percent of listeners were convinced of Budanov's innocence, despite his confession.
One journalist who covered the Chechen war commented on Yezhednevny Zhurnal: "Why do we have to choose a convicted war criminal as our symbol?! Why not the hundreds of honest officers and men, who did not rape and murder civilians, but fought in Chechnya with honor and courage?"
Budanov's killing has shown that Russia is still a divided society with a dysfunctional moral focus. The debates of nearly a decade ago, when Budanov was on trial, have not gone away.
There are several conclusions that can be drawn.
First, a large chunk of society considers violence to be normal, and even a solution to Russia's problems. "Wipe out the Chechens, wipe out the immigrants, wipe out the intelligentsia - and the world will be perfect," is the message behind the support for Budanov.
Second, Russians do not accept Chechens as their fellow citizens. In this respect the pacification policy of the last decade has failed. Chechens will be blamed for the killing even if it turns out that Budanov was shot for not repaying a business debt.
Kadyrov's extravagant behavior and Chechnya's semi-independent position, bought at a large cost to the federal budget, will breed more resentment among Russians. The North Caucasus is drifting away from Russia. The tribal, essentially pre-feudal nature of society there is in sharp conflict with Russia's atomized, uncertain and highly individualistic identity.
Third, Russia's ruling class is torn between riding a nationalist wave and controlling it. Anti-Western isolationism is the default position for many politicians and officials. But they are also afraid of the raw energy of the nationalists, for whom the country's leaders are seen as traitors.
Fourth, the situation is for now tempered by what commentator Andrei Kolesnikov called "empathy without participation". A lack of charismatic leaders also hampers the radical nationalist cause. The Kremlin will certainly seek to ensure that this remains the case.
However, the problem is that all sensible alternatives to nationalism are also being stomped out. Should this exercise in political control ever fail, which it might, the consequences could be dire.
From ethno-political time-out to stagnation (About some outcomes of workshop "Prevention of manifestations of extremism, ethnic, religious hostility and terrorism in SFD and NCFD")
Moscow bureau for human rights, 20 June 2011
On May 27-28 in Kislovodsk inter-regional scientific-practical workshop "Prevention of manifestations of extremism, ethnic, religious hostility and terrorism in SFD and NCFD" took place. Its organizers were Center of support of human right protection (Moscow), Moscow bureau for human rights, Center of conflicts settling (Krasnodar) with support of Commission of the Public chamber of Russian Federation on interethnic relations and freedom of conscience, Department of Ministry of home affairs (MVD) of Russian Federation on counteraction to extremism and administration of city-resort Kislovodsk. The workshop was participated by about 100 persons - employees of public authorities and municipalities, law-enforcement bodies, non-government public organizations of SFD and NCFD, representatives of Public chambers and Staffs of Commissioners on human rights, leaders of ethnic and religious communities of SFD and NCFD, and scientific-expert community.
The following workshop participants spoke who accentuated the attention on legal, social-economic, political and ideological aspects of the problem under consideration: V.I. Mukomel, director of Center of ethno-political and regional studies, Doctor of sociology (Moscow), with the subject: "Xenophobia, migrant-phobia and extremism: social context"; A.P. Gorbunov, rector of Pyatigorsk state linguistic university (Pyatigorsk), with the subject: "Strengthening of intercultural and interethnic cooperation, prevention of extremism: experience of PSLU"; M.A. Astvatsaturova, head of North-Caucasian branch of Network of ethnological monitoring and early prevention of conflicts, Doctor of political science (Pyatigorsk), with the subject: "Prevention of "diversified effect" of nationalism and xenophobia in local communities of NCFD"; M.Yu. Filippov, head of department on the problems of home policy of staff of the plenipotentiary of the President of RF in SFD (Rostov-on-Don), with the subject: "About some problems of arrangement of work for counteraction to extremism"; I.P. Chernobrovkin, professor of department of conflictology of faculty of sociology and political science of Southern federal university (Rostov-on-Don), with the subject: "Nationalwide counteraction to terrorism in the South of Russia: strategical aspect"; M.A. Zakharova, head of Chief Directorate of the Ministry of justice of RF for Stavropol region (Stavropol), with the subject: "Activity of territorial bodies of the Ministry of justice in the field of prevention of extremism manifestations in North-Caucasian federal district"; M.Ye. Ushakov, head of staff of anti-terrorist commission of Rostov region (Rostov-on-Don), with the subject: "About increase of efficiency of counteraction to extremism in youth environment"; T.V. Pinkevich, senior research fellow of Stavropol Center of social, social-political and criminological studies (Stavropol), with the subject: "Problem of counteraction to extremism in NCFD"; E.T. Maiboroda, senior research fellow of Southern scientific center of RAS (Stavropol), with the subject: "Systemic conflict-management under conditions of growth of interethnic tension in the North Caucasus"; D.E. Ozdoyev, Commissioner on human rights in Republic of Ingushetia (Magas), with the subject: "Experience of cooperation of state and non-government institutions in prevention of terrorism and extremism in republic of Ingushetia"; Kh.A. Yakhikhanov, chairman of Committee on regulations, interethnic, inter-religious relations, extrenal ties and informational policy of the Parliament of Chechen Republic (Grozny), with the subject: "Informational counteraction to terrorism and extremism at the example of Chechen Republic"; A.F. Mukomolov, chairman of council of inter-regional public organization "Peace-making mission named after general Lebed" (Moscow), with the subject: "Overcoming of consequences of armed conflicts in the North Caucasus"; Z.I. Salbieva, secretary of Public chamber of Republic of North Ossetia-Alania (Vladikavkaz), with the subject: "Role of the Public chamber of Republic of North Ossetia-Alania in prevention of manifestations of ethnic hostility"; I.M. Skvirenko, executive director of Kavkazskiye Mineralnye Vody regional center of peace-making, conflictology and social development "Friendship-North Caucasus" (Kislovodsk), with the subject: "Experience of cooperation of civil society institutions with municipal self-government bodies in counteraction to extremism"; K.S. Grigoryeva, senior lecturer of branch of the Southern federal university (Kizlyar), with the subject: "Post-conflict anf post-crisis adaptation of rural population of Chechen Republic (at the example of Cossack village Dubovskaya of Shelkovskoy district)"; V.A. Timchenko, analyst of center of ethno-political studies of Pyatigorsk branch of North-Caucasian academy of public service (Pyatigorsk), with the subject: "Prevention of extremism manifestations in youth environment in NCFD"; I.V. Lazarova, coordinator of projects of autonomous non-commercial organization "Planet" (Vladikavkaz), with the subject: "Role of peace-making education in prevention of ethnic conflicts and development of tolerance in the North Caucasus"; I.M. Kishukova, director of charitable foundation "Development" (Nalchik), with the subject: "Prevention of radical nationalism, xenophobia in youth environment of SFD and NCFD - complex approach (enlightenment and education, development of civil society, cooperation of government bodies and NGOs)" and other experts, representatives of government bodies and Office of general public prosecutor of RF.
The following spoke within the discussion devoted to the problems of role of education, enlightenment, mass media in improvement of interethnic and inter-religious dialogue, prevention of extremism: B.N. Panteleyev, legal expert of the Public chamber of RF, executive director of Agency of legal information "Man and law" (Moscow), with the subject: "Role of experts in settlement of informational conflicts connected with accusation of mass media of verbal extremism"; M.A. Melnikov, analyst of Center of extreme journalism (Moscow), with the subject: "Professional media environment as an unused resource for counteraction to extremism, language of hostility"; Yu.N. Kulik, executive officer of Staff of Commissioner on human rights in Stavropol region (Stavropol), with the subject: "Legal education as the fundamental factor of prevention of radical nationalism, xenophobia in youth environment"; L.R. Bostanova, chief specialist of regional executive committee of the party "United Russia" on work with environments (Cherkessk), with the subject: "Integration of Caucasian young people into culture of Russia, creation of positive image of a Caucasian among Russian youth"; V.I. Cherevatenko, head of regional public organization Union "Women of Don" (Rostov-on-Don), with the subject: "Role of women-peacemakers in arrangement of dialogue between peoples basing upon universal values"; V.V. Sukhov, chairman of board of founders of regional public organization "International non-violence" (Moscow), with the subject: "Consolidation of efforts of state and non-government sectors of society as the most important resource for achievement of civil consent and provision of public safety in NCFD"; R.Yu. Yegorov, charman of Council of inter-regional public organization "All-Caucasian youth alliance" (Pyatigorsk), with the subject: "Strategic resource of youth in prevention of interethnic tension and extremism manifestations".
During the speeches of experts and discussions the following subjects were touched upon:
new risks and factors of safety in SFD and NCFD;
practical experience of prevention and overcoming of consequences of extremism, terrorism in SFD, NCFD;
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