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Bulletin 5:23 (2011)

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  • Andreas Umland
    THE RUSSIAN NATIONALISM BULLETIN A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs Vol. 5, No. 23(144), 18 August 2011 Compilers: Scott Littlefield & Andreas Umland I
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 18, 2011
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      A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs
      Vol. 5, No. 23(144), 18 August 2011
      Compilers: Scott Littlefield & Andreas Umland

      I NEWS: 15 - 30 July 2011

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

      I NEWS: 15 - 30 July 2011

      Orthodoxy should become foundation of the country's life, Patriarch Kirill believes
      Interfax-Religion, July 18, 2011

      Moscow, July 18, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia sets the Church a mission to bring Russians to real faith in God.
      "There's no point in pretending, in early 1990 we often baptized people who even didn't know what was going on and we don't know how they felt about it, perhaps it was a kind of fronde to precipitate authorities. And what happened to many of them? They abandoned the Church forever, they left," the Patriarch said after the Liturgy in the Assumption cathedral of Moscow Kremlin.
      According to him, on one hand, many people of the elder generation were not able to overcome atheistic heritage and haven't come to God, on the other hand, "we're facing the pressure of another atheism, atheism of flesh, basing on instinct, but capturing the whole person."
      The Patriarch stressed that today the Church faces "the hardest task" when it needs "to transfer Orthodox faith from the folklore level, where our contemporaries often place it, to the level of world outlook."
      "We will be able to call our people Orthodox only when a significant part of it, even the majority will motivate their actions with religious convictions, especially in professional field, in the field of politics," he said.
      The Patriarch said that the Church does not express political ideas, it speaks about "bringing fundamental values to life of people."
      "If they are preserved, then Russia will always be alive, the spiritual force of our person will always be preserved. And it is more important than any politics," he summed up.


      Russian Church hopes God sent Putin and Medvedev to Russia "for some purpose"
      Interfax-Religion, July 19, 2011

      Moscow, July 19, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate says that it is not time yet to judge the results of the country's current authorities work.
      "God's final judgment for every man is made after the end of history and results of politician's and state leader's work can be summed up when all consequences of his acts have shown up," head of the Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin was quoted as saying by the Kommesant-Vlast magazine.
      According to him, any authority is from God, "but some authorities are called to serve the nation and some are given for nation's sins."
      "And I hope that both Putin and Medvedev are sent for some purpose. And God, people and history should judge what for," the priest added.
      Earlier first deputy chairman of the Russian Presidential Administration Vladislav Surkov said he believes it is not by chance that Vladimir Putin became Russian President in hard times for Russia and Ahmad Kadyrov was the first President of Chechnya.
      "It seems to me that if God decides that a nation should live for some more centuries then in a hard hour He sends someone who leads people out of the dead-end, war, devastation, trouble. It seems to me Ahmad-Haji was the man sent by God to the Chechen people in order to lead them out of trouble this nation faced," Surkov said in his interview with the Dialogi program on the Chechen TV.
      He said he believes "Putin was given to Russia by God and destiny in a hard hour for our one big nation."
      "It seems that these people (Putin and Kadyrov) had to find each other as both of them were destined to save our nations, big Russian nation and the part of this nation - Chechen people. I believe that's the way it was," Surkov said.


      Interethnic, interreligious problems in Russia can be resolved only by improving public morals - Patriarch Kirill
      Interfax-Religion, July 20, 2011

      Moscow, July 20, Interfax - Russia cannot resolve interreligious and interethnic problems without improving the moral climate in society, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has said.
      "Interethnic and interreligious problems can be overcome through bolstering what you have very correctly called public morals," Patriarch Kirill said addressing Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at a meeting with prominent members of religious and other non-governmental organizations on Tuesday.
      "The main thing that worries me now is the destruction of our public morals," the patriarch said. Moral pillars are being ruined, which could make it "impossible to stop crime growth," he said.
      The Patriarch also suggested finding out "why bloody clashes are happening virtually everywhere these days, including in the prospering Europe, across the ocean, and in the Middle East."
      Talking about the model of multiculturalism, which Patriarch Kirill said appeared in the U.S. and which Western Europe adopted, he suggested that this model smoothes out differences between religions and cultures and neutralizes traditional values.
      "Values go away from a multicultural society, but differences remain in place, and these differences prompt people to throw bombs and Molotov cocktails at each other and turn over cars. The melting pot idea doesn't work," he said.
      "It is impossible to try to neutralize differences by ignoring values of human life. If we want to build a society isolated from these values, an absolutely secular one and tolerate multiple forms of behavior, we will abandon something that people of any religion have in common and that unites them, we will destroy the moral foundation of our life," he said.


      Medvedev urges to make list of RF monuments of history, culture.
      Itar-Tass, July 22, 2011

      VLADIMIR, July 22 (Itar-Tass) Russian President Dmitry Medvedev supported an idea of historians to make up a list of the monuments of history and culture that are in deplorable state at a meeting with historians here on Friday. Medvedev noted that local chief executives are primarily responsible for the conservation of these monuments.
      Russia has many wooden monuments, which can be conserved with much more difficulties than stone buildings, because "the number of our monuments is much fewer than in Europe and Oriental countries, where they were built of stone," the president said.
      "Therefore, the idea for a register of monuments, which are under threat, seems absolutely good to me," he said.
      Meanwhile, the president noted that regional chiefs are mainly responsible for conserving local monuments.
      "Finally, regional chiefs are responsible for this. If the monuments built in the XV-XVI centuries are dilapidating under any governor of even our poorest region it is a blatant disorder and the evidence of professional inefficiency of this official. We can find (the funds) for this. Finally, even if to pester various offices and the government, but one can wheedle money for this. This is a matter of responsibility of a person," the president noted.
      The president emphasized that the civil society should control the condition of monuments.
      The president supported an idea to create a society of Russian historians at the meeting.
      Director of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology at the Russian Academy of Sciences Valery Tishkov has offered the foresaid initiative to the president at a meeting with Russian historians in Vladimir. "The community of professional historians numbers about 40,000 people. We believe that a society of Russian historians should be created desirably under your auspices," he elaborated.
      The president answered, "I am ready to support you," because "I also found it correct and useful." Meanwhile, he noted that despite frequent precedents "of a malign influence of the authorities on the science of history" such an alliance can be useful now. "We live in another epoch and today one can hardly imagine that the president or any other statesman can dictate historical theories for the textbooks," Medvedev said.
      The participants in the meeting raised repeatedly the issue of influence of politics on the history. For instance, Medvedev acknowledged that he was pondering for a long time before signing the decree (in March 2011) on the celebrations of the 1150th anniversary of Russian statehood in 2012. "It has been tabled at my office for several months, and I believed I should ponder whether we create a precedent for the state verification of the theory that is harmful for science for clear reasons. However, taking into account all pros and contras and recalling about the millennium celebrations of Russian state in 1862, I found more pluses in the issue, even if someone will reproach us some time in the future that we turned a theory in a regulatory act. This is mainly a correct interpretation of the events of that period of time," the president said.
      The meeting discussed the popularization of the science of history. Medvedev noted that most people learn history from the textbooks and scientific literature, as well as journalism papers, which can be quite different in quality. "It is very important so that people will also learn the research results and will be aware that the modern historical science mainly has a definite attitude to some concrete events. Meanwhile, they should not feel an iron-hand pressure from the state," the president pointed out. Meanwhile, he emphasized that the political practice and the science of history, as well as the direct joggling with the historic events by the major political forces existed not only in the recent Soviet history.

      Patriarch Kirill offers to place quotations from Orthodox saints in state officials' offices
      Interfax-Religion, July 22, 2011

      Saransk, July 22, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia urged state officials to hang quotations from holy fathers in their offices.
      "If we want to become like the Savior, we should be acting in everything for the common good, and not merely seeking our own," the Patriarch said after the Divine Liturgy in Saransk Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan citing St. John the Chrysostom.
      According to him, "this phrase "acting in everything for the common good, and not merely seeking our own" should be stamped in golden letters in each room, in each office, in each place where people think over the country's and nation's welfare."


      Russian Church calls for condemnation of Stalin, Lenin crimes
      Interfax-Religion, July 25, 2011

      Moscow, July 25 (Interfax) - A remembrance service for victims of Soviet-era repressions was held by the Solovetsky Stone on Moscow Lubyanskaya Square on Monday.
      "Many are trying to tell us that that period should be forgotten together with the great number of victims," head of the Synod Department for Church-Public Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin said at the ceremony.
      The Church, the public, veterans and political repression victims "must do their best so that no one and nothing is forgotten," he said.
      Society cannot live a calm life or "have a decent future" unless it learns the lessons of history, "condemns morally, politically and legally the committed crimes and restores the good names of people who were oppressed only because they were clerics, nobles, Cossacks, well-to-do and hardworking farmers, merchants or belonged to other social groups declared enemies of the people," he said.
      Russia will not have a decent future unless "the criminals - Stalin, Lenin, Trotsky, Uritsky, Sverdlov - who organized the Red Terror and Stalin repressions, are named," he said.
      "We know for sure that the hands of those people were stained with innocent blood and all of their merits, real or imaginary - and there are both real and imaginary merits - do not justify what they did. Our society, state and people must not only know but also declare that," he said.
      He called for praying for the killed people "who died of suffering, and for the future of this country, which must admit mistakes and crimes of the past, purify its memory and conscience and become a nation living by the law of truth, peace and love."
      A rally organized by the Society of Repression Victims was held before the remembrance service.


      Russia discussing Norway terror act
      Itar-Tass, July 25, 2011

      MOSCOW, July 25 (Itar-Tass) Russian media have widely commented on the double terror act in Norway in which 90 people were killed. The authorities expected attacks from Islamist extremist groups, but not from the far right ones that have recently intensified activities, analysts emphasise.
      In the first hours after the explosion in Oslo no one could suggest that the terrorist act was committed not by the Islamists, but by an Islamophobic supporter of extreme right ideas, 32-year-old Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik, Kommersant writes. His written confession is available already now: before going to is action, the killer posted on the Internet a 1,500-page political declaration, which describes in detail his motivation and preparation for terrorist attacks. His goal was to awaken Europe from the dream, as it is threatened by the invasion of Muslims and liberal politicians encouraging them.
      It is noteworthy, the newspaper notes, that Russia is many times mentioned in the declaration. In particular, the author describes several ways to purchase weapons (including biological, chemical and nuclear) and cites Russian mafia as one of the sources. Elsewhere, he describes how to bring up the "modern, cultural-conservative and patriotic" youth, and cites as an example the Nashi (Ours) organisation.
      He mentions Russia in the discourse on the theme of an ideal political system: "The non-functioning democracy of the masses in Europe should be replaced by a managed form of democracy like in Russia." Of Russian political figures the author most often mentions Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. It is the RF premier and the Pope that are mentioned in the list of people with whom he would like to meet in person most of all. "Putin gives the impression of a fair and decisive leader, worthy of respect," it is said in the document. However, the author states that "Putin is difficult to analyse" and "it is not clear whether he will potentially become the best friend or the worst enemy for us." "Obviously, he will be forced to publicly condemn us, which is understandable," the author of the document writes.
      Russian Prime Minister's press secretary Dmitry Peskov, having learnt from Kommersant that the Norwegian terrorist was a fan of Vladimir Putin, urged not to make conclusions before it is forensically proven that the document was written by him. "This man is the Devil incarnate. He is absolutely crazy. And what he wrote or said can be called no other than ravings of a madman," Peskov said.
      Nezavisimaya Gazeta quotes a statement made by Rolleiv Solhom, the editor-in-chief of The Norway Post: "The attacker is a man with strong extreme right views, an outspoken opponent of a multi-ethnic society. He is conservative and opposed to Islam. Breivik has had contacts with associates in Europe." Solhom has almost no doubt about the reasons that urged the criminal to attack the Utoya camp. "This camp is considered to be the cradle from which the future leaders of the currently ruling Labour Party (DNA) grow. Breivik opposed government policies regarding immigration and cooperation with 'not white' countries. Apparently, he has been planning his action for more than nine years. Since he did not like the government headed by the Labour Party leader Stoltenberg, probably he believes that it would be natural to attack the party's summer camp. In other words, he attacked the ruling party, which, in its view, supports immigration policies that guarantee equal rights for all."
      Lilit Gevorgyan, an expert of the consulting company IHS Global Insight, told the publication that in Norway security services have at least three time taken preventive measures and arrested possible terrorists. But all of them were believed to have been associated with the Islamic extremist groups or Al-Qaeda. Nobody expected attacks by Christian fundamentalists and extreme right. Meanwhile, not only Scandinavia, but also Central and Western Europe have in recent years seen the growth of the role of the extreme right and nationalist parties opposed to Muslim immigration and globalisation. This creates an atmosphere that may encourage the fanatics to take the path of violence, said Hajo Funke, a political scientist at the Free University in Berlin.
      Nationalist, sometimes openly chauvinistic attitudes are evoked not only by the influx of immigrants, but also by the migration of gypsies to the prosperous EU states from such countries as Romania. Nationalist groups have become more active in Hungary, Italy, but especially in the countries that for a long time had liberal rules on the reception of immigrants.
      The double terror act in Norway will make the Europeans reconsider their approaches to security, writes RBC Daily. The reaction of the Norwegian authorities to the tragedy was entirely predictable: Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said on Saturday that Norway restores border control with the Schengen countries in connection with the terrorist attacks.
      "Terror acts have become a psychological blow, especially for the people of Northern Europe. The more so that this is a rare event for this region, especially for Norway," the newspaper quotes head of the Centre for Northern Europe of the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences Yuri Deryabin. According to him, a visa regime in the Schengen zone does not very much prevent actions of single terrorists. "The country's residents can rely on the activity of the local police, which is one of the most efficient in Europe," Deryabin noted.

      Norway attacks confirm danger of racial hatred, xenophobia, Islamophobia - Russia
      Interfax-Religion, July 27, 2011

      Moscow, July 27, Interfax - The recent terror attacks in Norway evidence the need to strengthen international cooperation in resisting racial hatred and xenophobia, Moscow believes.
      "Firstly, I would want to join the sincere condolences expressed to the Norwegian people," Russian Foreign Ministry Envoy for Human Rights, Democracy and the Supremacy of Law Konstantin Dolgov has told Interfax.
      Asked how Moscow regards the tragedy from the viewpoint of human rights, he said that the current investigation has shown that "in addition to political extremism, this atrocity had such motives as racial hatred, xenophobia and Islamophobia."
      "If all this is proved, and Breivik is not leaving any doubts about being guided by these very motives, we believe that international cooperation must be intensified to neutralize these extremely dangerous challenges, which the international community and many European countries, in particular, are facing," Dolgov said.
      Oslo and Utoya island near the Norwegian capital were shaken by a double terror attack last Friday in which 76 people died. Anders Breivik, 32, suspected of both crimes, says he acted to save Norway and Europe from immigrants, primarily Muslims.


      Norway attacks: A view from the East
      By Andreas Umland, National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy
      Matisak's Blog, 28/07/2011

      These spectacular events often lead to biased assessments of political reality. In fact, the extreme right is weak in Western Europe. It faces firmly entrenched democracies with strong civil societies and effective rule of law. Not much to be concerned about. Much more worrying are developments in such countries as Russia, and more recently in Ukraine too. These are unstable states with fragile political regimes. Here the potential impact of the extreme right is or could be much higher. Russia, in particular, has a multifarious extremely right-wing scene. Over the last 10 years, neo-Nazi skinheads have killed hundreds of people - not even using explosives. But this has attracted much less media attention in the West.


      Russians Tend to Like U.S. But Still Prefer Europe - Poll
      Interfax, July 28, 2011

      MOSCOW. July 28 (Interfax) - The attitude of Russians toward the United States and the European Union has improved over the past few months, while the attitude toward Belarus has worsened, Levada Center told Interfax on Wednesday. The center held a nationwide poll in July.
      Fifty-nine percent of the respondents said in July that they like the United States. The indicator was 5% smaller in March, the center said.
      The number of Russians who like the EU grew from 63% to 66% in the same period, while the number of negative answers decreased from 21% to 18%.
      At the same time, 68% of Russians spoke well of Belarus in July, as opposed to 78% in May. The number of Russians who spoke ill of Belarus increased from 15% to 22%.
      The percentage of Russians who like Ukraine decreased to 65% in July. The corresponding indicators were 3% and 8% higher in March and at the beginning of the year.
      The attitude toward Georgia has not changed. Fifty percent of Russians still feel negatively about Georgia, and 37% voiced the opposite opinion.
      Fifty-seven percent of the respondents said that Russia should defend its own economic and political interests and should not interfere in the affairs of neighbors while developing relations with CIS member states.
      Eighteen percent called for support of democratic forces and progressive changes in CIS states, while 15% said that Russia should help CIS national leaders stay in office, regardless of what they were, as long as they were loyal to Russia.
      Twenty-six percent said that Russia should resist the attempts of foreign nations (the United States, China, Turkey and others) to put pressure on CIS states.

      Federal Migration Service assists Old Believers resettlement from South America
      Interfax-Religion, July 28, 2011

      Moscow, July 28, Interfax - The Federal Migration Service has assisted the resettlement of several families of Russian Old Believers from Bolivia to the Primorye Territory.
      "The Old Believers, who have never been to Russia, communicate in the language of a Siberian village, the same as their ancestors did hundreds of years ago. They strictly obey Russian customs and rites and 100-year-old traditions," says a report posted on the ministry website.
      Nine adults and 21 children came from Bolivia. They took part in the state and regional programs of assistance to voluntary resettlement of compatriots from abroad.
      "The arrival of this Old Believers group to the Primorye Territory is just the beginning. Other Russian Old Believers in Bolivia have the same plans," the service said.
      The first four families of Old Believers resettled from South America to the village of Kofrovka in the Ussuriysk District of the Primorye Territory in February 2011.
      The service told Interfax in April 2009 that about 500 Old Believers living in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil and some other South American countries had taken an interest in the resettlement program.
      Old Believers separated from the Russian Orthodox Church as a protest against church reforms introduced by Patriarch Nikon. They emigrated from Russia in the late 17th - early 18th century following the church split and the persecution of Old Believers by secular and church authorities.


      Patriarch Kirill wants Orthodox Church unity maintained
      Interfax-Religion, July 28, 2011

      Kiev, July 28, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia conducted a religious service on the square inside Kiev Monastery of the Caves on Thursday to celebrate the Day of Holy Baptism by the Apostolic Great Prince Vladimir in 988.
      Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and All Ukraine, Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of All Georgia and Metropolitan Filaret of Minsk and Slutsk helped the head of the Russian Orthodox Church conduct the service, which was attended by thousands.
      After reading the Gospel, Patriarch Kirill addressed the worshipers who were gathered on the monastery square, stressing the importance of maintaining unity within the Church.
      "If a split occurs within the Church, it does not mean that someone has been tempted by some sinful or wrongful idea, it means that love has been lost because love is the only force capable of uniting people. It means that pastoral care that comes from the head of the Church - our Lord and Savior - has been lost," he said.
      Any division inside the Church indicates "the spiritual state of people, not the strength of the church administration," Patriarch Kirill said.


      Medvedev creates new body to fight extremism
      www.russiatoday.com, July 29, 2011
      The Russian president has formed an interdepartmental commission led by the interior minister, which will be responsible for fighting extremism in Russia.

      The commission will develop measures to prevent manifestations of extremism and remove those conditions which fuel it, the presidential press service reported on Friday. The body must monitor the situation, submit proposals to the president on the formation of the state's policy in this area, and draft bills to amend the relevant legislation.
      Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliev on Friday presided over the first meeting of the commission. He recalled the tragedy that recently occurred in Norway, when a man with an extremist agenda killed dozens of people. The events in that country "have once again shown how dangerous extremist views are today, how destructive they are," Nurgaliev said.
      One of the main goals of the commission is to coordinate the activities of federal bodies and regional authorities in fighting individuals and groups who incite xenophobia or are involved in extremist activities. As the Interior Ministry will organize the work of the new body, it will also include 16 heads of other ministries and agencies from the Federal Security Service (FSB) to the Ministry of Culture.
      The Russian authorities have stepped up the fight against extremism and xenophobia after riots on Moscow's Manezhnaya Square in December of last year, when hundreds of soccer fans clashed with police. They were protesting the inaction of the police in the case of their fellow fan Yegor Sviridov, who was killed in a street brawl by natives from the North Caucasus. While soccer fans, nationalists and natives of North Caucasus tried to organize several rallies in Moscow, but their attempts were suppressed by the police.
      Since then, President Dmitry Medvedev has held several meetings of state officials which were devoted to the problem of extremism and xenophobia. In the end of December 2010, he stressed the need to create a state commission on these issues. "Inter-ethnic conflicts are lethal for Russia, no matter where they occur," Medvedev said at the joint session of the State Council and the presidential council on national projects. The president admitted that such conflicts were tense in some Russian regions.
      Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said at that time how extremists had used soccer fans as "cannon fodder." It is necessary to distinguish between those who are interested in national culture, and nationalists who speculate on national feelings, he noted.
      Last week, the prime minister met with religious leaders to discuss a problem which has clearly become tense in recent months. He said the people should be taught tolerance, adding that a governmental agency could be created to supervise the issues of inter-ethnic relations in Russia.


      "Hooliganism" or Violent Intolerance? A Comparative Look at the Problem of Hate Crime in Russia and the United States
      By Brianne E. Todd
      SRAS, 25.5.2007

      In recent years, as an important issue in foreign relations between the United States and Russia, the United States has focused on bringing attention to what it asserts is an inordinately high number of hate crimes in Russia. The US also claims that Russian authorities downplay hate crimes committed in Russia as minor criminal offenses and thus effectively discourage victims from reporting crimes.
      Indeed, there is an institutionalized attitude in Russia that would seem to encourage discrimination and intolerance. For example, in May 2006, gay rights activists organized a Gay Pride parade in Moscow to celebrate the 13th anniversary of the repeal of Article 121, which had made homosexuality illegal in Russia. The parade was intended to be a peaceful demonstration, but it turned violent when participants were beaten by protesters and arrested by police. Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov said recently that Gay Pride parades "may be acceptable for some kind of progressive, in some sense, countries in the West, but it is absolutely unacceptable for Moscow, for Russia" he added that the parades "can only be described as a satanic act."
      While Russia needs to acknowledge the societal problem of intolerance and its increasing levels of hate crime, the United States also has comparable problems. During his 2006 re-election campaign for the United States Senate, Virgina statesman George Allen used the term "macaca," an ethnic slur, in reference to a campaign worker of Indian ancestry who was working for his opponent James Webb. Accusations were also made in September 2006 that Allen had used racial slurs and demonstrated racist behavior toward African-Americans while he was in college. Allen also has an apparent affinity for displaying the Confederate flag, which is condemned by the NAACP as "a symbol of racism and hate."
      The situations involving Luzhkov and Allen demonstrate that intolerance and xenophobia are still at least partially institutionalized in Russia and the United States. This will have to be addressed in order to combat occurrences of hate crime. Russia needs to create strong legislation to punish perpetrators of hate crimes, and both countries must work on better enforcing legislation.
      What Is a Hate Crime?
      Among Russian government officials and community leaders, there is much disagreement about how define "hate crime" and in particular, how to define it apart from "hooliganism," which is roughly the Russian equivalent to a misdemeanor public disturbance charge in the US. However, "hooliganism" is much more vaguely defined in Russia and can refer to anything from vandalism to a minor assault. It is frequently used by Russian authorities to define and prosecute a range of crimes.
      One example of this is given in the "Russia Country International Religious Freedom Report 2005" released by the U.S. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor in November 2005, the Tauba mosque in Nizhny Novgorod is frequently vandalized, and in January 2005, swastikas were painted on the walls. The report states,
      "A local Islamic website said that Muslims might abandon the mosque out of fear of attack by neo-Nazis. The local Muslim Spiritual Administration has repeatedly appealed to local authorities to guard the mosque, but no measures have been taken. According to the Presidential Representative to the Volga Federal District, such acts of vandalism should be viewed as simple displays of a low level of culture, rather than national and religious extremism."
      It is exactly these types of acts, committed as a result of a "low level of culture" that are frequently termed "hooliganism." Not only does this create difficulties in collecting statistics on hate crimes, but the reluctance to clearly define "hate crime" but also creates difficulties in prosecuting and combating these offenses.
      Hate crimes are officially defined in US legislation as crimes that are "motivated by prejudice based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim." However, in order to prosecute this offense, the motivation of the crime must be proven, which is nearly always much more difficult than simply proving that the crime was committed by the defendant.
      This is not the only challenge to prosecuting hate crimes in the US. For example, according the FBI's 2005 Hate Crimes Report, 5190 hate crimes were committed directly against someone's person (compared to 3109 hate crimes involving damage to or destruction of property) and almost half of these were classified as "intimidations." Because nearly any phrase or act can be used as an "intimidation" based on rhetorical context or inflection, prosecution and punishment of these crimes must always be determined on an individual basis.
      Legislation and Statistics
      While the most common types of reported hate crimes in the United States are verbal threats and vandalism, reported hate crimes in Russia are usually physical attacks. In Russia, these seem seem to be becoming more violent and more prevalent. In March 2007, the Moscow Times reported that since the beginning of that year at least 15 people had been killed in Russia as victims of hate crimes - three times the number for the same time period in 2006. In addition, the Moscow Times reported that 67 people had been injured in hate crimes, up from the 47 during January and February in 2006. According to Galina Kozhevnikova of the Sova Center, attacks since 2006 have also shown signs of increased violence, including the use of firearms.
      In an interview with Andrei Nesterov, who now works for the School of Russian and Asian Studies, Kozhevnikova also asserted that attacks are most common in major cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg. For instance, she stated that 213 individuals were injured and 36 killed in Moscow, and 51 individuals were injured and 5 killed in St. Petersburg in 2006, according to her statistics. Kozhevnikova stated that attacks most commonly occur in the subway systems or on commuter trains because perpetrators are able escape more easily after committing the crime. Attackers also favor locations where victims can be forced into empty lots or deserted areas. According to Kozhevnikova, this type of attack frequently occurs in St. Petersburg, which abounds in enclosed courtyards. Individuals of Caucasian and Central Asian decent are the group most often targeted, but are also unlikely to report the crimes to law enforcement officials if they are in Russia illegally, which is not uncommon. Other groups that are targeted are people of African and Asian decent. According to Kozhevnikova, statistics for hate crimes committed against foreign students are unreliable because university officials often try to conceal attacks in order to maintain the universities' reputations.
      In the US, statistics regarding hate crimes have been collected since 1990, when the Hate Crime Statistics Act was enacted. This law required the United States Attorney General to create guidelines and work with Federal Bureau of Investigation and the individual states to collect data regarding hate crimes as defined in legislation. However, it was only in September 1994 that Congress amended the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 in order to make hate crimes illegal and prosecutable as such via the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. This law was also the first to add physical and mental disabilities as possible motivating factors for hate crimes.
      Other legislation currently active in the US includes the Hate Crimes Sentencing Enhancement Act of 1994, which defines "three-level sentencing guidelines" to complement regulations created by the states and thus increase penalties for those who commit hate crimes. The Church Arson Prevention Act of 1996 and the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 1999 further increased federal jurisdiction over the enforcement of hate crime laws and the prosecution of hate crimes with expanded resources and funding.
      Despite the amount of legislation, resources, and funding, statistical reporting is problematic in the US. First, the most recent statistics available are from 2005. The FBI and Department of Justice have yet to publish the 2006 Hate Crimes Report. The Anti-Defamation League in the US has also charged that the 2005 Hate Crimes Report is misleading because several cities and states did not participate. For example, no data was presented for New York City or Phoenix, two of the ten largest cities in the United States. Hawaii did not participate in the data collection program, and Mississippi and Alabama, where race relations have been historically strained and where hate crime rates might be expected to be high, reported no crimes at all.
      Figures reported in another report, Hate Crimes Reported by Victims and Police, compiled by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and released in November of 2005, may also indicate that the numbers reported by the FBI are inaccurate. If both the 1992 Hate Crimes Statistics Report from the FBI and 2005 report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics are correct, then hate crimes in the United States rose a surprising 19 to 31 times in the period from 1992-2005 - to a grand total of 191,000. The Bureau of Justice Statistics based their report on several years of raw survey data from the biannual National Crime Victimization Survey, which directly polls victims of crimes and considered by many crime experts to be more accurate than the system used by the FBI. The FBI uses the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program, which collects and compiles statistical reports from local and state law enforcement agencies. Although more agencies now participate in the UCR program than when it was started in 1990, involvement remains voluntary and irregular.
      It is also widely acknowledged that hate crimes in the US, as in Russia, are under reported due to immigration issues. Hispanics are a targeted group in the US. According to FBI statistics, in 2005, Hispanics accounted for 7.3% of all hate crime victims. Furthermore, based on a population survey conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center in March 2005, there were 11.1 million illegal immigrants living in the United States at that time, the majority of which are Hispanic. It can be safely assumed that at least some of these illegal immigrants have been the victims of hate crimes and have declined to report them for fear of deportation.
      The Russian Criminal Code contains several articles which can be interpreted to relate to the concept hate crimes, although the actual concept itself is not defined within Russian legislation. Article 282 forbids "incitement to hatred [or] dissemination of racist ideas" and Article 282(2) defines penalties for organizations found to be "extremist." Article 105 specifically forbids "murder motivated by national, racial, or religious hatred" and Article 357 is designed to prevent the crime of genocide. Article 244 specifically forbids "destruction of places of burial," which can be an attack based on religion. However, several of these offenses can also be classed as "hooliganism" and the perpetrators rarely receive any meaningful punishment. For example, in January 2005, two teenagers were arrested for desecrating ten tombs in the Donskoye Muslim cemetery in Moscow. The perpetrators were charged with hooliganism, but subsequently released without prosecution under this charge or the more serious charge defined by Article 244.
      Prospects for the Future
      Effective prevention of hate crimes will also likely remain difficult in both countries so long as public leaders such as Mayor Yuri Luzhkov and Senator George Allen continue to make intolerant statements and thus perpetuate the ideology that motivates hate crimes.
      Russia faces the further challenge of an apparently growing problem, with no legislation to define, prevent, or even create official statistics to combat the problem. There is currently no known draft bills or proposed laws in Russia dedicated to this purpose. Meanwhile, the US Congress has attempted to pass other hate crime-related legislation within the last five years. Most of the bills have died in Congressional committees, but more bills are still being introduced.
      As a foreign policy issue, the US is justified in pointing out the high numbers of hate crimes occurring in Russia and the lack of legislation and enforcement to prevent these crimes. With the specific goals of helping Russia improve its image abroad, its demographic situation, and to bring justice to the victims of intolerance in Russia, Russia must be pressured to improve its record on this issue. However, problems surrounding hate crimes and intolerance exist in both countries and the US should not lose sight of this in its domestic policy assessments either.
      (Brianne Todd holds a BA in Political Science from The University of Notre Dame. She has previously served an internship with the US Embassy in Moscow and conducted independent research into the subject of community policing in Russia. She wrote the following article at the request of SRAS while in Russia over the spring semester of 2007, where she focused her studies on the Russian language.)


      A Visit to Seliger 2010: Examining Shifts in Russian Nationalism
      By: Ken Martinez
      Center for Strategic and International Studies, Jul 20, 2010

      Cultivating young entrepreneurs and leaders in science, business and technology is a priority for the Medvedev Administration and an important part of the strategy to wean Russia from its dependence on oil, but no less important is the international dimension of this diversification. Russia sorely needs to prove that it is a capable country, both worthy of and friendly to investment. With these goals in mind, the Kremlin has initiated a shift in the focus of a camp held each year on the banks of Lake Seliger, several hours outside of Moscow. As a graduate of Stanford University, I was invited to visit Camp Seliger. This year's iteration of the camp was designed with the aim of developing young leaders of tomorrow's Russia, fostering innovation, and entrepreneurialism with cross-cultural communication and exchanges driving the agenda.
      However, the idea of grouping the most talented young minds in Russia with their international counterparts at a campsite created to respond to Putin's call for greater national identity among Russians is curious. Since 2005, the camp at Lake Seliger has been sponsored by Nashi [1], a pro-Kremlin youth movement created in the wake of the "color" revolutions in which groups of active youth played an important role. Although Nashi is no longer the main sponsor of the camp, it is still behind its organization. Vasiliy Yakemenko, Nashi's founder, is at the head of the Seliger project. 30-foot tall portraits of the country's president and prime minister flank the main event stages at the camp, and inspiring phrases by the leaders accompanied by larger than life photos overpower the tents throughout the camp. Some of the more interesting sights in the camp included a 20-foot tall oil derrick protruding from black water, enormous mirror-sheathed block letters spelling out "Russia" and an eternal flame guarded in one-hour shifts by solemn stone-faced youths. Unfortunately, I never found out whether or not international students were required to take their turn at this patriotic post as well.
      The key difference this year is the opening of the camp to international students, invited as a corollary to Russia's outreach to international partners. As an attendee with previous Russia exposure, it was interesting to solicit the opinions of foreign visitors from countries other than the US. Most foreign students seem to have enjoyed the camp, giving high ratings to the lecture series and other events. However, many of the international participants were unaware of the camp's history, expressing surprise [2] that the president and prime minister's images were emblazoned on official tents and other highly visible and prominent places. Why has this shift occurred at Seliger?
      It is easy to criticize the camp as a disingenuous attempt to export Russian nationalism or improve its international standing. While an image boost is certainly a factor in the calculation, Seliger could be seen to represent a genuine push for integration with the rest of the world. Russia has many incentives to pursue such an agenda. In Russia, the economic situation during the recent crisis was worse than in any other G-20 nation, a result exacerbated by the accompanying drop in oil prices and Russia's overreliance on hydrocarbons. Russian leadership is beginning to realize that diversification away from this commodity is essential, and new projects are gaining momentum. The current version of the Seliger camp is one example.
      In this internationalized context, the association with Nashi leaves a mixed legacy. On the one hand, the nationalist links are disettling and may act as a repellant, but on the other hand it may aid in advertising to international participants that Russia is a strong country with a bright future. As Russia desperately attempts to combat "brain-drain," this message is certainly intended to impress the Russian attendees as well. While association with Nashi may be hard to stomach, the message of the camp seems to be relatively benign and focused mostly on improving the perception of Russia on the world stage.
      The success of Russia's vision for camp Seliger 2010 is difficult to assess, but signs indicate that at least the political will to increase international ties and cooperation exists. During his trip to Seliger, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev met with a group of foreign students, speaking with representatives of the Stanford U.S.-Russia Forum [3] who invited him to speak at a conference that will be held in Moscow this year. Moving forward, international exchanges such as Seliger and the Stanford Forum will be critical platforms upon which to build future success; despite numerous challenges, these opportunities should be encouraged and supported as Russia continues to grow and become a member of the international community.
      [1] http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/08/world/europe/08moscow.html?_r=2
      [2] http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/800-foreign-youth-flock-to-seliger-camp/410051.html
      [3] http://creees.stanford.edu/surf/
      [4] http://csis.org/program/russia-and-eurasia-blog


      Russian TV show profiles anarchists, youth movements
      RenTV, BBC Monitoring, July 3, 2011

      The 3 July edition of Reporters' Stories (Reporterskiye Istorii) programme on privately-owned Ren TV has combined two in-depth reports in a single hour-long programme. The first was titled "Enemies of the State" (in Russian the expression is also used as translation of "public enemy") and presented by Roman Super who said that anarchists are presented by the media as "a new image of Russia's enemies". The second, presented by Vyacheslav Guz and titled "Party Gold", focused on the various political youth movements and their funding sources.
      The report on anarchists showed amateur footage of an explosion at a traffic police building on Moscow's ring road in June, police at the scene, stills of expensive cars damaged in other explosions and blog posts in which anarchists claimed responsibility for the blasts. There were also interviews with anonymous and masked-up activists who discussed using paintbombs against corporate targets, their lifestyle and ideology, with reporter Andrey Loshak who said that "anarchism is a very natural state of mind in Russia", and with activist Vlad Tupikin who highlighted senior One Russia member Andrey Isayev's anarchist past. Farmer Mikhail Shlyapnikov was interviewed discussing ousting authorities in his Moscow Region village of Kolionovo and self-organization efforts around volunteer movements.
      Activist Petya Kosovo, who fled abroad after the 2010 attack on the Khimki town hall, was shown performing with a band in Berlin, as was an interview with another activist accused of participation in the attack, Aleksey Gaskarov, who discussed charges against him.
      The involvement of the Antifa Anti-fascist movement in the attack on the Khimki town hall was also highlighted in Guz's report on youth movements. Gaskarov and a fellow antifascist, Maksim Solopov, were interviewed, saying that people distrust established political structures. Amateur footage of recent clashes in the Khimki forest between environmentalists and security guards was shown, with presenter noting that such online videos "momentarily reach the top of virtual mass media".
      Several nationalist groups were also profiled. Russians (Russ: Russkiye) co-founder and former Movement Against Illegal Immigration (DPNI) leader Aleksandr Belov was interviewed describing repressions against businessmen who sponsor "Russian national organizations". Investment into holding the 2010's nationalist Russian March amounted to R170,000 (about 6,000 dollars).
      Other groups profiled were Russian Image (Russ: Russkiy Obraz), whose chairman Aleksey Mikhaylov was interviewed saying that they prefer a healthy lifestyle to politicking, and nationalists participating in the "Russian runs" in Moscow, whose organizer Sergey Kravtsov said that they were supposed to improve the tarnished image of ethnic Russians as drunken yobs. Kravtsov, who was previously a member of the pro-Kremlin youth group Nashi, said that he found camaraderie in the nationalist movement.
      The New Times reporter Diana Khachatryan, commenting on her experience of undercover reporting on the group, described Nashi as "a social lift" for ambitious youngsters. Her colleague at The New Times, Aleksandr Yermolin, said that annual funding for Nashi amounted to R1bn, while journalist Yuliya Latynina said that funding for Nashi was more than that. "They use the movement to get funding," she noted. State Duma deputy Gennadiy Gudkov (A Just Russia) described a Nashi rally with 16,000 to 18,000 participants that he witnessed, adding that "every minute of such an event costs over R1m". Nashi leader Nikita Borovikov was interviewed on the movement's anti-corruption programme, and President Dmitriy Medvedev was shown inspecting the movement's camp in Seliger.
      Another pro-Kremlin group, One Russia's Young Guard, was described by the presenter as less out-there in its actions than Nashi. They have between 100 and 2,000 volunteers in each constituent part of the Russian Federation, presenter said. Young Guard leader Timur Prokopenko was interviewed saying that they do not get any funding from abroad unlike groups aiming to "destabilize" Russia. Yet another group of Kremlin loyalists, Young Russia (Russ: Rossiya Molodaya) was shown protesting outside Finnish embassy in Moscow against the Islamist Kavkaz-center website being hosted in Finland. Young Russia's leader Anton Demidov was interviewed saying that they can get about 1,000 people out for a major event such as collecting blood in Moscow's Triumfalnaya Ploshchad (square).
      Members of the opposition group the Other Russia, including the leader of its Moscow branch Nikolay Avdyushenkov, were shown participating in the Strategy-31 freedom of assembly rally in Triumfalnaya Ploshchad. An Other Russia activist only captioned by her first name, Alena, was interviewed saying that suggestions about foreign funding were laughable.
      A Just Russia's youth wing, Young Socialists of Russia (Russ: Molodyye Sotsialisty Rossii), was also profiled. Its leader Dmitriy Gudkov said that "there is no need for much funding to run a youth movement" but he acknowledged his father Gennadiy Gudkov's help in getting an office.
      Finally, Novosibirsk-based artist Artem Loskutov described the "monstrations" he helped organize in the city without explicit affiliation with any political groups as an attempt "to reflect our absurd reality" and as a "reaction to existing forms of public politics".

      A Slippery Slope: Russification in the broad sense, including economic, sociopolitical and other aspects, poses a threat not only to those societies which are targeted in general but also every individual member of that society
      By Rostyslav Pavlenko
      The Ukrainian Week, July 5, 2011

      The greatest danger comes directly from the foundation on which the ideas Russia is imposing on its neighbors are based. They are being advanced by appealing to the base instincts in the human psyche. This leads to degradation, both personal and societal. Degenerate people, to say nothing of society, are incapable of breakthroughs, economic miracles or prosperity.
      First, the "special way" proposed by Russia has never been clearly stated. Its main versions boil down to the claim that "Russian civilization" is different from the civilization of Western Europe and adherents to the idea of the "Russian world" should detest all things Western and admire whatever is Russian, "ancient" and "ours." This love has to be unconditional to boot - we have a deal here with the common juxtaposition of what is "ours" and what is "alien." It also involves cultivating the "gang spirit" and suppressing dissent, which inevitably leads to stagnation. Moreover, sneers at the West and its rational approach to life and the principle of individual responsibility for one's own future lead to condoning laziness and consumerism: having no plan in life and hoping only for a lucky break while drowning failure in alcohol, blaming internal and external enemies for every problem and so on. Given this attitude, which has been celebrated in Russian mass culture, it is no wonder that the average standard of living in Russia's satellite countries and, in fact in provinces within Russia itself, is so low.
      Second, goals that are clear and acceptable to the majority of people, such as creating favorable conditions for individual fulfillment and prosperity, have been constantly replaced by an artificial fetish almost since the very first days of the Muscovite state -"the Third Rome," "worldwide revolution," "bright communist future," "a rising Russia that is to be feared" and so on. These fetishes are used to justify "temporary hardships." In the name of high goals, autocrats can demand patience from the people in the face of arbitrary rule, an inefficient economy and the enrichment of a small circle of those who "think for all of us." Crackdowns on the opposition can then be rationalized not as punishment for a desire to change something in the country but as removing an obstacle on the way to universal happiness. This again guarantees stagnation and a lack of initiative. Moreover, the Great Goal justifies perilous and impracticable projects like "small victorious wars" which destroy those of all nations that have allowed Russia to pull them to itself closer than comfortable.
      Third, the traditional construct of the Russian government as an authoritarian, hierarchical system leads it to reject any initiative coming "from the bottom up." The Russian state apparatus has a kind of inherent "historical fear" of democracy. Attempts to at least expose the hidden ruling caste and make it face the people led to the breakup of the empire: after Godunov in the Time of Troubles, after the Russian Provisional Government in 1917 and after Gorbachev and Yeltsin in 1991. Therefore, the government has stamped out initiative for the purposes of prevention, while active and ambitious people have either been hired by the government, repressed or forced to emigrate. Those remaining must be fully obedient to authorities. Moreover, this approach has something that attracts people with little or no initiative: someone else will think and make decisions for them and, if possible, provide them with a bearable living.
      Therefore, countries and societies literally slide into the "Russian world," losing opportunities to develop and turning into resource-supplying appendages to the ambitions of the Russian leadership. However, a nation can get off this slippery slope. If we compare countries with varying degrees of Russification, we will see a clear pattern: the freer the local elites and society in general are of Russian influence, the greater progress their country has made in terms of economic development and the standard of living. After Georgia gathered strength and carried out reforms, it left Belarus and Ukraine far behind. Estonia and Lithuania, which consistently resisted the interference of Russian factors in their domestic affairs, are now more stable than Latvia, which has perhaps suffered the most from the economic crisis and is now in political turmoil caused by oligarchs linked to Russia.
      In order to move off this slope, a nation needs to find an answer to each decoy of Russification, an answer that will help it overcome both financial and spiritual poverty. Is there a lack of jobs, and are there citizens with lack of initiative? Simplify conditions for launching and developing business, introduce training and provide loans on preferential terms to those who are ready to start their own business. Is Russia's mass culture making a cult of drunkards and loafers and vilifying your history? Support national cultural products and tighten regulations regarding the use of your official language. Is Russia's business taking over enterprises with the help of local bureaucrats? Introduce transparent privatization competitions. Are paid "agents of influence" creating news and power scandals? Force security agencies to work for your own, rather than a neighboring, state. Is the economy going into the hands of oligarchs? Split their empires, demonopolize the economy and provide real support to small and medium business.
      The recipes are not new, but they work. We only need to understand that if we fail to act on them, we will sink into the "Russian world." It will be hard and complicated to free ourselves later - and those who will allow it to happen will not live to see freedom.


      Putin kicks off campaign to lionise a ruthless predecessor
      By Shaun Walker in Moscow
      The Independent, 15 July 2011

      Vladimir Putin has launched a programme to lionise Pyotr Stolypin, a Tsarist-era Russian prime minister who was known for his ruthless methods. Monuments will be built to the statesman to celebrate the 150th anniversary of his birth and streets and even a university will be renamed after him.
      Mr Putin told ministers they should donate a month's salary to help build the monument planned for Moscow.
      Stolypin was prime minister of Russia under the last Tsar, Nicholas II, and Mr Putin wants to revive public admiration of him after decades of Soviet disdain for anything related to Tsarist politics.
      Stolypin tried to implement a series of social reforms, but at the same time was a staunch political conservative and cracked down on the left-wing revolutionaries who wanted to bring down the Tsarist autocracy.
      His reputation was so fearsome that the hangman's noose became known as "Stolypin's necktie" due to the hundreds of opponents that were executed during his rule.
      Stolypin was assassinated during a visit to the opera in 1911, just six years before the Tsar was toppled and the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, came to power. "The head of government had to exhibit an iron will, personal courage and an ability to accept the burden of responsibility for the situation in the country," Mr Putin said this week.
      Stolypin understood that "various sorts of radicalism as well as standing in one place, rejecting change and needed reforms equally threaten the country," Mr Putin said. His language on Stolypin was similar to the way he has talked about his own role in modern Russia - supporting gradual reform but unwilling to democratise too quickly and dismissing liberal criticisms.
      Mr Putin spent eight years as president of Russia. But due to a two-term constitutional limit, he stepped aside for Dmitry Medvedev in 2008 and became Prime Minister.
      Although technically subservient to the presidency, Mr Putin is still regarded as the most powerful political figure in Russia.
      Russian bloggers suggested this discrepancy might be behind Mr Putin's decision to praise Stolypin.
      But by the time of the anniversary, Mr Putin could be on his way back to the Kremlin anyway - many expect him to stand for re-election to the presidency in elections early next year.


      In Another Blow to Russia's Democracy
      By Dmitry Babich
      Russia Profile, July 18, 2011

      Reading your friends' columns is a potentially dangerous pastime. Especially if your friend is a foreign journalist. You always have to walk the tight rope balancing between a desire to expose his or her penchant for stereotypes about Russia and insincere compliments.
      The problem is made worse by a strange tendency among both foreign and Russian journalists in Moscow: the staunchest critics of Russian state among them tend to be hypersensitive to any criticism of their own writings. I knew one such journalist whose all stories started with a refrain "In another blow to Russia's democracy." He broke his tradition only once in a published response to an angry blog about his writings. This time, the story started with a somewhat more promising "In another feat of Kremlin-inspired Nashi-like "patriotic" fury..."
      So, it is with a rather grave feeling that I subject to my humble scrutiny a story by my friend and former Russia Profile colleague, Shaun Walker. My only hope is that my modest historical observations will be a useful footnote to one of his Moscow reports in The Independent. And if they are not or in a feat of Solzhenitsyn-like (but, by Jove, not Kremlin-inspired!) patriotic zeal I hurt any one of Shaun's delicate feelings, let all of my so called doubts end up in the vortex of oblivion.
      Now to business. In his report from Moscow published in The Independent and headlined "Putin Kicks off Campaign to Lionize a Ruthless Predecessor," [DJ: JRL #2011-126 15 July 2011] Shaun Walker informs us that "Putin has launched a program to lionise Pyotr Stolypin, a Tsarist-era Russian prime-minister who was known for his ruthless methods." Well, Stolypin was known also for something else. And Shaun grudgingly admits it a few lines further, saying that Stolypin "tried to implement a series of social reforms, but at the same time was a staunch political conservative and cracked down on the left-wing revolutionaries who wanted to bring down the Tsarist autocracy."
      The facts are true, but since certain important details are not included in this passage, it is only half true. First, Stolypin not only tried, but implemented several reforms which modernized Russia. Thanks to him, 3 million Russian farmers got plots of land in Siberia, thus moving Russian colonization of this territory much further than during the whole Soviet period, which barely managed to keep 10 million people (out of the Soviet Union's 250 million) living in the vast territory bordering the Pacific ocean. Second, the poor left-wing revolutionaries of 1905-1907 wanted something more than to "bring down the Tsarist autocracy." They wanted to kill and to rob and they did it with much success until Stolypin became the minister of the interior in April 1906. Nowadays, historians agree that the revolution of 1905-1907 was an abortive attempt to seize power by the same forces that brought about the October revolution of 1917 the biggest misfortune of the 20th century, whatever the intentions of its various participants. It was thanks to Stolypin that the Russia and the Western world didn't have to face someone like Lenin 10 years earlier than it was scheduled by fate in 1907 instead of the actual 1917. Lenin knew it full well, and this is precisely the reason why Lenin called Stolypin "a master of hanging, an organizer of pogroms, the head of the counterrevolution" (quotes from Lenin's article "Stolypin and Revolution," 1911).
      Surprisingly, it is from Lenin that Shaun borrows the terms for his further description of Stolypin: "His reputation was so fearsome that the hangman's noose became known as Stolypin's necktie due to the hundreds of opponents that were executed during his rule."
      Again, only a half-truth. One should add that there were thousands of innocent people killed by the revolutionaries (not just opponents!) in 1905-1907. There were also hundreds of state officials and policemen, killed simply because of their status. When Stolypin reported to the first Russian parliament (State Duma) that the 90 revolutionaries executed in 1906 were guilty of terrori<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
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