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Bulletin 5:29 (2011)

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  • Andreas Umland
    THE RUSSIAN NATIONALISM BULLETIN A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs Vol. 5, No. 29(150), 14 November 2011 Compilers: Scott Littlefield & Andreas Umland
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 14, 2011
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      THE RUSSIAN NATIONALISM BULLETIN
      A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs
      Vol. 5, No. 29(150), 14 November 2011
      Compilers: Scott Littlefield & Andreas Umland

      I NEWS: 15 - 31 October 2011
      II SURVEYS, ANALYSES, COMMENTS
      III PRIMARY SOURCES

      [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 - 31 October 2011

      Russia's Medvedev warns against use of nationalist card in election
      Zvezda TV, October, 17, 2011, BBC Monitoring

      (Presenter) (Russian President) Dmitriy Medvedev has called the use of nationalist slogans during the election campaign unacceptable. During a meeting with the leadership of the Federation Council, the president noted that xenophobia is a big problem not only for Russia but also for many other countries. Interethnic relations become strained when life becomes more difficult. It is a consequence of the global economic crisis and some are trying to use this for their political aims.
      (Medvedev) At present it is a very busy period in our country: the campaign for the State Duma election is taking place and then there will be the presidential campaign. All political forces are obliged to refrain from using the nationalist card and fanning xenophobic sentiments. And not only voluntarily. The use of the nationalist card and fanning interethnic conflicts and religious discord are crimes as well. And even if it is committed during the election campaign, it will be given the appropriate legal assessment, without reductions for democracy or freedom of speech. It is necessary to fight this.
      ---

      Medvedev backs voluntary ban on use of nationalism theme in elections
      Vestnik Kavkaza, 17 October 2011

      Russian President Dmitry Medvedev supports a voluntary moratorium on the use of the national theme for pre-electoral campaigning and warned that xenophobic attitude will be punished according to the law, ITAR-TASS reports.
      Medvedev noted that xenophobia is a big problem indeed, not only for Russia but also for a wide range of states. Xenophobic attitude gets worse during complicated historic periods. Modern life has become more complicated due to major economic problems. People tend to blame immigrants without reason.
      The president clarified that discontent is justfully caused by immigrants violating local laws and sticking to their traditions instead. He expressed support for the view of Ilyas Umakhanov, Vice-Speaker of the Federation Council, who had offered a voluntary ban for use of nationalistic slogans.
      Umakhanov said that xenophobic attitude and intolerance in the society are high. Some may try to improve their rating. It would be nice to declare such moratorium.

      http://vestnikkavkaza.net/news/politics/18976.html
      ----

      Russian pundit chides Medvedev over call against nationalist slogans
      Rossiya 24 , October 18, 2011, BBC Monitoring

      Natalya Narochnitskaya, head of Russia's Paris-based Institute of Democracy and Cooperation, has chided President Dmitriy Medvedev over his call against the use of nationalist slogans. In an interview with state-owned news channel Rossiya 24, she said that as a "big Internet user" Medvedev should be aware that nationalist sentiments had reached "boiling point".
      Narochnitskaya was invited to Rossiya 24 studios to speak about the newly setup Russian Civil Movement, of which she is one of the founders. She said that the goal of the movement was to achieve "self-organization of the Russian people" and "the awakening in them of the energy" that helped Russia expand to the Pacific Ocean.
      What about Medvedev's "call not to speculate over the ethnic question, particularly in the pre-election period", the host asked.
      "Medvedev is a big Internet user and hence he should realize perfectly well that these ideas have brought society to boiling point," responded Narochnitskaya.
      She described Russians as humiliated and oppressed in their own home and said that modernization wouldn't happen for as long as the Russian people remained in the "current state of decline".
      "We are not against anyone at all. We know what we stand for. We want Russian people to calm down and be confident that Russia cannot be without Russians. This is an absolute fact. The authorities too should understand this well," she said.
      Narochnitskaya said that "our task is to demarginalize this issue".
      Medvedev spoke against the use of "the nationalist card and fanning xenophobic sentiments" during a meeting with senior members of the Federation Council on 17 October
      ----

      Putin made a super power of Russia, head of the North Caucasus Muftis believes
      Interfax, October 19, 2011

      Moscow, October 19, Interfax - Head of the Muslim Coordinating Center for North Caucasus Ismail Berdiev gave a high appraisal to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's work for the country.
      "There was anarchy during perestroika - Gorbachov's times, Yeltsin's times. We shouldn't speak ill of the late. I want to say thank you to Yeltsin for not running for the third term and for finding a person who has made Russia a great super power similar to the Soviet Union. It is Putin Vladimir Vladimirovich," Berdiev said at a bilateral meeting of Russian and Kazakhstan theologians in Moscow.
      He urged "not to forget about it."
      "A person is created like this - it is a protective reaction of his organism - he forgets both good and bad as the time goes by. But we shouldn't forget it," the mufti said.
      According to him, "we should be proud of the good we have, protect it and multiply."
      ------

      Russians will survive only if they become a nation of God-bearers - Rogozin
      Interfax-Religion, October 20, 2011

      Moscow, October 20, Interfax - Special Envoy of the Russian President for Interaction with NATO Dmitry Rogozin believes Russia will stop existing if its citizens lose their spiritual roots.
      "I know one thing: Russian nation can survive only if it stops being a crowd of ivans the forgetful and, secondly, if this nation becomes nation of God-bearers as they used to say, that is to bear God in them, to believe," Rogozin said in his conversation with head of Synodal Department for Interaction with Armed Forces and Law Enforcement Agencies Archpriest Dimitry Smirnov in frame of the priest's programs posted at his videoblog.
      The politician reminded that he was involved in releasing hostages in Chechnya in 1996-99 and from their stories made a conclusion that only those survived who "managed to be dignified, who kept God in them," and all these people were Orthodox believers and "they knew the most important thing about them - they kept the faith."
      According to him, one of the hostages, a 72-year old man, told him that he spent 14 months in a hole under a residential house.
      "He told that he survived only because he asked to find Gospels for him, and when these criminals, call them beasts, saw that he is a believer they saved his life. And they killed all those who lost God, who kneeled down before them," Rogozin said.

      http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=8812
      -----

      Moscow Court Convicts neo-Nazi "Fly"
      SOVA Center, 21 October 2011

      On September 30, the Savyolovsky District Court in Moscow ruled in its case against neo-Nazi Anton Mukhachev, who is known by the nom de guerre "Fly." He stood accused of the formation of an extremist society (Part 1 of Article 282.1 of the Criminal Code) and fraud (Parts 3 and 4 of Article 159 of the Criminal Code).� The trial was held in a closed session, an increasingly common occurrence in higher-profile trials of neo-Nazis in Russia.�
      According to investigators, Mukhachev and three known accomplices - as well as "other unknown persons" - formed the ultra-right Northern Brotherhood, an organization whose website was deemed extremist in March 2008.�
      Earlier, in October 2007, the group created an Internet project entitled "The Big Game: Smash the System," which was deemed extremist in January 2010.�
      The "Big Game" was arranged similarly to other computer games. The action became more complicated from level to level, with activities ranging from drawing neo-Nazi graffiti to threatening law enforcement officers, judges, bureaucrats, etc. with physical harm. As the player passed through subsequent levels, he would be able to publish recipes for explosives and disseminate videos simulating the murders of people of non-Slavic appearance. Several participants in the game were convicted in the ruling.
      In addition to his ultranationalist activities, Mukhachev was convicted of four counts of fraud committed in relation to his duties as general director of the Kudinovo Trade House, LLC.
      He will serve nine years in a penal colony.
      Earlier, criminal proceedings were brought against one of Mukhachev's named accomplices, Oleg Troshkin. Two other accomplices are on the run, while a fourth sought political asylum in Ukraine in 2009.
      Mukhachev's wife Olga Kasyanenko - a leader of the neo-Nazi Red Blitzkreig group who is known as "Matilda Don" in ultranationalist circles - is accused of public appeals for extremist activity (Part 1 of Article 280 of the Criminal Code) and the public justification of terrorism (Article 205-2 of the Criminal Code) in a case filed in May of this year.

      http://www.sova-center.ru/en/xenophobia/news-releases/2011/10/d22824/
      ---------------

      Gay activists detained in Moscow for holding anti-American rally
      Interfax-Religion, October 24, 2011

      Moscow, October 24, Interfax - Activists defending the rights of gays, lesbians and transsexuals were detained in Moscow on Saturday when they were holding an unauthorized protest rally near the Health Ministry building.
      They were protesting American doctors' plans to enter gender dysphoria on the international list of diseases to be adopted in 2015, a source in law enforcement services told Interfax.
      Gender dysphoria is a condition when a person has gender identity problems, which arouses the feeling of discomfort. This condition was not considered a pathology until recently, but the association of American psychiatrists proposed in 2009 that gender dysphoria be entered on the list of psychiatric disorders, which sparked protests throughout the world. Russian gays, lesbians and transsexuals joined them this year.
      Gay activists applied for holding the protest rally in early October, but their application was rejected. "An action of this kind in public places with citizens' unrestricted access may incite a negative reaction, breach public peace and provoke violence against protestors," Moscow officials said.
      The picketers gathered at the Health Ministry, however, and were immediately detained.
      Charges of committing an administrative offence were brought against five of them. They will appear before a justice of the peace on October 29, who will pass a sentence on them.
      The source did not say how many activists took part in the protest rally.

      http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=8816
      ------

      Russian activists decry failure to denounce Stalin
      AP, October 26, 2011

      (AP) Russian state-controlled media must stop whitewashing Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's image, and the government should take a stand on his crimes, human rights activists and historians said Wednesday.
      Nearly 60 years after his death, Stalin remains a divisive figure in Russian society, with some crediting him with leading the nation to victory in World War II and turning it into a superpower, and others condemning him for purges that killed millions of people.
      Russia's state-run TV stations have recently turned Stalin's name into a favorable brand, thanks to "very talentedly executed propaganda," Alexander Drozdov, director of the Boris Yeltsin Center, said at a news conference.
      Nationwide, television stations have aired many movies and programs casting Stalin in a positive light.
      He was voted as Russia's third-greatest historical figure in a prime-time show in 2008, garnering more than 519,000 votes. Recent polls have shown that from one-third to one-half of Russians have a decidedly or at least a mildly positive view of Stalin.
      Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who served as president in 2000-2008 and is all but certain to reclaim the top job in March's election, has avoided open public praise or criticism of Stalin. But his opponents have accused the government of burnishing Stalin's image as part of its efforts to justify its own retreat from democracy.
      Stalin critics have been outraged by a high school textbook that describes the dictator as "an efficient manager" and by a restored Moscow subway station that includes old Soviet national anthem lyrics praising the dictator in its interior decoration.
      Stalin led the Soviet Union from 1924 until his death in 1953. During that time, millions of people died in political purges and in prison camps. Countless others were deported or exiled to remote areas.
      Vladimir Lukin, Russia's human rights ombudsman, decried any attempt to give Stalin credit for the economic growth of the 1930s.
      "Thanks to heroic efforts and a total disregard for humanity, our country managed to evolve from a backward agrarian country into a backward industrial one during the Stalin era," Lukin said.
      Arseny Roginsky, head of the Memorial rights group, said the least the Russian government can do now is "give a legal appraisal to the crimes of the Soviet regime." Roginsky's group has offered a comprehensive package to help raise public awareness of Stalin's crimes, including suggestions for school curriculums.
      Andrei Sorokin, director of the Russian State Archives of Social and Political History, warned that Russia will have no future if it fails to assess its difficult past.
      "Russian society has been living in a crisis of public consciousness for the past 25 years," he said.
      "Any forward movement or attempts to modernize Russia will fail if we don't work out a consensus on our attitudes toward the Soviet past."
      -----

      Encroaching Islam sparks rising Russian nationalism Ethnic division could upset Putin campaign to be president
      WND Exclusive FROM JOSEPH FARAH'S G2 BULLETIN, 29 October 2011

      Editor's Note: The following report is excerpted from Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin, the premium online newsletter published by the founder of WND.
      WASHINGTON - Encroaching Islam brought to life in recent Chechen terrorist attacks in Russia have prompted a new wave of Russian nationalism that could complicate Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's campaign to become president next year, according to a report from Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.
      The issue is the growing sentiment that Russian support to Chechnya and other provinces in the North Caucusus where there is a rising Muslim Islamist militancy should be cut off.
      Putin opposes such a notion, and his opponents could use the rising nationalistic sentiments to undermine his candidacy.
      The recent wave of Russian nationalism appeared during the recent court case of Aslan Cherkesov of Kabardino-Balkaria, one of the southern Russian provinces in the North Caucasus that is experiencing increased Islamic militancy attacks.
      Cherkesov was involved in a brawl last December in Moscow between fans of the Moscow soccer club FC Spartak and migrants from the North Caucasus. Cherkesov allegedly killed a Spartak fan with a legally owned rubber bullet pistol. Last week, a court found Cherkesov guilty of premeditated murder.
      Five other Caucasians, as they are called, were convicted of "hooliganism." The prosecutor has called for Cherkesov to spend 23 years in a strict security prison and for the five "hooligans" to be sentenced to eight years.
      Sources say that the unusually harsh sentences were an effort by Russian authorities to quell nationalistic rioting against minorities. At the same time, the penalties reflect the ethnic Russians strong distaste by for anything from the Caucasus.
      Recent polling in Russia shows the rising influence of nationalism. According to published reports, 47 percent of Russians believe the main source of nationalism is "the outrageous behavior of representatives of other ethnicities."
      A nationalistic protest held in Moscow last week under the slogan of "Stop Feeding the Caucasus" underscored the Russians' growing opposition to pouring billions of rubles into the North Caucasus.
      They also object to the billions of rubles going into building European-style mountain ski resorts in a region subject to continuing Islamist insurgency. As the Russians prepare for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, in the North Caucasus, there are growing demands to halt the buildup.

      http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=361453#ixzz1dgTWDBzN
      -----------------

      Ombudsman: Russia Should Pay Proper Tribute to Victims of Repressions
      Ekho Moskvy Radio, October 29, 2011-BBC Monitoring

      Moscow Ekho Moskvy Radio in Russian at 0803 GMT on 29 October reported that Russian ombudsman Vladimir Lukin has said that the scale of political repressions of the 1930s or the tragedy of Gulag labor camps have not been perceived on the all-Russia level. He was speaking at a rally at the monument to victims of political repressions, Solovetskiy Stone, in central Moscow, as carried by Gazprom-owned.
      "I'm sure that there are many people in the higher echelons of power who are well aware of the scale of this tragedy in our past. I remember when Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin was president, I was urging him to visit the Butovo shooting range (where thousands of people were shot dead in the 1930s). He was extremely moved when he saw it all and said: The highers-up are a different matter, but what have rank-and-file people done (to deserve this)! I think that many people understand this. The problem is that this understanding should be transformed into state and national memory. It is here where we come across serious problems. A rally like this is very important but a museum in memory of victims should be set up. There are many museums that pay tribute to heroes of the (Great) Patriotic war (part of World War Two that the USSR led against Nazi Germany in 1941-1945), while the number of people who died (in repressions) is not smaller," he told Ekho Moskvy.�
      ----

      Become prisoner by choice
      www.russiatoday.com, October 31, 2011

      Not for the fainthearted, one of Stalin's notorious labor camps in Siberia has once more opened its doors.
      The open-air facility in Russia's Kemerovo region offers visitors a firsthand experience of the terrifying conditions in the Gulag.
      Those opting for maximum authenticity can put on inmates' uniforms, get a prison tattoo and spend several hours locked up in a cell.
      The tattoo is temporary, but visitors' impressions of this unusual museum are likely to last. Experiencing the daily routine of a Soviet labor camp firsthand has probably never been brought so close, with barbed wire, barracks and security control towers surrounding the complex.� Visitors can be taken to the camp head's office, and see what prisoners used to eat.
      The creators of the museum tried to restore just one small part of the gigantic Gulag structure that existed in the USSR back in the 1930s-1950s.
      What it looked like can be seen from the rare photographs and archive papers on show here.
      Up to 14 million people passed through the Gulag camps from 1929 to 1953, over one million prisoners died.
      One of the most poignant personal reports telling the world of the horrors of the Soviet police state and Stalin's prison camps is The Gulag Archipelago. The author, Nobel Prize-winning writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, spent eight years in labor camps.
      =======================


      II SURVEYS, ANALYSES, COMMENTS

      One Eurasian Union, please. And hold the imperialism!
      By Robert Bridge
      Russia Today, 19 October, 2011

      Prime Minister Vladimir Putin recently announced plans to create a Eurasian Union among the post-Soviet states, which the heavily-favored candidate in next year's presidential elections says is vital for the future of Russia and the CIS countries.
      �On October 4, Vladimir Putin caused some waves in political and economic circles when he announced an ambitious plan to create a Eurasian Union, which would be the post-Soviet region's answer to the European Union.
      The first thing Putin did following his announcement was to assure that the creation of such a union has nothing in common with imperialism or "recreating the USSR."
      "First of all, it is not about recreating the USSR in any form," Putin wrote in Izvestia, the Russian daily. "It would be naive to try to restore or copy what is already a thing of the past. However, close integration on a platform of new values, politics, and economics is what is currently called for."
      Indeed, many analysts agree that greater economic integration in the post-Soviet space may be the last hope for many Central Asian countries as the global financial crisis continues to plague world markets. The creation of a greater Eurasian Union, especially due to its geographical position between the European Union and Asian markets, would open the door to many new opportunities.
      "We are suggesting a model of a powerful supranational union that can become one of the poles of today's world while being an efficient connecting link between Europe and the dynamic Asia-Pacific Region," Putin said.
      Meanwhile, the prime minister stressed the importance of embracing the Soviet inheritance as a means for competing in the modern field of globalization.
      "We have great prospects in humanitarian co-operation, in science, culture, and education, and in joint work on employment market regulation and the creation of a civilized environment for labor migration," Putin noted. "We inherited quite a lot from the Soviet Union, including the infrastructure, an established production specialization, and a common language and cultural space."
      Jointly using those resources for development is in our common interest, he added.
      Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 - and increasingly more so with the latest global economic crisis - there has been a steady move toward regional integration. First came the creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States in December 1991, which brought together 10 of the former republics of the Soviet Union into a loose-knit organization.
      More recent moves toward integration involve the elimination of customs and border controls, which have long hampered economic activity in the region. On January 1, 2012, for example, the Common Economic Space will be officially launched between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. As Prime Minister Putin wrote in Izvestia ("A new integration project for Eurasia - the future is born today," Oct. 4), the CES creates "a huge market with some 165 million consumers, with harmonized laws and with the free circulation of capital, services and manpower."
      The advantages of the three-way agreement will remove migration, border and other barriers, as well as permitting people to freely choose where they will "live, study and work."
      The CES also promises to significantly increase the amount of goods one can bring in for personal use without paying customs duties and undergoing "humiliating inspections," Putin wrote.
      The establishment of Common Economic Space (as well as the so-called Customs Union) will continue to grow, Putin promises, eventually bringing Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan on board.
      "Nobody is forced to join"
      In the opinion of Russian analysts, the suggestion that the creation of a Eurasian Union symbolizes the return of imperialistic thinking can be summed up in one word: impossible.
      "The basic difference between the construction of the Soviet Union and the integration process of the post-Soviet space is that Russia is not coercing any country to participate (in the Eurasian Union)," Dmitry Suslov, Deputy Head of the Center for European and International Studies at the Higher School of Economics, told RT. "Nobody is talking about using military force, for instance, against Ukraine [if it] doesn't want to participate in the Customs Union and the Eurasian Union."
      According to Kirill Koktysh, political analyst at the Moscow Institute for Foreign Relations, Putin has never shown any sort of "imperial tendencies" while in office.
      "Putin has never demonstrated - either in the presidential chair, or in the prime minister's chair - a real desire to reconstruct the Soviet model."
      Russia does, however, attach significant importance to the project, which it envisions as moving into the future.
      Putin's article is "a declaration of the fact that post-Soviet integration will continue to be number one priority in Russian foreign policy," Suslov said, adding that "relations with external actors, such as the United States, China and the European Union will be judged by against the background of Russia's relations with those countries (that are slated to make up the Eurasian Union)."
      Suslov went on to stress that those countries showing interest in the integration process are proceeding on their own accord, unlike was the case, for example, when the Baltic States were forced to join the Soviet Union.
      "There is no Russian soldier with a gun standing behind the leaders of those countries, forcing them to participate," he said. "This is not how the Baltic States, for example, were incorporated into the Soviet state, when indeed Soviet troops were on their lands and the integration process was artificial and forced from Moscow."
      Indeed, countries of the post-Soviet space desperately need access to Russia's huge consumer markets for their economic survival.

      http://rt.com/politics/union-putin-integration-soviet-207/
      ----------------------

      Engaging the Post-Soviet Generation in Russia
      By Matthew Rojansky [2]
      The National Interest, October 21, 2011

      Looking down the road at another six or twelve years of Putin in the Kremlin, it might seem that Russia is inevitably drifting toward a period of stagnation akin to the nearly two decades of Brezhnev's rule. But below the thin layer of Putin's ruling elite, a new generation of Russians is taking its place and already changing the way Russia sees-and is seen by-the world.
      This generation of young Russians, whose formative experiences took place long after the end of the Soviet Union, has now entered professional and political life. Many are the children of Soviet citizens who came of age during Khrushchev's 1960's "thaw," coveted American blue jeans and rock music, and rallied in the streets as the Soviet system collapsed.
      The West still fails to fully understand Russia's post-Soviet generation, with negative consequences for political, economic and security relations. This poses a risk to the survival of the U.S.-Russia reset. It is time to close this gap in understanding and engage the new generation of Russians.
      Young Russians, like many of their peers around the world, are more plugged in to global trends, more interconnected within and between their local communities, and more vulnerable to negative events abroad than any previous generation. They use the Internet nearly as frequently as their American counterparts, often over the fastest networks with the latest mobile devices. As a result, the pace of change in how young Russians see the world, including the United States, is constantly accelerating.
      Unlike their parents and grandparents, young Russians have not been brought up on a diet of official ideology. They are not eager to prove the inferiority of American-style free-market capitalism-in fact few of them even question it. Most are comfortably certain that Russia is and should always be a part of the global market economy.
      To help sustain that interest, Washington should refrain from unfairly attacking Russia. Criticism of the government's mixed record on human rights and rule of law is legitimate, but when the loudest voices from Washington are consistently those attacking Russia for everything from jailing dissidents to coddling Iran, it is too easy for young Russians to write off the American government as out of touch or blinded by ideology.
      Additionally, Russia's newest workers, entrepreneurs and professionals place a unique emphasis on the importance of stability. After all, they and their families suffered through an economic contraction in the 1990s more devastating than the Great Depression, and they have witnessed the powerlessness of ordinary citizens and state institutions to stop corruption and plundering.
      To most young Russians, America is still a model of personal, political and economic freedom. But as the foundations of a U.S. economic model built on borrowing and spending become increasingly vulnerable, young Russians have started to question whether American-style freedoms inevitably bring instability and suffering. They are similarly concerned by the extremes of the American political process. The United States must solve these problems not only because they are damaging to its own prosperity and security but also because doing so will help restore confidence among those in Russia and throughout the world who still look for American leadership.
      Finally, young Russians do not crave Russian power for its own sake, to spread world revolution, or to expand the frontiers of empire, but they do aspire to live in a strong country that can protect their interests in the world. For this reason, they are uncomfortable with American power, especially the kind that seeks to negate the influence and interests of others.
      Still, America has wide appeal among young Russians, as a destination for vacation, study abroad or business opportunity. And American products-from iPhones to Ford cars-are as popular as blue jeans once were on the streets of Moscow. Washington can build on this "soft power" by making sure to use all kinds of American power more responsibly across the board.
      As an insurance policy for better ties with today's young Russians, Washington should invest in institutions, including online social networks, to promote engagement across a wide swath of the societies-between state and local governments, religious groups, students and professionals. The two governments have made notable progress recently in lowering barriers to travel and investment, but the process for obtaining a visa is still onerous. With thousands of young Russians eager to visit, study and do business in America, there should be an agreement on visa-free travel as soon as possible.
      Americans are not alone in failing to understand and embrace the first fully post-Soviet generation of Russians. Russia's own government and big businesses are obviously still dominated by a single cohort that came to power with Putin, and the ruling party still seeks to control youth political activism through ham-fisted tactics reminiscent of the Communist Union of Youth and Soviet-era "international festivals of youth."
      Notwithstanding their present political disenfranchisement, post-Soviet Russians will not be a "lost generation." They are well equipped to succeed in today's global economy and to navigate the complexities of Russian society as they themselves continue to change and redefine it. Washington needs to better understand and more effectively engage this new generation if it is to secure a mutually beneficial relationship with Russia, not only under a new Putin presidency but also in the uncertain future beyond.
      Links:
      [1] http://www.addthis.com/bookmark.php?v=250&username=nationalinterest
      [2] http://nationalinterest.org/profile/matthew-rojansky
      (Matthew Rojansky is the deputy director of the Russia and Eurasia program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.)

      http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/engaging-the-post-soviet-generation-russia-6061
      -------------------

      Do Famous Blogger's Supports Realize Where He Is Calling on Them To Go?
      By: Yelena Milashina
      Novaya Gazeta, October 22, 2011

      Internet idol Aleksey Navalnyy has joined the action organizing committee of the nationalists' Russian March, has supported the march's propaganda campaign, and had called on all his admirers to participate. In particular, on his multi-thousand-reader blog he has placed a propaganda video from the Russian Platform website with a chant, "Enough of Feeding the Caucasus."*
      Aleksey Navalnyy is only a year older than I am. This means that when the first Chechen war began, he was 18. In 1994, when boys of his and my generation were going to Chechnya by the echelon, he was studying at the law school of the Russian FRIENDSHIP OF NATIONS University (very symbolic).
      In 1999, when he and my agemates, Russian draftees, were sent once again as cannon fodder to Chechnya, he was studying at the School of Finance and Credit of the RF (Russian Federation) Government's Finance Academy with a specialty in "Securities and the Stock Market."
      In 2000, when Petersburg OMON (special-purpose police detachment) officers (older than Navalnyy and me by one generation) purged at least 56 Chechen old men, women, and children, I was already working for Novaya Gazeta, where, on the other side of the wall, Anna Politkovskaya was writing her text about Aldy. She had just returned from Groznyy. A Groznyy that had been wiped off the face of the earth for a second time.
      Meanwhile, it had once been a beautiful city, built by my father's generation. With a huge oil refinery complex. Very modern and very expensive. The complex refined lots of petroleum products for the Soviet Union. Very high-quality products due to the quality of Caucasian oil and so only for export. So that Chechnya was basically always profitable (and would be even now if Rosneft had not pumped 90% of Chechen oil into its own pocket). Could Navalnyy not have known that? I'm not the specialist in finance, he is.
      But even this oil complex was not worth a hundredth of a percent of all that was pitilessly destroyed during the wars in Chechnya. If it were all tallied up . . . Lord, how much money! What 5 trillion Russian rubles? Russian boys, what are you talking about?!
      . . . In 2010 Navalnyy was studying once again. This time he was taking a half year's study at Yale University. You, today's 20 year olds, will hardly be so lucky. Because the good old boys of Putin's generation have closed off all the social elevators and opportunities to you. But also because you are the lazy great-grandchildren of Soviet propaganda. You believe the TV, you sit around chat rooms, you pick up Tajik girls in entryways, and you have no time to read books. Good books, not Mein Kampf.
      You 20 year olds are wading into politics today. This is the natural course of history. Are you nauseated in this Putin swamp? Or are you insulted that Ramzan Kadyrov has a new Porsche and you don't? Don't envy Kadyrov. No Porsche can compensate for the fate that awaits him.
      You would understand all this if you had the same education Navalnyy does. At least then you would know about 1933 in Germany and 1937 in Russia, about Ribbentrop's pact with Molotov, about Katyn and the GULAG. And you would understand at least something about quite recent times, when Navalnyy and I were 18.
      There is only one lesson you do have to learn. You are much luckier than the boys of my generation who fought in Chechnya. And the boys who fought in Afghanistan. And you had better pray Putin doesn't send you to the Caucasus again. Where you will also be forced to spit blood and shed the blood of old men, women, and children (Georgian, Chechen, or whatever other. . . .).
      If you knew the history of the country you live in and for which you broadcast on YouTube, you would tread the Russian earth more cautiously. Because in Russia, history is always a cemetery. Enormous and composed of graves small and large. Most of them unnamed, by the way. Because mostly here we have Russians and Chechens, Ossetians and T atars, Bashkirs and Tajiks lying in graves just like those. Bone to bone. Skull to skull. In Siberia and Kazakhstan. Outside Moscow and outside Stalingrad. In Novyye Aldy, Chechnya's Samashki, and -- yes, by the Kremlin wall. One of us is still lying in the Mausoleum, poor guy. ..� �
      He, too, speculated: "Land to the peasants, power to the Soviets!" And what did that lead to? Do you know? Civil war is not when Reds and Whites go at it with sabers bared. It is when you crawl over corpses in Chechnya after an assault on Groznyy collecting the documents from soldiers of the Russian army and documents from Groznyy residents as well. So as to be able to record at least approximately our combined losses. Because when the hungry Groznyy dogs eat the corpses, regardless of nationality, it will be too late.
      Only someone who does not know about Russia can be a Russian nationalist. And fire off the words "tribute, requisitions, terrorist acts, murderers." But remember this, boys. You are the sons and brothers of unpunished murderers. You are following the generation that fought in Chechnya.
      Navalnyy did not fight, although he was the right age. I don't know whether this is courage or not. More likely, excessive fastidiousness. But this was our common war, and it was a dirty war. And this dirt is on my hands and Navalnyy's. And on the hands of our fathers and brothers.
      And each time you say, "Enough of feeding the Caucasus," you are picking up some of that dirt.
      There is no way for you to go to Yale. But you do have the Internet. And Anna Politkovskaya's books are on the Internet. One of them is called "Putin's Russia." You ought to read it. It's slim, that book. But afterward, close your eyes, engage the full force of your young imagination, and imagine that you are Chechens.
      Then go to your Russian march behind your virtual idol, who has never engaged in real politics but who has already crossed the bounds of the permissible. He has three degrees. He knows perfectly well what cannon fodder is.
      *"This has yet to be shared in the press, though the cities' streets are breathing it. By the way, one can speak without any aggression about why we have fed the Caucasus enough. Speaking without emotion and using only facts: they receive about nine times more per capita from the budget and spend it generously on terrorist acts or a new Porsche for Ramzan. The time has come to stop and end the tribute and requisitions. We give them money; they give us murderers -- Yuriy, Ivan, and Yegor. From our taxes, 5 trillion are supposed to make heavenly resorts there. We don't mind the money, but it goes against our conscience to feed others by taking away from our own. This arrangement is not going to pass anymore, you can't silence us, after all this time we, all Russia, are saying, enough is enough. Enough of feeding the Caucasus."
      ------

      Russia's nationalist genie
      By: Tim Wall, editor
      Moscow News, October 24, 2011

      As Russia's elections draw closer, nationalist and ethnic issues are rising up the political agenda, with campaigners such as Alexei Navalny raising corruption complaints against regional leaders in the Caucasus.
      The trial of Aslan Cherkesov, found guilty Friday of murdering Spartak football fan Yegor Sviridov, is a prime example of how nationalism is poisoning the political debate and allowing the use of divide-and-rule tactics by politicians.
      The killing, which sparked a wave of nationalist riots last year, has been a bone of contention not just between ethnic communities, but also between rank-and-file nationalists and the authorities.
      A jury found Cherkesov, a native of Kabardino-Balkaria, guilty of the "premeditated killing," despite defense arguments that Cherkesov had acted in self-defense in a brawl between young men from the Caucasus and ethnic Russians. After several hours, the jury voted 8-4 to classify the killing as murder, paving the way for a life sentence. Prosecutors argued that Cherkesov and others tried to rob Sviridov and the ethnic Russians. The guilty verdict may bring some relief to the authorities, who were afraid of large-scale rioting on the Nov. 4 "Russky March."
      As with many ethnic conflicts, the root causes go deeper. With Russia and the Caucasus, the conflict has been going on for centuries. As Russia's empire expanded southward, the ethnic patchwork quilt that is the Caucasus came under tough rule from governor generals.
      From Sheik Shamil's revolt in the 19th century to the modern-day conflict of the last two decades, Chechens and other mountain peoples have resisted Russia's attempts to rule them. These conflicts have seen great brutality (on both sides) � and Russia has switched periodically from repression to co-opting local leaders. Recently, the Kremlin has effectively bought off corrupt, ex-warlord local leaders. This has angered ordinary people suffering from economic hardship.
      The problem is that the genie of nationalism, useful for keeping various ethnic groups at each other's throats, is also destabilizing society.
      Ethnic conflicts are often triggered by economic factors. And with a new wave of the global crisis upon us, the Kremlin may be worried that nationalist riots could spill over into generalized protests on political and economic issues.
      ----

      Putin Uses Symbols of Soviet Power to Announce Idea of Eurasian Union
      By: Marlene Laruelle
      Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 8 Issue: 195, October 24, 2011

      On October 3, 2011, Vladimir Putin made headlines by putting forward the idea of a Eurasian Union including several post-Soviet states. This was his first foreign policy initiative since the announcement of his candidacy for a third mandate, made at the United Russia Congress at the end of September this year (Gazeta.ru, September 24). Is this new Eurasian Union inspired by the Soviet Union or by the European Union? Is an official revival of Soviet nostalgia at issue, or a project of supranational integration following the models, cited by Putin, of the EU, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations?
      Putin has always excelled in manipulating the symbols of the former regime and playing on the Soviet nostalgia of a large part of the population - here one will recall his declaration according to which the fall of the USSR was the twentieth century's greatest geopolitical catastrophe (www.kremlin.ru, September 25, 2005). However, the objective of the new Eurasian Union is not to rebuild a unified state. The Kremlin knows all too well that no ruling circle among the post-Soviet states would accept losing the political independence gained in 1991. Further still, neither are the Russian elite interested in any such development. For them, it recalls bad memories of the USSR's last years when Moscow would complain about paying out of its pocket for the non-viable economies of certain republics, as well as of having to manage local conflicts in the Caucasus and Central Asia.
      Rather, in putting forward this idea, Putin's aim is to put into place a few joint, supranational mechanisms in specific domains - mainly the economic and financial domains, but also potentially the strategic one - which would guarantee Moscow a right to oversee the evolution of its neighbors. Moscow's aim is quite obviously to merge the Russia-Belarus Union State, created in 1996 but ailing for some years; the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC - Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan-Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan); and the Customs Union of Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan into a single entity. This Union could eventually also be endowed with a strategic section integrating the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).
      The Kremlin's motivations are multiple. The ruling circles think that the time has come for a new post-Soviet dynamic: since the 2008 economic crisis, Europe has lost influence, a tendency that has been reinforced by the current difficulties with the euro, the question of sovereign debts and Brussels's crisis of political legitimacy. Russia, on the other hand, presents the image of having a more dynamic economy, even if budgetary difficulties will also soon come into play. Moreover, Putin has never been convinced by the need for Russia to enter the WTO. The Custom Union, and the potential Eurasian Union, is therefore probably a nice way to postpone, once more, Russian accession to the global trade body.
      But the stakes are mainly internal to the post-Soviet space, though not all the states of the region are concerned. Kazakhstan remains Moscow's most faithful ally in terms of economic reintegration, and Putin knows he can count on Nursultan Nazarbayev for such projects, which would not necessarily be the case with a younger successor. Presidential succession, Astana's most significant future political issue, thus invites Moscow to act in a preemptive fashion. As for Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, they have indicated that they would like to join the Customs Union despite the problems this will present Bishkek, which is already a member of the WTO (Oxford Analytica, July 28).
      With this Eurasian Union, Moscow is also seeking to avoid Alexander Lukashenka making any new attempts at increased autonomy. Minsk's unprecedented economic difficulties were exacerbated by the EU- and US-imposed sanctions after its repression of the opposition. This has put Belarusian power in a deadlock, leaving it in a head-to-head struggle with its Russian neighbor and largest economic and strategic partner. Last but not least, the time seems ripe to try to force destiny with Ukraine. On many issues Viktor Yanukovich has softened Kiev's position toward Moscow (e.g., by reinforcing the status of the Russian language, putting limitations on historiographical memory wars, and making its agreement on the Sevastopol base). However, Moscow is annoyed by the Timoshenko affair and Ukraine's continued dialogue with NATO and the EU, and above all, wants Kiev to join the Customs Union.
      The Eurasian Union thus targets a Eurasian core including Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, and possibly also Armenia, which is already a member of the CSTO. Above all, however, what Moscow dreams of is the key missing piece in its reconstitution of a post-Soviet puzzle, Ukraine. But by no means does Russia imagine a return to forceful integration: reticent countries will not be forced, but simply bypassed and marginalized.
      The announcement gave rise to significant activity among the most diverse ideologues of Russian nationalism. Alexander Dugin, the eulogist of neo-Eurasianism and president of the small International Eurasian Movement, rejoiced at this declaration, and suddenly seems once again to be riding high after having spent many years in the wilderness. In fact, some rumors on the Russian internet suggested that the Secretary of the Russia-Belarus Union, Pavel Borodin, might soon be replaced by Alexander Dugin, Borodin's close friend, who has regularly visited Minsk to be at Lukashenka's side (www.rus-obr.ru, September 10). But the Presidential Administration will more probably choose the presidential envoy in the Volga Federal District, the former secretary of EurAsEC, Grigoriy Rapota.
      Is Putin inspired, then, by Eurasianist ideology? He never overtly makes reference to it, nor does he insist, in his last declaration, on the unity of civilization of post-Soviet peoples. His narrative is in fact centered, not on the need for a unity of culture between Eurasian peoples, but on that of Russia to arm itself better against globalization. To become one of the leaders of a new globalized world, Russia needs both a partnership with Europe, and a right of supervision over some of the 'Eurasian,' i.e. post-Soviet countries. Nor does he present this potential Eurasian Union as having an overtly anti-American or anti-European agenda. However, if Eurasianism is defined as a vision of Russia's great power aspirations backed by the rest of the post-Soviet space (or at the very least by some of the post-Soviet countries), then Putin's declaration is part of a kind of "soft" Eurasianism. Putin's previous declaration during the re-opening of the Russian Geographical Society, "When we say great, a great country, a great state - certainly, size matters. (�) When there is no size, there is no influence, no meaning," is a Eurasianist declaration of intent on the role of geography in building a Russian destiny (www.sptimes.ru, November 20, 2009). But the Eurasian Union could also turn out to be a simple PR action addressed to the Russian electorate, since, while there may be no doubt about Putin's re-election, there does exist a question about his regime's declining popular legitimacy.

      http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=38562&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=512
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      The Nationalists Are Coming
      By Kevin Rothrock
      A Good Treaty, 25 Oct 2011

      Over the weekend, Bolotnaia Square hosted the latest gathering of 'Khvatit kormit' Kavkaz!' (Enough feeding the Caucasus!), a Russian nationalist movement that first emerged last April. Saturday's rally was attended by none other than Aleksei Navalny, who also took the stage and delivered a short speech. Navalny was visibly disappointed with the attendance, which was reportedly somewhere between three- and six-hundred people. This event came just two days after the public learned that Navalny would be joining the organizational committee of another nationalist organization, the 'Russian March,' which takes place annually on Unity Day in November. (The photograph above was taken by yours truly, at the site of the 2008 'Russian March.') Olesia Gerasimenko broke the 'Russian March' story on Snob.ru in an article highlighting how awkward and embarrassing Navalny's nationalism is becoming for supporters of his anti-corruption work.
      Navalny, for his part, reposted the Gerasimenko piece on his own LiveJournal blog. In subsequent posts, and in a forty-minute debate with journalist Roman Dobrokhotov on Ekho Moskvy before Saturday's rally, Navalny has reaffirmed his commitment to nationalism, going so far as to link it in`extricably with his more widely respected anti-corruption activism. The Caucasus and the federal subsidies that sustain it, he argues, are the epitome of corruption. Therefore, the 'Khvatit' campaign should not be viewed as a sideshow to projects like RosPil and RosYama - it should be seen as an equally dedicated attack on Kremlin corruption.
      Vladimir Milov - another popular oppositionist who has advocated merging liberalism and nationalism - has also publicly supported the 'Khvatit' rallies. Last April, when the campaign started, Milov authored an op-ed in Gazeta.ru repeating the many familiar talking points that nationalists have recycled for years. This included: the exodus of ethnic Russians from the Caucasus following the breakup of the USSR (decreasing their presence from 15% to 4% of the population, by Milov's calculations); the de facto absence of the rule of Russian law and constitutional order on Caucasian soil today; and the argument that "subsidies will not solve the region's problems." Taking up the budgetary spin of the Khvatit rallies, Milov explains that ending subsidies to the Caucasus "is not at all xenophobia, but purely motivated by economic reasons."
      On her Saturday radio program, Yulia Latynina addressed the Khvatit campaign, specifically targeting the costs and benefits of Navalny's escalated presence in nationalist activism. She perfectly encapsulates the confusion that I think many people experience when confronted by this movement:
      When Navalny says 'Enough feeding the Caucasus!' I wonder, 'But what exactly do we do with the Caucasus?' I mean - do we just cut it off? Where would we actually draw the line?
      Also this weekend, economist Sergei Aleksashenko wrote an open letter to both Navalny and Milov, criticizing them for focusing on the consequences of corruption (an unstable Caucasus) rather than the underlying cause (the Kremlin). "Just maybe the issue isn't the Caucasus?" he asked rhetorically. Two days later, Milov posted a long response that included ad hominem attacks on Aleksashenko for past political flip-flopping, and stories from his travels across Russia, where Milov claims to have come to know an electorate that's fed up with how liberals "shy from the nationality question." Nationalism, Milov says, "can be a creative force" and "the battle is coming" to harness that creative energy. Aleksashenko responded hours later, and Milov responded yet again immediately thereafter. By now, Godwin's Law has reared its head, as well as a debate about the merits of the American 'melting pot' version of patriotism. (I guess they've yet to hear about the 'salad bowl'?)
      Nationalism: it's confusing.
      The battle for strangest metaphor also rages on. Aleksashenko compared nationalism to a "bucket of shit" and the Khvatit rallies to a "bag of yeast" (because they threaten to spill over and make a mess) and Milov likened nationalism to nuclear weapons (because it is potentially dangerous in the wrong hands, but is capable of checking aggression if wielded responsibly).
      That said, the Milov-Aleksashenko and Navalny-Dobrokhotov debates ultimately come down to the same concerns that Latynina raised above. What 'positive' policy implications are we to take from all this? What is the expected outcome of ceasing or drastically reducing federal subsidies to the North Caucasus? The logical conclusion would be that such a change could result in the secession or ejection of the Caucasus from the Russian Federation. It's not clear, however, that questioning Navalny or Milov for a hundred years would ever extract a clear admission that this is the goal.
      To evade the issue of territorial breakdown, Milov has tried to 'accent the positive' by introducing a pro-Europe spin to 'liberal nationalism.' Russians must counterbalance the creeping "asiaticness" and "eurasianness" of the Putin years with a "Europeanness" that embraces the West, he believes. The goal, Milov says, is to reverse the old mentality of 'the West is bad and Asia and the Caucasus are good.' He and Navalny have both employed the 'de facto' dodge when responding to the territorial integrity question, insinuating that losing the Caucasian republics would only codify what is already a political reality. Navalny said in his Saturday debate:
      I support the return of the Caucasian territory, which currently lies outside the legal realm of Russia. I support them [Caucasians?] finally becoming subjects of the Russian Federation, which includes budgetary equality.
      In this way, Navalny and Milov claim two contradictory aims: (a) supporting Russia's current boundaries in principle, and (b) advocating financial reforms that could very possibly disrupt the Federation's current composition. For these two goals not to conflict, there would have to be a way of arguing that cutting federal support could somehow bring the Caucasus back into the fold. In all his debates and expositions, I could only find one instance where Navalny even vaguely offers a rationale to explain how less support could improve the situation between Russia and the Caucasus:
      We want to spark a discussion inside the Caucasus, among the Caucasian elite, and inside the local population.
      Other than this brief suggestion that the Khvatit campaign might 'spark a discussion,' there are no other 'real' expectations or implications in the speeches and prose of Milov and Navalny. The rest is an opera of 'budgetary equality,' accompanied by a chorus of statistics, showing how the Caucasus collects few taxes but receives enormous revenues. In other words, 'Khvatit' seems to be another in that endless series of oppositionist protests built around moral indignation, with perhaps one too few feet on the ground. If the protesters denounce their critics as 'cowards' who run from the nationality question, what does it mean that they are just as unwilling to address the potentially disastrous consequences of 'cutting off' the Federation's least popular peripheries?
      In a report earlier today, Kommersant reporter Ol'ga Allenova talked to activists in the Far East, demonstrating that the Khvatit campaign is a two-way street. As it turns out, ethnic Russian nationalism and attacks on the North Caucasus' leadership are far less popular in Siberia. In fact, 'budgetary grievances' target Moscow and Saint Petersburg more than any of the money pits in and around Chechnya. "Khvatit kormit' Moskvu!" (Enough feeding Moscow!) and "Khvatit platit' dan' Moskve!" (Enough paying tribute to Moscow!) are far timelier slogans for the locals, where as much as 84% of Russia's oil and gas deposits are located. In Novosibirsk, ethnic Russian nationalist activists like Rostislav Antonov have to moonlight as advocates of regional financial independence, just to stay relevant in an area where nationalism is soured by frustrations with Moscow's administrative dominance.
      Viktor Avsent'ev, Director of the Institute of Socio-Political and Humanities Studies, believes that rising levels of corruption and an increasingly criminal instability have made it impossible for the state to act as a protector of either Russians or non-Russians. In this situation, groups seek out alternative means of safety, which inevitably promotes regionalism and inter-regional frictions.
      Where are all the Ekho Moskvy groupies?
      This, it seems to me, is where the Khvatit campaign would lead, if it ever managed to achieve mass appeal. Supporters like Navalny and Milov like to think of themselves as spokesmen for all taxpayers, if not for their entire race. These men stand on soapboxes built from righteous indignation that they assume will unite Russia's downtrodden majority. When Navalny spoke at Bolotnaia this weekend, he told the crowd that they "are the majority." He repeated it enough to make me question his certainty.
      In a sense, though, Navalny is absolutely right. The nationalists are the majority, but not because of any common blood or shared vision for government. They are the majority because they're like everyone else in Russia: self-centered and panicked about the country's future. In the grand vanguard fashion, Moscow's nationalists read a universality into their campaign that crumbles into farce, the farther one ventures from the capital.

      http://www.agoodtreaty.com/2011/10/25/the-nationalists-are-coming/
      ------------------

      Xenophobia flourishes, experts warn Caucasus may become Russia's Kosovo
      By: Lyudmila Alexandrova
      Itar-Tass, October 25, 2011

      MOSCOW, October 25 (Itar-Tass) Clashes between Russians and migrants, primarily those from the Caucasus, are continuing amid rising xenophobic sentiment in society. The reasons for the popularity of nationalism across Russia are the same, experts say. They are corruption and instability, caused by the criminalization of society.
      A 19-year-old student from Latvia, Gleb Kharitonov, who studies in Moscow, stood up for an unknown Russian girl only to be beaten up on October 21 in a Moscow subway carriage by a young man of Azerbaijani descent and the two natives of Kabardino-Balkaria. The student suffered a broken arm and head injury.
      According to investigators, there were five men from the Caucasus � four were beating the victim, while the fifth was taking a video of what was happening with his mobile phone camera. The attackers were detained in hot pursuit, but were released after questioning. As the daily Komsomolskaya Pravda says, no criminal case has been opened over the incident. Even the crucial pieces of evidence: an electric shocker, a traumatic gun and a cell phone with a recording of the beating - were not confiscated from the detainees. According to the newspaper, videos from the CCTV cameras, installed in the subway, too, were not retrieved by operatives, either.
      The Internet periodical NEWSru.com notes that the law enforcers' conduct resembles the one that triggered in Manezhnaya Square. After a street fight in December last year, when in the Kronstadt Boulevard a group of Caucasus-born guests killed a fan of the Spartak soccer club, Yegor Sviridov, the investigators released the detained ringleaders of the brawl. The media wrote then that intervention by high-placed officials with a Caucasus background had helped the culprits. Many of them immediately arrived at the police station in expensive cars.
      The Sviridov case became a particularly important one, since it led to mass protests in Moscow and other Russian cities. In the capital the fans, who gathered to honor the memory of their dead comrade, blocked the Leningrad avenue, and after a few days radicals rioted in Moscow's Manezh Square in the heart of the capital. There were clashes with riot police. Nationalists beat up several people from the Caucasus and Asia. Throughout the week Caucasus people and nationalists kept gathering in different parts of Moscow. Only tough policing prevented a big fight.
      Even President Dmitry Medvedev was outraged by the misconduct of the investigator, who had released the participants in the fight. As a result, the bullies were remanded in custody and the investigators were punished. Last week, the jury brought in a verdict in this high profile case. The main figure accused, Aslan Cherkesov, was found guilty of Sviridov's murder. Five Dagestanis were convicted of hooliganism and of inflicting minor bodily harm.
      Against the background of these events xenophobic, and above all, anti-Caucasus sentiment in Russia has soared. Last Saturday, the nationalists held a rally in Moscow. Their main slogan was "Stop Feeding the Caucasus!" The rally was officially allowed, despite the fact that President Dmitry Medvedev recently declared loudly a ban on the use of nationalist rhetoric in the election campaign.
      This is far from the first demonstration by nationalists under such a nationalist slogan. However, whereas before taking part in them were only the nationalists, this time some well-known representatives of the non-systemic opposition came to discuss "the Caucasus question."
      As they put forward the non-systemic protesters' favorite slogan "Down with the Party of Crooks and Thieves," the nationalists try to expand the support base of the angry, says the magazine Kommersant Vlast. They still argue that the Caucasus is a truant, but now they also claim they do not preach xenophobia, but are only in favor of an equitable distribution of "people's money." And they point to the "Party of Crooks and Thieves" and the "Kremlin tandem" as their arch foes.
      The Moscow City Government this month conducted an opinion poll to find out the attitude of city people to visitors, a source close to the regional government told Moscow News. According to the survey, about a third of the city dwellers dislike those people who come to the capital from other countries and regions of Russia to live and work.
      "Thirty percent of the population has a negative attitude to migrants - this figure is close to Russia's average," the newspaper quotes Alexander Verkhovsky, the director of the information and analysis center Sova as saying. Surveys show that in Russia 35% of citizens have a negative attitude to members of certain nationalities. Most people predictably dislike the Caucasus peoples (29%) and visitors from Central Asia (6%), the expert said.
      "Muscovites have always disliked visitors," said Vladimir Pribylovsky, the president of the information and analysis center Panorama. In his opinion, 30% of the population is negatively-minded towards the migrants - this is a big figure, but in reality it is even greater. "I feel that in Moscow 60% of the population does not like migrants," Pribylovsky speculated.
      Political science professor Sergei Perederiy in Pyatigorsk told Kommersant Vlast that "the mechanism of Russia's destruction is gaining momentum," and he calls the North Caucasus "Russia's Kosovo."
      The director of the Institute of Socio-Political and Humanitarian Studies at the Russian Academy of Science's southern center, Viktor Avksentiev, is certain that the reasons for the popularity of nationalism across Russia are the same: in the context of corruption and growing criminal instability the state has ceased to be a support for Russians and for non-Russians. For this reason Russians have begun to look for alternative ways of protection from an unstable state, and in the Caucasus all aspects of society's life are undergoing ethnicization for the same reason.
      "In Ingushetia I was told that blood revenge practices should be restored, because the people want to stop criminal violence, but the law does not work."
      "Russia's firmest support in the Caucasus today is the Caucasus peoples, who grew up in the Soviet melting pot," the director of the Center for Ethnic and Religious Problems in the Media at the Union of Journalists of Russia, Sulieta Kusova, said. "If they are replaced by the younger generation, grown on systematic ethnically-motivated passport and identity checks and fingerprinting procedures, as well as slogans like "Stop Feeding the Caucasus," Russia will be gone - from the Caucasus and as such."
      ------

      Nationalists come out on top: This year, the 'Russian March' will have a record turnout
      By: Zhanna Ulyanova
      Trud, October 26, 2011

      If the nationalists formed a party and ran in State Duma elections, they would become the second largest party in Parliament. The results of a Levada Center survey show unprecedented support for the "Russia is for Russi<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
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