Bulletin 7:11 (2013)
- THE RUSSIAN NATIONALISM BULLETIN
A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs
Vol. 7, No. 11(199), 23 June 2013
Compilers: Fabian Burkhardt, Parikrama Gupta, Vildane Oezkan & Andreas Umland
I NEWS: 1 - 15 May 2013
II SURVEYS, ANALYSES, COMMENTS
III ANNOTATIONS OF RECENT PUBLICATIONS
[NOTE: When viewing an RNB issue in the Messages archive of the homepage and the end of the text is truncated, scroll to the end of the message and click "Expand Messages." Only then, the whole text of the - otherwise truncated - issue will appear. When quoting from an article found here, please, mention the RNB, as the source. Thank you!]
I NEWS: 1 - 15 May 2013
Russian Political System 'Steady', Not 'Broken' By Protests - Deputy PM
RIA Novosti - London, May 1, 2013
The political system in Russia is steady and capable of transformation, it is changing in parallel with changes in society, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov believes.
"The system is not broken, this is someone's invention. The system of which I have to honour to be a co-author exists, and it survived the 2011 election. The same system was working then.
"Do you really feel that after the rally (of the opposition) in December 2011 the old system collapsed? No, it defeated the opposition. It's a fact. The system should not be destroyed, it should not collapse, it should adapt to changing conditions. The system has to change," Surkov said when speaking at the London School of Economics on Thursday (as received; should be Wednesday 1 May) and answering questions from the audience.
The deputy prime minister, who held senior posts in the administration of the Russian president between 1999 and 2011, explained that changes in the system did not mean its destruction or elimination but constituted a means for its transformation.
"Society changes, and the political system has to change. There is no contradiction here. This is in fact the main thing that the system showed in 2011: that it is capable of changing. It encountered certain challenges, realized that there was disaffection in society, that it was profound, and it adapted," Surkov said.
"The system displayed long-awaited harshness towards extremists and those who deemed it possible to beat up policemen: they were heavily punished. The system showed that it can respond harshly," the deputy prime minister said.
However, he said, the system showed that it could be flexible. Surkov gave the law on liberalizing the procedure for registering political parties as an example. "When the political space was successfully rendered healthy, the bill was drawn up. The system was responsive to tangible changes in society," Surkov said.
Surkov Says Kremlin Beat the Opposition
Moscow Times, May 2, 2013
Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov told students in London that the political system that he helped create had beat the opposition and suggested that he had been one Russia's top businessmen when he worked for jailed tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
Surkov also insisted that Russia was open for foreign investment and expressed longing for stagnation to throttle back the booming economy.
The presentation to a group of mostly Russian students at the London School of Economics offered a rare insight into the thinking of the former Kremlin gray cardinal credited with authoring the concept of "sovereign democracy" for Russia.
Surkov arrived about 10 minutes late on Wednesday ¬ just as the students had started to compare his punctuality with that of President Vladimir Putin, who is well known for being lateness ¬ and immediately declared that he would speak in Russian, news reports said.
"I will speak in Russian, and I do not apologize for it because I'm Russian," he said, according to the BBC Russian Service. "My English is not good enough."
The hall with 150 seats was about two-thirds filled, an unusual sight at a university where demand for guest lectures is usually much higher than the capacity, the report said.
Outside, a handful of protesters greeted Surkov with a papier-mâché puppet with his likeness and the demand that he be placed on the Magnitsky blacklist.
Surkov, whose lecture was titled "Innovation in Russia: Plans and Prospects," skipped his prepared remarks and went right to the question-and-answer phase of the session, saying he was ready to answer anything.
The first question dealt with an ongoing investigation into accusations that Skolkovo vice president Alexei Beltyukov embezzled $750,000 and gave the money to opposition-minded State Duma Deputy Ilya Ponomaryov.
Surkov noted that Skolkovo president Viktor Vekselberg is one of the richest people in Russia, with a fortune of $15.1 billion, according to Forbes magazine, and said he would not ruin his reputation for a few hundred thousand dollars.
"He has already earned enough and is already old enough to think about his legacy and what will be written about him afterward," he said.
After a pause, Surkov added: "I am in the same position. I am not the poorest person after working in the business world for 10 years and I will, if necessary, work there again. I was successful in business before I joined the presidential administration. I was one of the most successful in my field."
Surkov spearheaded advertising and public relations for Khodorkovsky from 1991 to 1996 and is believed by some to have played a role in the tycoon's arrest on politically tainted changes amid a dispute with President Vladimir Putin in 2002. Surkov also worked for Rosprom, Alfa Bank and Channel One television before Putin brought him to the Kremlin in 2004.
About the Skolkovo scandal, Surkov said the allegations had not been proven and the matter should be left to the courts to decide.
But, he added, corruption exists around the world and should not be allowed to stop a business. "If a pig spoils your reputation, that doesn't mean all of your work goes back to square one," he said. "You just need to get rid of the pig and press ahead."
Asked about Russia's political system, Surkov said he was proud to be part of it and declared it had survived the disputed State Duma elections in 2011 that prompted mass anti-Kremlin protests.
"Do you really think that the old system collapsed after the protests in December 2011? No, it beat the opposition. That's a fact," he said, according to RIA-Novosti.
But he acknowledged that the system should not be rigid.
"You have to adapt to changing conditions," he said. "The system must change."
As a possible change, he said he would like to see the formation of a second major political party to challenge United Russia's monopoly on power. Kremlin officials earlier have made similar remarks.
Turning to the investment climate, which is part of Surkov's brief as deputy prime minister for economic modernization, he touted the need for foreign investment while saying that Russia, like any country, should prohibit foreign involvement in strategic sectors such as a company that developed vaccinations.
He also said economic stagnation was not a problem and he would actually welcome it because it would give government officials like him a chance to relax.
"For some reason we are unable to see stagnation," he said. "I'd be glad to see it, but it's not coming. It's a shame that there is no stagnation and no time to rest."
Ruling United Russia needs competition - Vladislav Surkov
ITAR-TASS, May 2, 2013
LONDON, May 2 (Itar-Tass) - A party capable of competing with the ruling United Russia party would be useful for Russia, Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov said on Wednesday at a meeting with students of one of Britain's leading academic institutions, the London School of Economics.
"I think that United Russia must live in conditions of competition. It is normal and now such competition will grow," he said. "I am sure that another big party capable of competing with United Russia would be useful for Russia. And maybe we even should help establish such party."
"So I think this is a normal process that reflects the evolution of society to the extent it has reached," Surkov noted and added that Russia has a "practically free party registration system."
According to the deputy prime minister, Russia's political system "is keeping abreast with society." "Russia has a political system that reflects the mentality and the spirit of the Russian people," he stressed.
Dwelling on Russia's political system, Surkov noted that it had not been razed after the opposition rallies of December 2011. "The system is not broken. It is somebody's figment," he said. "The system, of which I have the honor to be a co-author, is in place, it has survived the 2011 elections."
In his words, the current political system in Russia has "got an upper hand on the opposition." "It is a fact. The system should not be exterminated, it should not be brought down, it should adapt itself to the changing conditions," he noted. "Changes in the system do not mean its liquidation. I believe it is just a method of reforming. Life is changing, so the political system should change as well. There are no contradictions here."
When Russia's political system was faced with certain challenges back in 2011, "it saw that there was discontent in society, a rather profound discontent, but it managed to adapt," he stressed. "It has finally demonstrated a long-awaited tough approach to extremists and, after all, to those who though it possible to attack policemen, and they have been punished heavily."
Racism and Xenophobia in April 2013
May 2, 2013
The following is our monthly review of incidences of xenophobia and radical nationalism, along with any government countermeasures, for April 2013. The review is based on material gathered by Sova Center in the course of its daily monitoring.
This month, no fewer than 15 people were injured in racist or neo-Nazi attacks in Moscow (2 wounded), St. Petersburg (2 wounded), Krasnodar (7 wounded), the Rostov region (2 wounded) and the Ryazan region (1 wounded), and Khabarovsk (1 wounded).
As such, so far this year three people have been killed in such attacks in Russia, with 60 injured and at least one person subjected to death threats.
We did not record any incidents of vandalism motivated by hatred or neo-Nazi ideology this month. However, there have been 15 such incidents this year to date.
Around April 20 (Hitler's birthday), as usual, a number of neo-Nazi incidents took place. This year we recorded banners featuring portraits of Hitler at football matches, as well as a video portraying the attack against a street sweeper (who in metropolitan Russia are often immigrants). In St. Petersburg, three young men described as "looking like skinheads" attacked two men of "non-Slavic appearance."
Russian ultraright activists held their most significant events on consecutive days this month - the 'Russian Day of Wrath' on April 13 and 'Say YES to Visas' on April 14. The reason for the first demonstration was the March 28 death of FC Rostov fan Aleksandr Terekhov, who was killed in a brawl with people from the Caucasus. Rallies were held in several cities, but none of them drew notable crowds outside Moscow, where about 200 attended.
As for 'Say YES to Visas,' about 500 attended in Moscow. Meanwhile, pickets were held in Barnaul, Lipetsk, Novosibirsk, Pskov, Rostov-on-Don, St. Petersburg, Syktyvkar and Ufa on the same topic. The actions were organized by the National Democratic Party, the 'Russians' association, 'Common Cause', Human Rights Center ROD and the Russian AllNational Union. Media coverage was extensive, including on the various federal television stations. For example, leader of nationalist party 'New Force' Valery Solovey was featured in programs on Channel 1, TVC and NTV.
These campaigns were held in explicit competition with each other.
The extreme right faced considerable confusion in the ranks after the April 11 arrest of Georgy Borovikov and two accomplices on charges of torture and forcible detention of a "companion."
April 2013 saw no fewer than three convictions racist hate crimes - in St. Petersburg, the Samara region and the Stavropol Krai. Three people were convicted. Additionally, the Irkutsk Regional Court ruled on April 2 in the case against Artem Anufriev and Nikita Lytkin, members of the Irkutsk 'Molotochniki' gang who were accused of various attacks in Irkutsk's Akademgorodok between November 2010 and April 2011.
As such, from the beginning of the year there have been no fewer than 12 convictions for hate crimes, against 18 individuals in 10 regions of the country.
For xenophobic propaganda in April 2013, we recorded at least four rulings against as many individuals, in the Voronezh and Kemerov regions, as well as the Khabarovsk and Stavropol krais.
As such, there have been 23 convictions against as many people, in 20 regions of Russia, for xenophobic propaganda since the beginning of the year.
The Federal List of Extremist Materials was updated five times this month - on April 1, 3, 8, 9 and 18 - with the addition of entries 1764-1802. The new additions include several articles from an Oryol region online encyclopedia; a series of unidentified xenophobic videos and texts from social network VKontakte; several racist audio and video clips (including the Zyklon B song 'Dead Jew,' which had already been banned); the book Jewish France by late19th-early 20-century French political writer Edouard Drumont; issues of the Hizb ut-Tahrir party's magazine al-Vay; and various Islamic pamphlets as well as materials printed by Islamist militant groups.
Moscow Nationalists Come Out for May Day 2013
May 6, 2013
Far-right groups organized two May Day actions this year in Moscow, with both taking place on May 1, 2013.
The first was a mass procession beginning at the Oktyabrskoe Polye Metro stop and ending at the Schukinskaya Metro stop along Marshal Biruzov Street and the Marshal Vasilievsky Street. Based on Sova's observation, roughly 500 people attended.
Nationalist leaders Dmitri Demushkin, Aleksandr Belov, Vladimir Tor and Roman Zheleznov were all present. Before the procession began, members of the "ethnopolitical" group 'Russians' held banners advertising the group and handed out group materials as well as those from the ROD human rights center.
The march was led, as is tradition, by the Union of Orthodox Banner Bearers (which on this occasion consisted of only a few people). This group was followed by a car playing music, and behind that, about twenty people carried a giant flag of the Russian Imperial tricolor, a mainstay at far-right rallies. Then came a column made up of Nationalists party members, and members of 'Russians,' who carried a banner reading "Moscow is a Russian city!" After these were two men with drums, a column of the 'Restructure!' movement and its 'Phoenix' project and the 'Russian runners' carrying banners reading "Sport, Nation, Socialism" and "Sport, Family, Socialism;" while members of 'Russian Murom' carried a banner reading "Our wisdom is sobriety." Members of 'Russian Khimki' were accompanied by bagpipes and drums. The procession was concluded by a column of 'Russians' members carrying a banner reading "Tomorrow belongs to us."
Other banners on view read "National socialism is order," "Russian time: 14/88," "Russians against the northwestern chord," "Shame on Deputy Katz, the friend of illegals" and others featuring the portraits of various ultra-right 'prisoners of conscience.'
Participants shouted "Our honor is called belief," "Our opinion is not a crime," "Peace, labor, May! Guest worker, leave!" (which, in Russian, rhymes while also making use of the German term Gastarbeiter), "Our help is called sobriety," "Higher, higher Russian flag, the government is the main enemy!" (also rhyming), "To Russians a Russian Moscow - cancel 282!" (also rhyming, meaning art. 282 of Criminal Code on hate speech). Autonomous ultraright activists chanted "No red scum, no black mud," referring to the colors used by antifascists. The neo-Nazi 'Restructure!' movement chanted "If you don't' want us to carry knives, introduce visa regulalation."
At the end of the procession participants held a brief rally welcoming a speech by Belov, after which they directed their attention to Zheleznov (AKA Zuhel) and Demushkin.
A concert featuring well-known ultraright bands (Julia Andreeva, Shepot Run (Whispers of the Runes) and Kolovrat) followed.
The action at Lublino under the name Russian Spring, which was organized by the Russian Action Coalition (a project of the Great Russia party and the Minin-Pozharsky militia) was, predictably, much smaller - about 150 people attended.
The crowd was dominated by members of Andrey Saveliev's Great Russia party, with about 30 people making up the group. Observers also noted members of the group For Responsible Government (formerly the Army of the People's Will), with about 15-20 people; as well as a column of members of the Russian Right Party (RPP) who held an image of the kolovrat; activists from the Minin-Pozharsky militia (NOMP); members of Mikhail Nazarov's Union of the Russian People (SRN); the Will party; the Russian Rescue Committee; a few Cossacks and two men carrying portraits of Tsar Nicholas II.
Black Hundreds activists handed out campaign literature before the march began.
Expanding the banner with a 'Russian March,' activists gathered around a drum beat near the rear. First came standard-bearers of participant groups. Demonstrators shouted "Freedom to Kvachkov," "Freedom to Khabarov," "Freedom to Borovikov" (though this one was not particularly active, as many probably did not know who he is) and "Freedom to Strigin."
After the procession, representatives of the majority of the participating groups held a meeting.
Andrey Saveliev (of Great Russia party) criticized government policies, as well as former comrades who had participated in the general opposition movement typified by the white ribbon. Nikita Borisenko, an associate of the recently-arrested Pamyat leader Georgy Borovikov, urged the audience to join the Russian Action Coalition. Nadezhda Kvachkova called for a fight to pursue the case against Colonel Kvachkov (her husband) and for his release and that of his comrades. ROD human rights center leader Natalia Kholmogorova caused laughter in the crowd when she claimed, among other things, that the rally had gathered a thousand of people. Kirill Barabash (of For Responsible Government) called for violence against sitting officials.
Other speakers included Andrey Pakhomov (Great Russia), V. Istarkhov (speaking on behalf of the Russian Human Rights League), Valery Erchak (SRN), Alexander Amelin (Russian Renaissance), Nikolai Mishustin (the director of the Moscow City Duma working group for the protection of families and children from 'juvenile technologies'), and others. Yuri Yekishev (of NOMP) gave the final speech.
In addition to these demonstrations, some nationalists took part in the traditional Communist Party May Day rally, spreading anti-Semitic newspapers, primarily last year's: Our Fatherland, Sanctuary and others. Representatives of the group For Responsible Government were at this demonstration as well.
Pussy Riot Indictment Posted
May 7, 2013
On June 5, Mark Feigin, counsel to Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, posted on his blog that Russian authorities decided on May 28 to prosecute his client under Part 2 of Article 213 of the Criminal Code (hooliganism committed by a group of persons by prior conspiracy of hate) over her alleged participation in Pussy Riot's punk prayer at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. The indictment includes troubling passages that seem to be in direct conflict with elements of the Russian Constitution.
According to the text of the preliminary indictment, Tolokonnikova stands accused not only of being motivated by religious hatred, but also the hatred of a specific social group: Orthodox believers.
We emphasize once again our position that the prosecution of Pussy Riot on criminal charges is an illegitimate use of Russian law. Sova does not see in the actions of the punk prayer's participants any demonstration of religious hatred, that is, neither of hatred towards the Russian Orthodoxy or its adherents. The authors of the song played at the punk prayer at most delivered a strongly-worded but personal criticism of Patriarch Kirill for his support of the sitting Russian government. However, the song not only does not contain calls to violence against the Orthodox Church, but also lacks any criticism of the religion itself or its believers.
As an alternative, the behavior demonstrated in the punk prayer would qualify its participants for legal prosecution under Part 2 of Article 5.26 of the Administrative Code (insulting citizens' religious sensibilities, or the desecration of venerated objects, signs and ideologically symbolic emblems).
We would like to draw special attention to the text of the indictment itself. One would assume that a ruling decree on the accused would be included among the case's legal documents, and as such must be based on legal arguments contained in Russian legislation. However, the charges against Tolokonnikova clearly do not comply with Article 14 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, which establishes a secular state. As such, deliberating on religious matters is outside the competence of the court. Nevertheless, the indictment accuses the defendants of "opposing themselves to the Orthodox world," as well as "neglect of the religious rules of behavior" through their "humiliation of religious landmarks of Orthodox faithful citizens." The indictment goes on to state that Pussy Riot demonstrated "contempt of society" through its "opposition to the Orthodox Church itself in society," and caused "significant damage to the sacred values of Christian ministry," by "infringing on the sacramental mystery of the church," and humiliating in a "blasphemous manner the centuries-old principles and basic guidelines" of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The construction of a criminal case on such decidedly non-secular arguments shows only a complete lack of professionalism in the investigation.
Feigin's post follows news the previous day that certain case materials were isolated in a separate proceeding, allowing the Investigative Committee to probe for anything that would qualify Maria Alekhina, Ekaterina Samutsevich and Tolokonnikova for charges under Article 282 of the Criminal Code (inciting hatred or enmity, as well as the humiliation of human dignity).
Sova finds it important to note that charges under Article 282 may not be filed in addition to the present charges relating to the punk prayer, as Russian law prohibits condemnation of the same act twice under separate articles of the Criminal Code. However, each of the defendants may be charged for other actions linked to the punk prayer, as may other individuals for supporting the group.
Russia's Putin Warns Of Afghan Threat
RFE/RL, May 8, 2013
President Vladimir Putin says Russia must strengthen security in its southern regions and work with Central Asian allies to protect itself against the threat of extremist violence emerging from Afghanistan.
Putin told a Security Council meeting on May 8 that the presence of NATO-led forces in Afghanistan had not stemmed the threats in that country and there was a danger of Afghanistan's problems spilling over its borders.
"Foreign, primarily U.S.-led military forces have not yet achieved a breakthrough in the fight against terrorist and radical groups [in Afghanistan]. There is every reason to believe that in the near future we may face a worsening of the situation," Putin said.
"International terrorist and radical groups do not hide their plans to export instability and they will probably try to move their subversive activities to bordering countries."
Russia supported the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 but has expressed concern that threats to its security could increase following the planned withdrawal of most foreign troops from the country by the end of 2014.
Putin called on members of Russia's Security Council to start taking measures now to confront a range of potential threats in the future.
"We need to strengthen the security system in the strategic southern area, including its military component, make use of the full arsenal of preventive measures, as well as the potential of the CSTO [Collective Security Treaty Organization] and SCO [Shanghai Cooperation Organization], Putin said.
"We need to reinforce protection of state borders, step up migration controls, accelerate the supply of modern collective operational deployment equipment, and exponentially increase the effectiveness of work to stem drug trafficking."
Putin also said international forces had "done practically nothing to eradicate drug production in Afghanistan" and warned of the threat of increased drug trafficking and a flow of illegal migrants.
With reporting by Reuters and ITAR-TASS
Youths Attack Migrant Workers in Moscow Region Town
The Moscow Times, Issue 5125
May 13, 2013
A mass brawl broke out in the Moscow region town of Chekhov late Sunday, when local youths attacked Central Asian migrant workers playing football after work.
As a result of the attack, five Central Asian workers were hospitalized, four with gunshot wounds and one with severe injuries caused by a blunt object, a police source told Interfax.
The police source said that law enforcement couldn't explain the attack.
The youths used air guns and other objects close at hand during the fight, the source said, adding that most of the victims are from Tajikistan.
The Federal Security Service is tracing the suspected attackers, a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry said.
Russia, China can make world better together - Patriarch Kirill
Interfax-Religion, May 13, 2013
Beijing, May 13, Interfax - Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia went up the section of the Great Wall of China close to Beijing on Saturday.
On the Great Wall of China, a person not only touches the history and culture of China, but also "the very spirit of China" and can understand the Chinese nation and its traditions, the patriarch told the reporters who accompanied him.
"That, of course, makes us respect our great neighbor a lot," Patriarch Kirill said.
The patriarch also said Russia has manifested the strength of the spirit of its people in the wars in which it fought, especially in the exploration of Siberia, "which demanded great effort and has astounded and still astounds many people."
"Our nations touch here, in the Far East. For this reason, by combining our efforts we should work together for the goof future of our peoples and the whole world," Patriarch Kirill said.
Russian Ultrationalists Allegedly Involved In High-Profile Killings Detained
RFE/RL, May 13, 2013
Two members of a Russian ultranationalist group allegedly involved in high-profile killings have been arrested in Serbia and Ukraine.
Russia's Investigative Committee spokesman said on May 13 that Ilya Gorycahev was arrested in Serbia, while Mikhail Volkov was detained in Ukraine.
The two activists, who belong to the "Militant Organization of Russian Nationalists" (BORN) were allegedly involved in the murders of a Moscow City Court judge, Eduard Chuvashov, in April 2010 and lawyer Stanislav Markelov in January 2009.
The two men have also been implicated in the killings of three antifascist activists and four Russian citizens from the Caucasus.
The pair have been accused of at least two attempted murders, the organization of an extremist group, and the illegal possession and distribution of weapons.
Russian authorities are working on the extradition of both men.
Based on reporting by Interfax and ITAR-TASS
Man killed in South Russia 'for being gay' - investigators
RIA Novosti, May 13, 2013
Russian investigators confirmed on Monday a man beaten to death last week in Volgograd, south Russia, was the victim of a homophobic gang.
The naked body of the 23-year-old man with various injuries, including to his genitalia, was found in the courtyard of an apartment building on May 10, the day after Russia celebrated Victory Day marking the end of World War II.
The victim's skull was smashed with a 20-kilogram (44 pound) rock and he appeared to have been raped with beer bottles, regional media said. The report said the suspects also tried to burn the body but failed to do so.
"The motive for the crime was the [victim's] non-traditional sexual orientation," senior regional investigator Andrei Gapchenko said, adding two suspected attackers have been arrested and another man is a witness in the case.
The suspects are a 22-year-old man, who studied with the victim at school, and his 27-year-old friend, who was previously jailed for theft. The latter has admitted his guilt, investigators said.
The statement is a rare attribution by Russian law enforcement authorities of homophobia as a motive. Gay activists claim information citing homophobia as a motive often disappears from investigation documents and such killings are investigated simply as domestic crimes.
A murder investigation has been launched. If convicted, the attackers face up to 15 years in jail.
Xenophobes may be prohibited from holding official positions
May 13, 2013
MOSCOW - The Regional Development Ministry has proposed prohibiting people who make xenophobic statements from holding official positions, Izvestia newspaper writes on Monday.
In addition, it has also proposed that acting officials be fired for making intolerant statements.
The ministry believes that this could help prevent religious and ethnic conflicts.
Izvestia writes that Vladimir Golik, acting head of the Regional Development Ministry's department of ethnic relations, held a meeting in April to discuss a government strategy of ethnic relations. It was proposed that those who make inappropriate statements about people of other nationalities or faiths should be prohibited from civil service posts.
The ministry's proposals have been forwarded to the government, the newspaper writes.
According to the current federal law on state civil service, people holding dual citizenship, those with an outstanding conviction, as well as several other categories are not allowed to hold official positions.
Moscow Rejects Request for Gay Parade
The Moscow Times, May 14, 2013 | Issue 5125
Moscow city authorities said Tuesday that they would not authorize a gay pride parade planned for later this month.
"From our point of view, there is no need for such events in the city," said Alexei Mayorov, head of City Hall's security department and Moscow's pointman on approving rallies, Interfax reported.
He said gay activists would be officially notified about the rejection Wednesday.
On Monday, gay activists applied for official permission to hold a parade, picket and meeting on May 25, saying they would take to the streets irrespective of whether authorities grant permission.
Every year since 2006, when the first request was filed, Moscow authorities have refused to grant permission for a gay pride parade.
Gay activists said Monday that St. Petersburg authorities had sanctioned a gay rights rally, despite the city's highly publicized law against "homosexual propaganda."
St. Petersburg officials had not confirmed the statement.
In January, the State Duma voted almost unanimously in favor of a federal bill similar to the St. Petersburg legislation that imposes fines for promoting homosexual behavior among minors.
Further inflaming the gay rights issue, a gay young man was brutally killed in a homophobic attack in Volgograd this past week.
Moscow Mayor's Office says no gay pride parade
Interfax-Religion, May 15, 2013
Moscow, May 15, Interfax - Moscow authorities have officially banned sexual minorities from holding a gay pride parade on May 25 and a picket on May 26.
"We have prepared documents and are sending them with a refusal to hold these events to all the requests organizers had submitted," head of the Moscow city administration's regional security department Alexey Mayorov told Interfax on Wednesday.
"According to the Russian law, we have to work accurately and consistently to follow the morals, to guide ourselves at bringing up patriotic feelings in the growing generation, not at unclear aspirations, not to mention taking the city's central squares and streets for this," Mayorov has told.
"From our point of view, holding such events in the city is not necessary," the official said.
A request for holding a gay parade in the Russian capital on May 25 was submitted to the Moscow Mayor's Office on May 13. Parade organizer, Nikolay Alexeyev, said that the event would be held as a march and a rally. Gay activists later submitted a request to hold a picket in one of Moscow's "Hyde Parks."
Mayorov's deputy, Vasily Oleynik, has just told Interfax that it was impossible to hold the gay pride picket due to events related to the Farewell Bell Day schools were having.
In the past years, the authorities banned all of the requests of sexual minorities to conduct public events.
Serbia must not loosen ties with Russia in seeking to join EU - patriarch
Interfax-Religion, May 15, 2013
Belgrade, May 7, Interfax - The primate of the Serbian Orthodox Church has insisted that Serbia must not loosen its ties with "great Russia" in pursuing its bid to join the European Union.
"I hope that our political leaders know how to find a bridge into Europe that would guarantee peaceful and stable development for our society and nation. On the other hand, there exist old bridges to our brothers, the Russian people, and to great Russia, and, thank God, these bridges, which have been there for many centuries, are always open to us," Patriarch Irinej told the Serbian newspaper Vecernje Novosti.
He complained about alleged discrimination of ethnic Serb populations in the neighboring former Yugoslav countries of Montenegro, Croatia and Macedonia.
He cited a 1909 census as showing 90% of the population of Montenegro being Serb and said that in 2011 Serbs made up less than 29%. "That is 'political and cultural engineering,' but, to put it in a straightforward way, it's brutal coercion," he said.
In Croatia, a Catholic bishop was against a proposal for allowing the Cyrillic alphabet to be used in Vukovar, a city where Serbs make up a large proportion of the population, Irinej said.
The patriarch also accused Croatian politicians of encouraging alleged discrimination against Serbs, including their being unjustly denied jobs and their problems recovering property taken away from them.
In Macedonia, the local Orthodox clergy and community are persecuted "just for not wanting to live in schism," he said.
In talking about Serbia, he cited the latest census as showing 95% of the country's population being believers and 85% of them being Orthodox Christian.
Nevertheless, the restitution of church property that was nationalized a long time ago remains a major problem, according to the patriarch.
"Symphony between state and church is, unfortunately, not what exists today," he said.
Russian analysts: immigrants, guest workers fertile ground for radical Islamism
Interfax-Religion, May 15, 2013
Moscow, May 15, Interfax - The head of a Russian policy think tank has argued that immigrants and guest workers who have come to Russia from Muslim republics of the former Soviet Union are potentially a fertile environment for radical Islamist ideas and called for tighter restrictions on immigration and guest labor.
"The migrants are hostile toward the society they have ended up in. This is a splendid environment for the dissemination of religion-based fascist ideology," Mikhail Remizov, president of the National Strategy Institute, told a news conference at the Interfaxheadquarters in Moscow in presenting a report on ethnic and religious threats in Russia's North Caucasus and Volga Area.
He said Russia's government today calls mass immigration guest labor a problem though a year and a half ago it didn't.
"Some measures are being taken, tiny little moves. These moves are absolutely insufficient ways to solve the problem of mass migration," Remizov said. "It's impossible to get anything done without a visa regime and serious pressure on employers."
He attacked the relatively loose immigration laws. "Legally, instead of making it easier for Russian speakers [ethnic Russians from other countries] to obtain [Russian] citizenship there will be something completely different - easier naturalization for citizens of the former USSR. This can only be changed by revising the law on compatriots [ethnic Russians living outside Russia]," he said.
Besides tighter limits on immigration, he suggested that the Kremlin end its alleged practice of connivance at radical Islamism, and that Russia fight alleged discrimination against ethnic Russian communities in former Soviet republics.
Roman Silantyev, a religious research specialist and lecturer at one of Moscow's universities, suggested banning Wahhabism as an essential way to fend off the alleged threat of radical Islamism being disseminated in Russia.
"A ban would at least make this possible. Fortunately, it's still curable," he told the news conference.
The head of the Volga Centre for Regional and Ethno-Religious Studies of the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies, Rais Suleimanov, said radical Islamism is spreading in the Volga area and that this has brought into being a situation there that is similar to that in the North Caucasus 15 years ago.
"It seems that this scenario will reach Siberia, where hotbeds are arising already," he told the news conference.
Russia Expels U.S. Embassy Employee For Spy Recruitment
RFE/RL, May 15, 2013
Russia has ordered an alleged agent of the United States' Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to leave the country.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said on May 14 that the man, identified as Ryan Christopher Fogle, must return to the United States "as soon as possible."
It added that "such provocative actions in the spirit of the Cold War will by no means promote the strengthening of mutual trust" between Moscow and Washington.
Russia's Federal Security Service earlier said Fogle was detained overnight for allegedly trying to recruit a Russian counterterrorism officer who specializes in the volatile Caucasus region in southern Russia.
The region includes Chechnya, where the two Boston Marathon bombing suspects had their ethnic roots.
Russian state TV showed pictures of the man it identified as Fogle. It also displayed objects said to belong to him, including two wigs, a compass, a map of Moscow, a pocket knife, three pairs of sunglasses, and envelopes containing 500 euro notes.
The report said Fogle worked "undercover" as third secretary of the U.S. Embassy's political section.
The State Department on May 14 only confirmed that Fogle worked as an embassy employee but wouldn't give any details about his employment record or responsibilities in Russia.
"We can confirm that an officer of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow was briefly detained and was released. We have seen the Russian Foreign Ministry announcement and we have no further comment at this time," a U.S. State Department spokesperson, Patrick Ventrell, told reporters in Washington.
The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul to appear on May 15 in connection with the case.
McFaul said he would not comment on the spying allegation. He also declined to comment on the case during a Q&A session on Twitter on May 14.
Despite the end of the Cold War, Russia and the United States still maintain active espionage operations against each other.
Fogle was the first American diplomat to be publicly accused of spying in Russia in about a decade.
Last year, several Russians were convicted in separate cases of spying for the United States and sentenced to lengthy prison sentences.
With reporting by Interfax, AP, Reuters, mid.ru, and AFP
II SURVEYS, ANALYSES, COMMENTS
Book review of: The Quest for an Ideal Youth in Putin's Russia I & II
By Regina Smyth, Indiana University
Anthropology of East Europe Review 31 (1), Spring 2013, pp. 152-154
[- The Quest for an Ideal Youth in Putin's Russia I. Back to our Future! History, Modernity and Patriotism According to Nashi, 2015‐2012. By Ivo Mijnssen. Stuttgart: ibidem‐Verlag, 2012. 215pp. Bibliography. Index. Appendix I. Appendix II. Paperback.
- The Quest for an Ideal Youth in Putin's Russia II. The search for Distinctive Conformism in the Political Communication of Nashi, 2005‐2009. By Jussi Lassila. Stuttgart: ibidem‐Verlag, 2012. 205 pp. Bibliography. Paperback.]
In 2005, the Kremlin's grey cardinal, Vladislav Surkov, orchestrated the formation of a youth organization, Nashi, in order to counter youth apathy and the potential for opposition protest in Russia's capital. By 2013, Mr. Surkov, was dismissed from his position as the daunting architect of the political strategy that guided the first decade of Putin's rule. Nashi's founder, Vassily Iakamenko, registered a new political party named Smart Start that quickly failed. Most importantly, the Nashi existed in name only, eclipsed by competing youth organizations, including Stal', the Young Guard, and the multi-headed All-Russian Youth Society. Against this vast shift in the political landscape, two complementary studies exploring the arc of Nashi's development appeared under the common title, The Quest for an Ideal Youth in Putin's Russia. Together, these significant works by Jussi Lassila and Ivo Mijnssen illuminate the persistent central tension inherent in Putinism, the negotiation of the line between modernization (openness) and stability (state control). Further, demonstrate how this tension produced Nashi's downfall. There are a number of similarities across these paired studies. Both authors begin with the premise that while Nashi began as a state project, the state did not dictate its development. The organization was shaped by contextual and political factors-from historical referents to internal conflicts-that led to insurmountable contradictions and, ultimately, the demise of the movement. Both authors develop theoretic frames that rest in social theory, although their references are quite diverse. Both test their theoretic frames with evidence drawn from Nashi's official materials and interviews with group members. They develop their narratives around common focal points, notably the removal of the Bronze Soldier statue in Estonia in 2007. Yet, the pairing of the books is particularly effective because their distinct emphases provide a rich picture of youth politics and, more generally, the evolution of the Putinism between 2005 and 2012. Lassila relies on Pierre Bourdieu's concept of cultural production to illuminate the tension between the image required of Nashi by the central state and the image the organization produced. The tension originates in Nashi's need to package the Kremlin's message into an image that can mobilize Russia's apolitical youth. To illustrate the conflict that emerges from this inherent contradiction, Lassila interrogates Nashi's core documents its manifesto and recruiting materials. A number of striking findings emerge from the study. The first finding is the careful excavation of a very self-conscious and contentious process of constructing a new political reality for young Russians that would provide both a model to aspire to and also allow them to function effectively in the post-Soviet society. Within Nashi, these efforts take many forms, including Internet appeals, patriotic fashion, and emotional entreaties. Yet, Lassila effectively demonstrates that this process failed in large part because it was bounded by Soviet-era language and symbols that did not easily adapt to new situations and highlighted profound contractions between tradition and modernity, young and old. More broadly, Lassila's study of Nashi underscores the difficulty Russian youth face when talking about common opposition to youth policies or political elites. Absent permission to discuss politics within acceptable boundaries, youth are left to perform their protest or employ humor to diminish the potential consequences. As a result, the transfer of symbols, meanings, and worldviews from the adult world of the Kremlin to a new generation of youth proved ineffective. Mijnssen provides a rich contextualization of Nashi rooted in the broader project of Putinism. The evidence presented in the study not only draws on Nashi's internal documents but the speeches and statements of Mr. Surkov and Mr. Putin. Mijnssen argues that the core of the Putin project is to create a new identity or national dignity rooted in a shared myth of enemies that define Russians. Nashi's task was to generate this identity for Russia's youth through a variety of functions, from street actions to patriotic education. Nashi's discourse identified a wide range of potential enemies including Western-leaning liberals, fascist and ultranationalists within Russia, and foreign threats beyond the border. Mijnssen demonstrates that Nashi's discourse parallels Mr. Putin's own core themes: to safeguard Russia, promote modernization, and build civil society. These goals are in service to the building of a Great Russian state. Yet, Mijnssen strongly argues that this understanding fails to capture the deeper issue of how Russians relate to these constructed enemies. A crucial element in Nashi's downfall has been its inability to channel the new nationalism away from antagonistic and violent actions that have discredited it in the eyes of the population and national leaders. The extraordinarily interesting chapter focusing on Seliger, the famed summer camp of the Nashi organization drives home the difficulty that Nashi had in providing effective political education. Mijnssen identifies a host of problems that thwart the goals of the camp, including disorganization, hierarchy, internal conflict, and the preferences of the campers themselves. On the whole, Nashi failed to channel the passions of youth in the service of the state, severely weakening its position in the political structure. Together, these studies use the lens of the Nashi to provide a strong caution against overstating the capacity of the Kremlin to dictate outcomes in contemporary Russia. They effectively demonstrate the myriad of structural and political obstacles that undermine state hegemony. Moreover, they do so in the case where we might expect it would be difficult to find strong evidence of discord between the center and its client organizations. The findings presented here suggest that further studies of Nashi's rank and file members or regional organizations would provide even greater insights into the evolution of Putinism and youth policy. These books provide an excellent first step in this project and will be important reading for research scholars and students who are trying to understand the dynamics of the Putin system.
Linguistic Discrimination in Modern Ukraine: While Russia accuses Ukraine of "forced Ukrainization", Ukrainian-speakers face discrimination today, just like they did in times of colonial dependence
By Oleksandr Kramar
The Ukrainian Week, April 30, 2013 ▪
The campaign to promote the Russian language in Ukraine is escalating. This has been possible because the domination of Russian and discrimination against Ukrainian continued after the collapse of the USSR and Ukraine gained independence. This is the product of Ukraine's colonial past: in the Russian Empire and the USSR, switching to Russian was key to social, financial or political success for Ukrainians. Today, Russian still dominates business and the mass media. Most books and publications, other than school books, are still printed in Russian. Although the Constitution states otherwise, most middle and top civil servants speak Russian informally, only switching to Ukrainian for official occasions. Many universities, especially technical ones, lecture in Ukrainian while workshops, practical classes and consultations with students - a major portion of academic process - are often in Russian. As a result, Ukrainian-speaking students have no access to education in their native language in a number of areas.
A homely language
Nationally, the share of those who speak Ukrainian in everyday life and at home grew from 36.8% to 42.8% over 1992-2011 compared to 29% to 38.6% for Russian, reports the Sociology Institute of the National Academy of Sciences. This change is owing to people who previously said that they spoke both languages at home - their share decreased from 32% to 17.1%. The switch to one language - Ukrainian - only prevails in Western Ukraine, while Russification has occurred elsewhere: 4% of the 5% of bilingual people in Central Ukraine switched to Russian; 9% of 10% in Southern Ukraine. Meanwhile, the newly-bilingual group is mostly comprised of Ukrainian-speakers. According to SOCIS surveys from April 2002 that correlate with the findings of the national census held several months earlier, the group of people using two languages mostly comprises those who list Ukrainian as their native language. Overall, 65% of those surveyed indicated Ukrainian as their native language compared to 34% for Russian. Meanwhile, 34% said they spoke only Russian everywhere, while the group of Ukrainian-speakers split into 44% for those who spoke Ukrainian only and 21% of those who switched back and forth depending on circumstances. The share of young and middle-aged bilinguals who switched to Russian in everyday life was several times higher than that of the same-age bilinguals who gave preference to Ukrainian. According to a research by the National Institute for Strategic Studies, this is mostly because Ukrainian-speakers are reluctant to be treated like black sheep in a predominantly Russian-speaking environment. The research also points out that Ukrainian-speaking youth switch to Russian more readily when spoken to in it compared to their young Russian-speaking compatriots, especially in South-Eastern Ukraine.
In some cities, like Odesa, local authorities conduct targeted Russification policy despite the fact that 46.3% of the city and multinational oblast population list Ukrainian as their native language. Solomia Zakharia, a Drohobych-born student who is getting her degree in history in Odesa, has sometimes experienced discrimination as a Ukrainian-speaker. "You're considered a nationalist, a Bandarite if you speak Ukrainian," she quotes a wide-spread opinion. "Sometimes people tell me to speak Russian to them because they don't understand Ukrainian." Yet, Solomia believes that everyone in Odesa understands Ukrainian, even if some pretend they don't.
Switching from one language to another is not a sign of courtesy, says sociolinguist Larysa Masenko. "There is an established Russian-speaking environment in big cities and it exerts pressure on people," she claims. "They think that they will not belong to it if they speak Ukrainian." Born to the family of Teren Masenko, poet and author of the memoirs about the writers of the Shot Renaissance, Larysa was raised in a Ukrainian-speaking environment at home amidst the deeply Russified Kyiv. By her teenage years, Larysa spoke Russian more than she did Ukrainian. She made her deliberate choice in favour of Ukrainian later. Very often, people raised in Ukrainian-speaking families who switch to Russian at a young age have a much harder time switching back as adults. By that time, they are already involved in a community that starts treating them differently. "Most prefer to blend in society. They don't have the courage to stand out, if only linguistically," says psychologist Hanna Boichenko. Moreover, people seek comfort and tend to be lazy, while cultivating a new language habit requires constant control over the speaking process.
The Russian language is mostly used by default in communication in all big cities other than those in Western Ukraine, and most smaller ones. For instance, whenever you call a mobile operator or visit a restaurant or a store, the staff will most likely speak Russian to you - few will switch to Ukrainian if asked. In many cases, such requests are ignored, often defiantly, as the staff is reluctant to speak in a "second-rate" language. "I've been ignoring products with no Ukrainian labels, and restaurants with no menus in Ukrainian for three years now," says Dmytro Dyvnych, the founder of the They'll Get It Anyway! Facebook community. Its members write requests, letters and complaints to companies asking them to use the official state language when operating in Ukraine. Online companies and software developers are also among the top violators of the rights of Ukrainain-speakers.A vast majority of business owners, as well as top and middle managers today are from the Russian-speaking environment. Ukrainian-speaking employees coming to work at such businesses are forced to switch to Russian in order to have career prospects - just as they did under the Russian Empire or the USSR. Ukrainians who have little command of Russian or refuse to speak it, often fail to get a job. Olena Voronova had this experience when she applied for a waitress position at a Kyiv coffee shop. The administrator told her that she should switch to Russian if she wanted to work there.
Sociological surveys show a huge gap between the number of those who speak Ukrainian at home and those who also use it at work and in public. For Kyiv, this is about 50% and 20% accordingly. This can only be explained by the inferiority complex that has been implanted in several generations, paradoxically making many Ukrainians the drivers of Russification today.
More importantly, many primary and secondary schools in cities and towns de facto remain Russian-speaking by inertia, even though Ukrainian de jure. Thus, Ukrainian-speaking children do not speak their native language to avoid rejection by the rest. The staff in educational institutions often speaks Russian. As a result, children grow up with the concept that Ukrainian is the language to be used within the family, especially with their grandparents. The situation in education has encouraged activists of the Don't Be Indifferent! initiative to launch Creative Modern Words, a campaign to show school students that reading in Ukrainian and speaking it is good - and very happening.
Mass culture and media are another source of influence on linguistic preferences, especially with young people. In Ukraine's underdeveloped media and book market, a handful of monopolist media owners - predominantly Russians or their Russian-speaking top managers - essentially shape the demand for media and printed products produced en masse by their businesses and sold at knockdown prices. Since they are unprofitable, these businesses require subsidies from the owners, and the latter are willing to support them, using them as mouthpieces rather than commercial projects. As a result, it is not demand that shapes supply, but the supply produced under a dumping policy that essentially generates demand.
The disappearance of Ukrainian from a large part of the country today - a process that looks natural to a contemporary observer - is the product of the large-scale campaign to Russify Ukraine and discriminate its own language, which was launched in its colonial past. However, even today, according to the census, Ukrainian is considered to be the native language of over 2/3 of the population and surveys show that more than 50% speak it in everyday life. According to surveys conducted by the Institute of Social and Political Psychology, 44.7% of those polled felt that it was the Ukrainian language that was suffering from discrimination - both in Soviet times, and now - and that it needs government protection and support. 25.3% said this about Russian in Ukraine.
Today, there is hardly any Ukrainian-speaking show business or television in Ukraine. According to research by the Space of Freedom volunteer campaign, the top eight Ukrainian TV channels broadcasted only 22.2% of their prime time content in Ukrainian in October 2011. Only 4.6% of songs played by the top six radio stations were in Ukrainian. The share of films dubbed into Ukrainian shrank to 47.8% in 2011. The total print run of Ukrainian-language newspapers dropped to 30%. In 2012, books and brochures published in Russian in Ukraine, save for those imported from Russia, exceeded the number of those published in Ukrainian. Maksym and Ivanna, a young Kyiv-based couple, are not happy with the situation. "We subscribe to a dozen Ukrainian-language publications," Maksym says. When newspapers and magazines started piling up in the apartment, they thought that they could share them with their neighbours who can't afford them or don't know they exist. Maksym started putting out magazines on the ground floor of their building. "Neighbours take them eagerly," he comments. "We leave them in the morning and they're gone by evening."
A new step to oust Ukrainian
To remove the few legislative barriers to the Russification of Ukraine, passed earlier as requirements and quotas for radio, TV, film distribution, advertising and the public sphere, the Yanukovych regime has bulldozed through a new law On the Principles of Language Policy in 2012. The official motivation was to comply with the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Once enforced, however, it did not protect languages that could disappear in Ukraine. Instead, it facilitates Russification, while ousting Ukrainian and minority languages in Ukraine. The Venice Commission commented that the draft law contradicted the Constitution of Ukraine and posed a threat to the Ukrainian state language, and recommended that it not be approved. Since the President signed the law on August 8, 2012, Russian has been the only language to be made an official language in some regions.
Meanwhile, Mykhailo Chechetov, Deputy Head of the Party of Regions' faction in parliament, disclosed the motivation of the ruling party: "46 million people understand two languages: Russian and Ukrainian. Not Bulgarian, nor Hungarian, nor Romanian, nor Hebrew Only a handful of people understands these languages. We are talking about the two languages that the entire nation understands." Subsequent decisions by local authorities where the Party of Regions prevails, has proven that this is not his personal opinion, but the concept of the party in power. The Ismail City Council in the Odesa Oblast passed a decision on August 15 to make Russian an official regional language, yet refused to grant equal rights to Bulgarian, the language of the ethnic minority that accounts for over 10% of the local population and thus is entitled to having its language as an official regional one under the new law. It's enough that "Russian was and still is the language of inter-ethnic communication in Ismail, home to more than 80 nationalities," commented Ismail Mayor Andriy Abramchenko, who is also in the PR. Another PR member, Andriy Fedoruk, Chairman of Donetsk Oblast Council, warned subordinate town councils that they should "think about funding for such an initiative" if they happen to make, say, Greek an official regional language. Since most local budgets rely on transfers from the oblast treasury, they should obviously take this as a veiled prohibition. Crimea, where the share of ethnic Russians exceeds 50%, has not yet enforced the law. This is probably because authorities are reluctant to grant a relevant status to the Crimean Tartar language which is also entitled to it, given the number of people who speak it.
While local councils are entitled to decide on their official regional language, decisions passed by oblast councils prevail. As a result, the decisions of the latter on Russian as the official regional language automatically cover Ukrainian-speaking rural areas in South-Eastern Ukraine. These include rural parts of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Kherson, Odesa, Zaporizhia and Mykolayiv Oblasts. This is where Ukrainian faced greater discrimination even before the law was passed. Between the 1989 and 2001 censuses, the number of Ukrainians in Donetsk Oblast grew by 6.2%, while those listing Ukrainian as their native language decreased by 6.5%. The number of Russians fell by 5.4% - mostly because they moved to Russia after the USSR collapsed, rather than due to assimilation - yet 7.2% more people listed Russian as their native language. In Luhansk Oblast, the number of Ukrainians grew by 6.1% over the same period, while that of Ukrainian-speakers fell by 4.9%. The share of Russians shrank by 5.8% while that of Russian-speakers grew by 4.9%. Other regions where the PR and Communists introduced Russian as an official regional language saw a similar trend.
Nostalgia for the empire
Russia anticipates that the status of the Russian language in Ukraine will reach the level it had during the Soviet era. The frustration of Russia or some pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine with "forced Ukrainization " comes from the reluctance of the representatives of what was once the dominant nation of the empire to accept the status of an ethnic minority rather than from the actual violations of Russians' rights in Ukraine. According to a 2008 survey by the Razumkov Centre, 75.2% of those polled in Crimea said that they were undergoing "forced Ukrainization" while only 17.9% of ethnic Ukrainians in Crimea list Ukrainian as their native language compared to 95% of ethnic Russians who continue to list Russian as theirs. One in every four people in Crimea speaks Ukrainian to some extent, while 43.4% do not understand it at all. The Russian leadership, striving to restore the single Eurasian space, is proactively supporting the frustration of Russian-speakers in post-Soviet states with the rights they now have.
In 2012, Dmitri Medvedev encouraged efforts to promote Russia's interests and influence in the world through the Russian language and people speaking it in everyday life. It looks like the Kremlin and pro-Kremlin forces will only be happy if Russian gets a legitimate dominant status similar to that in Soviet Ukraine or the USSR. This is why overcoming total Russification is a key condition for post-colonial Ukraine to walk away from the sphere of Russian political influence. Many Russian-speakers in Ukraine are subject to an intense media campaign by the Russian government-controlled mass media. As a result, they often still identify themselves with Russia while rejecting Ukrainian identity as such. They do not distinguish between Ukraine and Russia. Meanwhile, many Ukrainians living in Central and Eastern Ukraine, for whom Ukrainian is their native language, speak Russian in everyday life. They would like to switch to Ukrainian, but have no opportunity to do so in this Russified environment. They do not have free access to products and services in Ukrainian. In South-Eastern Ukraine, this is the result of a consistent targeted policy of the Party of Regions that has controlled the region for years. Its members, including Donetsk City Council Secretary Mykola Levchenko, Donetsk Mayor Oleksandr Lukianchenko or Odesa Mayor Oleksiy Kostusiev, often discriminate against Ukrainian in public, saying that "it's only suitable for folklore". "89% of the Odesa population prefers to speak, write and read in Russian," said Kostusiev, to validate Russian as an official language in Odesa at a City Council session on August 13, 2012. Meanwhile, when selecting the language in which their children should be educated, 52% of Odesa parents, whose children were enrolling in first grade, requested Ukrainian. This is clea<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)