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Bulletin 2:19 (2008)

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  • andreumland
    THE RUSSIAN NATIONALISM BULLETIN A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs Vol. 2, No. 19(24), 15 June 2008 Compilers: Scott Littlefield & Andreas Umland I
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 22 4:00 AM
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      THE RUSSIAN NATIONALISM BULLETIN
      A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs
      Vol. 2, No. 19(24), 15 June 2008
      Compilers: Scott Littlefield & Andreas Umland

      I NEWS: 1 - 15 JUNE 2008
      II SURVEYS, ANALYSES, COMMENTS
      III PRIMARY SOURCES
      IV 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
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      ===========================


      I NEWS: 1 - 15 JUNE 2008

      36 detained for attempt to stage gay parade in Moscow
      Interfax, June 2, 2008

      Moscow, June 2, Interfax - Thirty-six people have been detained for an
      attempt to stage gay parade on Tverskaya street in downtown Moscow on
      Sunday, the Information and Public Affairs Department of the Moscow
      Main Police Department told Interfax.
      "Those detained were taken to Moscow police stations, but they are
      likely to be released after receiving routine instruction from police
      officials. No administrative protocols will be drawn up," police said.
      Earlier that day the police have sealed Moscow's Tverskaya square in
      front of the Moscow government headquarters, where gay activists had
      planned to stage an unauthorized rally on Sunday.
      The square has been fenced off and surrounded by regular and riot
      police. Police are also patrolling the entrances to Pushkinskaya and
      Okhotny Ryad metro stations, and a section of Tverskaya street between
      the two stations, an Interfax correspondent reported.
      "Police have detained 15 nationalists, who threatened to throw eggs
      at gay activists, and took them to the local police department," a
      source in law enforcement services told the agency.
      Earlier reports said that members of sexual minority groups plan to
      stage a gay parade in front of the Moscow government building. The
      Moscow authorities said permission for the action had been denied.
      Some of the gay activists had locked themselves in a building on
      Tverskaya street from which they had hung out a poster demanding
      guarantees for the rights of homosexuals and criticizing Moscow mayor
      Yury Luzhkov.
      The young man appeared near the building and told the press that he
      was in contact with the gay activists, who had locked themselves in
      the apartment. He also claimed that an action had been held earlier in
      the day on Nikitskaya street where the gay activists managed to walk
      several hundred meters holding a banner listing their demands.
      As the young man was talking to the press, two young assailants
      attacked him. Both were detained by police.

      http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=4742
      ---------

      Synagogue window frame set on fire in Nizhny Novgorod region
      Interfax, June 2, 2008

      Nizhny Novgorod, June 2, Interfax - A synagogue window frame was set
      on fire on Gastello Street in the town of Dzerzhinsk in the Nizhny
      Novgorod region at 1:27 a.m. Moscow time on Sunday, the regional
      department of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry said.
      "The synagogue is located on the second story of a four-story brick
      building," the department said.
      Presumably, the fire was due to arson, the department said.

      http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=4744
      ----------

      More Antisemitic Vandalism in Nizhny Novgorod
      FSU Monitor, June 3, 2008

      Vandals desecrated 13 Jewish gravestones in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia
      less than a month after a similar incident, according to a May 29,
      2008 report by the web site Jewish.ru. The gravestones are located in
      the city's Leninsky district; the earlier incident took place in the
      Marina Roscha cemetery, where nine gravestones were vandalized. Police
      are investigating both crimes.

      http://www.fsumonitor.com/stories/060308Russia.shtml
      ------------

      Neo-Nazis Attack Anti-Fascists in Bryansk
      FSU Monitor, June 3, 2008

      Neo-Nazis attacked two anti-fascists in Bryansk, Russia according to a
      June 2, 2008 report by the Sova Information-Analytical Center. The two
      activists were participating in a rally to feed homeless people called
      "Food Not Bombs." Participants in similar events have been attacked by
      neo-Nazis throughout Russia, and in some cases killed. One of the
      activists ended up in the hospital with a concussion and a broken
      nose. This is the second time that one of the anti-fascists, Sergey
      Ilyukhin, has been attacked; earlier he was assaulted by a member of
      the Movement Against Illegal Immigration.

      http://www.fsumonitor.com/stories/060308Russ2.shtml
      ----------

      Two Attacks on Foreign Students in St. Petersburg
      FSU Monitor, June 3, 2008

      An Iraqi graduate student was stabbed in St. Petersburg and an African
      student beaten, according to a June 2, 2008 article in the national
      daily Komsomolskaya Pravda. The first attack took place near the
      Baltiyskaya metro station late on the night of June 1. A fourth-year
      foreign student from Africa was beaten and hospitalized with a
      concussion and a broken nose. The day before, an Iraqi graduate
      student, Wasin Abbas, was stabbed on a trolley bus by a man who ran
      off. He was also hospitalized. Police are investigating the attack.
      There was no information in the article about the victims being
      robbed, which makes it possible that the assaults were hate crimes,
      especially given the city's recent history of multiple attacks on
      foreign students.

      http://www.fsumonitor.com/stories/060308Russ3.shtml
      -------------

      Neo-Nazis Convicted in Tatarstan
      FSU Monitor, June 3, 2008

      A group of neo-Nazis were convicted on various charges in the majority
      Muslim Russian republic of Tatarstan. According to a May 26, 2008
      report by the Regions.ru news web site, six members of Russian
      National Unity (RNU) ranging in age from 18 to 32, were given prison
      sentences of up to 7 years after a court found them guilty of
      extremism, inciting ethnic hatred, extortion, assault, and possession
      of explosives. Unusually, the RNU cell was led by a woman--28 year old
      Yekaterina Melnikova.
      According to a May 27, 2008 report by the local newspaper "Vechernyaya
      Kazan," the trial took place with a high degree of secrecy; no
      journalists were allowed to attend the hearings, in contrast to
      "extremism" trials of accused Islamic radicals. The RNU members were
      first charged with "hooliganism" after a violent confrontation in a
      Kazan cemetery in 2006. Police detained three more members of the RNU
      cell after an October 6, 2006 attack on a foreign student from Mali.
      The charges soon escalated to "organizing an extremist organization."
      Further investigation revealed an attack in 2005 on people from the
      Caucasus, and shakedowns of local businessmen. Ms. Melnikova allegedly
      ordered her "comrades" to put together some explosives as a way to
      further intimidate extortion victims. They also allegedly planned to
      attack a police station in Kazan in order to acquire weapons.

      http://www.fsumonitor.com/stories/060308Russ4.shtml
      ------------

      Israeli ambassador surprised that Belarusian militia can't find and
      punish fascists
      Charter 97, June 3, 2008

      Israeli ambassador to Belarus Zeev Ben-Arie doesn't find it necessary
      to compare quantitatively facts of display of anti-Semitism in Belarus
      and the neighbouring countries, paying attention that such cases
      should be criticised and investigated more effectively.
      "I'm not so bewildered at display of anti-Semitism, because there are
      enough hooligans in any country. In this case the position of the
      government is important, its desire and skills to find guilty persons
      and punish them," the ambassador said on the press conference in Minsk.
      In this connection he reminded the cases of vandalism on Jewish
      cemeteries in the republic, picture of swastika on the ghetto monument
      in Slutsk, spreading of leaflets in Vitsebsk on behalf of RNU (Russian
      National Unity). "We expect these facts to be discussed in public by
      high-rank officials, the investigative agencies to investigate, not to
      talk they can't find members of the unregistered RNU because the RNU
      is unregistered organisation," Z. Ben-Arie said.
      "I'm not going to compare anti-Semitism in Russia, Ukraine and here
      in pro cents. It is subjective to rank countries according to the
      level of anti-Semitism. I am more interested that every possible
      should be done for fighting anti-Semitism," the Israeli ambassador
      emphasised.

      http://www.charter97.org/en/news/2008/5/3/6328/
      ----------

      Belarusian KGB Targets Human Rights Activists Instead of Neo-Nazis
      FSU Monitor, June 4, 2008

      After political opposition activists in Vitebsk, Belarus received
      mailed threats from the neo-Nazi group Russian National Unity (RNU)
      and two of them were assaulted, the local KGB reacted by accusing a
      local human rights activist of "inciting ethnic hatred," according to
      a May 27, 2008 report by the Khartiya-97 web site. On May 23, three
      KGB officials burst into the apartment of Leonid Svetka, a human
      rights activist who has aided the targets of the RNU threats in
      writing their appeals to the authorities. The KGB informed him that he
      was a witness in the case and reportedly interrogated him for nine
      hours. They confiscated his computer and files, then took him to the
      station for further interrogation before finally releasing him. Last
      year, Mr. Svetka was pushed out of his teaching job, most likely as a
      result of his human rights work. Boris Khamayda, one of the recipients
      of the RNU's threats, said the following in reaction: "Instead of
      finding the real fascists, the KGB interrogated a man who fights
      against them. This is outrageous! I wouldn't rule out the possibility
      that the KGB has a direct connection to the writing of the letters
      from the neo-fascists"-- a common accusation by Belarusian political
      opposition activists, who have been attacked on several occasions by
      neo- Nazis in recent years.

      http://www.fsumonitor.com/stories/060408Belarus.shtml
      ------------

      Russia's communists condemn Gorbachev's calls for Lenin reburial
      RIA Novosti, June 4, 2008

      ST. PETERSBURG, June 4 (RIA Novosti) - Communists in northwest Russia
      have condemned former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's calls for
      Lenin's body to be moved from his tomb on Red Square and given a
      standard burial.
      Communist Party members in St. Petersburg and the surrounding
      Leningrad Region have demanded that Gorbachev have his Nobel Peace
      Prize, awarded in 1990, taken away for his statements.
      "We will demand that Gorbachev's prize be withdrawn following his
      calls for vandalism of the architectural ensemble on Red Square," a
      party statement said.
      Earlier on Wednesday, Gorbachev told journalists at a news conference
      that the removal and burial of the embalmed body of Bolshevik leader
      Vladimir Lenin was only a question of time.
      "We should not do the grave-digging job right now, but we should
      certainly acknowledge that the mausoleum has lost its importance and
      that Vladimir Ilyich must be buried," Gorbachev said.
      Lenin's body has been on public display in a glass case in a
      mausoleum on Red Square since his death in 1924. His continuing
      presence in the symbolic heart of Moscow has been an ongoing source of
      controversy since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
      Demands to transfer the body of the architect of the 1917 Revolution
      to a regular cemetery have consistently been countered by Russian
      Communists, who insist that the tomb on Red Square remain the Soviet
      leader's final resting place.
      Ivan Melnikov, deputy head of the Communist Party, called Gorbachev's
      statement on Wednesday "an attempt to exert pressure from those who
      are disturbed by the memories of the great achievements of the Soviet
      Union."
      "Society will not allow this, and neither will we as a party.
      Politicians who say this do not know the view of the people," he said.
      ----------

      Law enforcement shouldn't force completion regional extremism cases
      Interfax, June 4, 2008

      Moscow, June 4, Interfax - Law enforcement agencies are forcing the
      investigation of cases involving religious extremism, sacrificing
      which effectiveness of such cases, Russian human rights ombudsman
      Vladimir Lukin said.
      "Judging by the letters received by me from religious organizations,
      sometimes these principles [of effectiveness] are replaced with a
      desire to report [on the completion of investigations], to manifest
      their ardor to look for 'extremism and extremists' in Russia," Lukin
      said in an interview published in the Wednesday edition of
      Nezavisimaya Gazeta.
      "For some reason, people get the idea that there should be dozens and
      hundreds of them [extremists] among religious organizations," said Lukin.
      In the meantime, "such facts, even though rare, affect hundreds and
      thousands of Russian citizens," he said.
      "That is very alarming. Especially given the fact that the materials
      provided by believers indicate a low level of legal and, most
      importantly, religious awareness of law enforcement officials," said
      Lukin.

      http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=4757
      -----------

      Israeli Woman Knifed to Death.
      The Moscow Times " Issue 3916 ", June 4, 2008

      An Israeli woman who worked at a local Jewish kindergarten has been
      stabbed to death in central Moscow in a robbery attempt.
      Yael Anetdinova, 27, was waiting for her husband near a synagogue on
      Ulitsa Pokrovka at 2:30 a.m. Monday when a man believed to have been
      intoxicated approached her and demanded money, a spokesman for the
      Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia said Tuesday.
      When Anetdinova refused, the mugger stabbed her in the neck with a
      knife, killing her on the spot, he said.
      The suspected killer -- a native of Belarus -- has been detained, a
      city police spokesman said Tuesday.
      Anetdinova, a mother of two and the wife of a teacher at a local
      Jewish high school, had both Russian and Israeli citizenship, the
      federation spokesman said.
      The city police spokesman said the victim was identified in police
      reports as Yekaterina Tikhomirova and denied that she was an Israeli
      citizen.
      Citing an unidentified source in the city police, Moskovsky
      Komsomolets on Tuesday identified the suspected killer as Vadim
      Stepanyuk, 24, who had previously been convicted of robbery.
      Stepanyuk has admitted that he tried to rob Anetdinova but denies
      that he killed her, MK reported.

      http://www.moscowtimes.ru/article/1010/42/367990.htm
      ---------

      Attack on Gay Rights March in Moscow
      FSU Monitor, June 4, 2008

      Neo-Nazis attacked gay rights activists in Moscow, according to a June
      2, 2008 report by the Sova Information-Analytical Center. The meeting
      was not officially approved by city authorities, who have taken a
      harsh stand against similar actions in the past, including using
      police violence against Russian and foreign gay rights activists. In
      this case, the police protected the marchers against the neo-Nazis,
      stepping in to break up the violence before it escalated. Some
      protesters hung up a sign criticizing Mayor Luzhkov, but the banner
      was torn down by counter-protesters. Both sides were detained by
      police. Sova reported that 15 people were detained at the rally, while
      a report by the Sedmitsa news agency put the number of detained at 36

      http://www.fsumonitor.com/stories/060408Russia.shtml
      -----------

      Inter-Ethnic Brawl in Krasnodar, One Killed, One Wounded
      FSU Monitor, June 4, 2008

      A brawl between ethnic Russians and Chechens ended in one death and
      the hospitalization of another participant, according to the web site
      of the Coalition Against Hate, citing an earlier report by the human
      rights NGO Memorial. The brawl started late on the night of May 27. A
      Chechen student, Rustam D., died in the hospital from stab wounds,
      while another young man, identified only as a "resident of Krasnodar,"
      was admitted to the hospital in serious condition. A 22-year-old
      "local resident" faces manslaughter charges. Some of Rustam D.'s
      friends claimed that neo-Nazis took part in the brawl, but local
      police deny that, stating that "there was no inter-ethnic motive to
      this incident."

      http://www.fsumonitor.com/stories/060408Russ2.shtml
      -----------

      Inter-Ethnic Brawl in Moscow
      FSU Monitor, June 5, 2008

      Almost 200 young men, one side made up of ethnic Russians, the other
      of people from the Caucasus, brawled in the Moscow neighborhood of
      Marino, according to a June 4, 2008 report by the Sova
      Information-Analytical Center. The Russian side was made up mostly of
      soccer hooligans and claimed that their opponents shot at them and
      threw bottles, causing several injuries. Police detained between 5-10
      people; around 15 ended up in the hospital.

      http://www.fsumonitor.com/stories/060508Russia.shtml
      -----------

      Dagestani Victim in Neo-Nazi Execution Video Identified?
      FSU Monitor, June 5, 2008

      Relatives of a missing Dagestani man have identified him as one of the
      victims of what appeared to be a neo-Nazi execution video posted last
      year, according to a June 4, 2008 report by the Kavkazsky Uzel web
      site. Kistaman Udamanov told police that her brother Shamil went
      missing in Moscow in mid-August of 2007. He had traveled to the
      capital to work earlier that summer and had been in regular contact
      with his family. Ms. Udamanov told police that she recognized her
      brother by face and by the clothes the victim is seen wearing in the
      video before he is supposedly murdered. Police reportedly responded by
      telling her that they had found the location where the video was shot,
      but that there were no traces of any bodies there. The video led to
      much speculation on Russian language websites about its authenticity,
      and at least one person was prosecuted for posting it, but its
      creators have never been found.

      http://www.fsumonitor.com/stories/060508Russ2.shtml
      ------------

      Anti-Hare Krishna Protest in Moscow
      FSU Monitor, June 5, 2008

      A group of protesters gathered in northern Moscow to rally against the
      proposed construction of a Hare Krishna temple, according to a June 4,
      2008 report by the Interfax news agency. Holding signs reading "Sects
      destroy families!" and "Let us defend Orthodoxy!" The protesters
      gathered signatures on a letter to the mayor of Moscow arguing against
      the city's decision to grant the Hare Krishnas a building permit after
      years of controversy. The letter claims that Hare Krishnas "strike at
      the underdeveloped psychology of children."

      http://www.fsumonitor.com/stories/060508Russ3.shtml
      -----------

      Court Hands Down Suspended Sentence in Antisemitic Propaganda Case
      FSU Monitor, June 5, 2008

      A court in the Astrakhan region of Russia sentenced a member of the
      bizarre antisemitic cult "Towards God's Kingdom" to a suspended
      sentence after finding him guilty of forming an extremist group and
      inciting ethnic hatred, according to a June 4, 2008 report by the Sova
      Information-Analytical Center. Prosecutors argue that the defendant
      and his three confederates, who are being tried separately and include
      a doctor, an engineer, and a teacher at the Moscow Aviation Institute,
      were members of the cult since 2002 and as such engaged in antisemitic
      agitation, including public statements aimed at demonizing Jews.

      http://www.fsumonitor.com/stories/060508Russ4.shtml
      -------------

      Russian top police official says 11 race-hate groups uncovered
      RIA Novosti, June 5, 2008

      MOSCOW, June 5 (RIA Novosti) - Russian police have uncovered 11
      radical youth groups engaging in race-hate attacks in Moscow and St.
      Petersburg this year, a senior Interior Ministry official said on
      Thursday.
      "Eleven criminal youth groups comprising a total of 53 people have
      been uncovered in Moscow and St. Petersburg and their environs in
      2008," General Gennady Ivanov told a news briefing, adding that the
      majority of the groups' members had been detained.
      He said they had been accused of a combined total of about 40 attacks
      on foreigners and people with 'non-Slavic' features.
      Racist attacks in Russia occur mainly in big cities, including Moscow
      and St. Petersburg, where the majority of foreigners and ethnic
      minorities live. Voronezh in southwest Russia, which has a large
      number of foreign students, has also seen frequent attacks.
      The rise in racist violence in Russia was highlighted in the report by
      Amnesty International in late May.
      "The number of racist attacks that have come to the attention of the
      media rose; at least 61 people have been killed across the country [in
      2008]," the organization said.
      Russian rights groups earlier said 66 people have been killed and 132
      injured in race-hate crimes in the country this year.
      Amnesty said Russian authorities have recognized the problem, and that
      the number of prosecutions for racially motivated crimes has
      increased, but that these measures have failed to curb violence.
      Ivanov said a number of other investigations into suspected race-hate
      murders and attacks, including the killings of Indian and Iranian
      citizens in Moscow in September 2007, were continuing.
      Russian media reported late last year that teenage ultra-nationalist
      gangs may have been responsible for up to 50 race-hate murders in
      Moscow in 2007.

      http://en.rian.ru/russia/20080605/109297629.html
      ------------

      POLICE CHARGED WITH BEATING AND TORTURING SUSPECT
      Bigotry Monitor, Volume 8, Number 23, June 6, 2008

      A Batumi Kurd living in Khadyzhensk, Krasnodar Region, accused police
      in the nearby city of Apsheronsk of torturing her son Rashid and
      son-in-law Anatoly, according to an open letter she sent to President
      Dmitry Medvedev. Khanifa Gurzhiev wrote that police picked them up on
      May 16 in Khadyzhensk, beat them in a police car on the way to
      Apsheronsk, and then tortured them to get them to confess to drug
      charges. She said that the policemen used racist slurs "churki" and
      "black-ass" while beating the two men, and threatened to kill them.
      The next day the victims were barely able to move but were taken to a
      judge who sanctioned their arrest.
      Officers of the State Drug Control Agency then came to the hospital
      where Rashid Gurzhiev was recovering from the beating and dragged him
      off, ignoring the protests of doctors that he was too injured to move.
      They allegedly hit his mother who says she was handcuffed to a bed
      after she protested.

      http://www.fsumonitor.com/stories/060608BM.shtml
      -----------

      CRIMINAL CASE OPENED INTO STIRRING INTERETHNIC ENMITY ON THE INTERNET
      Bigotry Monitor, Volume 8, Number 23, June 6, 2008

      Authorities in the Russian seaside resort of Anapa, Krasnodar Region,
      have opened a criminal case into the publication of nationalistic
      materials on a local Internet forum, Interfax reported. The case was
      opened on charges of instigating hatred or enmity and humiliating
      human dignity in connection with the publication of nationalistic
      materials on the Kuban.ru forum, following a complaint by the
      Presumptsia human rights committee, the regional investigative
      department said in a statement on June 2. "The linguistic analysis of
      the above materials shows that they contain lexical, semantic, and
      syntactic elements of humiliating character towards persons of
      Armenian descent," the statement said.

      http://www.fsumonitor.com/stories/060608BM.shtml
      -----------

      Voronezh Court Sentences Three to Community Service for Attacking
      FSU Monitor, June 6, 2008

      Three residents of Voronezh, Russia were convicted of "hooliganism"
      for attacking an Iraqi foreign student, according to a June 5, 2008
      report by the Sova Information-Analytical Center. The attack took
      place on January 31 and was discovered by Sova on the web site of the
      regional prosecutor's office. On June 3, the three defendants were
      sentenced to community service. Voronezh is infamously dangerous for
      dark-skinned foreign students, some of whom have been killed in recent
      years.

      http://www.fsumonitor.com/stories/060608Russia.shtml
      ----------

      Dozens Arrested in Possible Hate Crimes in Year to Date.
      The Moscow Times » Issue 3918 », June 6, 2008

      Authorities have arrested 53 suspects this year for violent and
      deadly attacks against dark-skinned foreigners across four regions,
      the Interior Ministry said Thursday.
      The suspects include members of 11 separate gangs that have carried
      out a total of 38 violent attacks -- including 17 murders -- against
      foreigners in Moscow, the Moscow region, St. Petersburg and the
      Leningrad region, said Gennady Ivanov, head of the ministry's criminal
      investigations department.
      "Their involvement in other similar crimes is being investigated,"
      Ivanov said, Itar-Tass reported.
      One of the gangs was responsible for the 17 murders and 17 other
      attacks on foreigners of non-Slavic appearance, Ivanov said. Of the
      gang's victims, 19 were citizens of either China or former Soviet
      republics.
      It was unclear in which of the four regions the gang is believed to
      have murdered the foreigners. Repeated calls to the ministry's
      criminal investigations department for comment went unanswered Thursday.
      The ministry registered 101 attacks on foreigners, including 31
      murders, in the four regions from January through March, Ivanov said,
      Itar-Tass reported. Investigators have solved 19 of the murders and 11
      of the other attacks, he said.
      Organizations that track hate crimes have noted a significant spike
      in racist attacks this year. Relatives of a Dagestani man whose
      apparent execution was filmed and posted last year on ultranationalist
      web sites has been identified as Shamil Udamanov, who had been working
      in Moscow before he disappeared, Interfax reported Thursday.
      The video showed two dark-skinned men gagged and bound and identified
      as a Dagestani and a Tajik. A masked man proceeds to slit their
      throats with a hunting knife, and one of the men is shot in the head.

      http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/600/42/368061.htm
      -----------

      Russia's victories in sports and Eurovision proves strength and
      confidence of this country in the world, the Russian Church believes
      Interfax, June 7, 2008

      Moscow, June 7, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church shares
      collective joy for Russia's recent victories in football, hockey and
      the Eurovision song contest.
      "Not only goals, prizes and golden microphones are important. It's
      important that our country is firm again on the ground of European
      culture; it feels strong, independent and has something to say to the
      world," deputy chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for
      External Church Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin said to the
      Komsomolskaya Pravda daily.
      Fr. Vsevolod confessed that it was "a great joy" to watch the games
      between Zenith and Glasgow Rangers and between teams of Russia and
      Canada. According to him, in both games Russian sportsmen demonstrated
      will and team skills: "team play and organizational talents."
      "We, Russians, often lack these qualities and we have to develop them
      in ourselves," the Church's representative said.
      He also confessed that he wasn't "a great admirer" of Eurovision
      winner Dima Bilan's musical style.
      "It's interesting that both in his song and in the song that won the
      first place for Serbia last year there is conscious or unconscious
      link to the faith and to the supreme cultural tradition: it's not for
      nothing that the Hungarian violinist played a Stradivari violin," Fr.
      Vsevolod stressed.
      Most of all he liked the way various countries voted in the Eurovision.
      "Ukrainians, Georgians, Greeks, citizens of the Baltic states and
      countries of the Central and Eastern Europe expressed their good
      attitude to Russia in spite of all political conflicts. And it was
      very joyful."
      -----------

      Penza Mafia Boss Who Led Anti-Protestant Mob May Face Criminal Charges
      FSU Monitor, June 10, 2008

      A local mafia boss may face criminal charges after leading two attacks
      on a Protestant church in the town of Kuznetsk, Russia (Penza region),
      according to a May 30, 2008 report by the Slavic Law Center. The civil
      trial of "Oleg S"--identified in the report as a "criminal
      authority"--on charges of "minor hooliganism" ended with a referral to
      the prosecutor's office for possible criminal charges. The facts of
      the case, confirmed by several witnesses who testified, point to
      crimes that are anything but "minor."
      According to the report, the defendant gathered a group of young men
      on April 2 and burst into the "Living Word" church, where they
      assaulted Pastor Dmitry Shugurov while screaming "You all need to be
      killed!" They also threatened the pastor's wife with a pistol and
      warned him that they would hurt his children if he reported the attack
      to the police. They also warned him to stop proselytizing local
      youths, making it clear that the assault was motivated by religious
      hatred.
      On April 22, Pastor Shugurov reported the attack to police at the
      urging of his bishop. Within two hours, Mr. S and his young thugs were
      back, disrupting a prayer service. Pastor Shugurov told the Slavic
      Center that the attacks came in the wake of television reports
      demonizing "sects" and naming his church specifically, along with
      Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses. Similar incidents then took place in
      other parts of the Penza region--men came to the "Good News" church in
      Serdobsk and threatened to kill the parishioners for being "sect"
      members. The men also came to the home of the pastor, Vera Gavrilina,
      but she locked her door and refused to let them in. She sent a
      complaint to the prosecutor's office, but it is not clear what, if
      any, reaction followed. On April 29, local Protestant leaders sent a
      letter to the vice-governor asking for help in ending the violence and
      requesting that Protestants be included in the region's
      inter-religious council, from which they were expelled in the fall of
      2007. Not mentioned in the report is the fact that the local
      parliament is considering a highly restrictive bill on missionary
      activity.

      http://www.fsumonitor.com/stories/061008Russia.shtml
      ----------

      Stabbing in Vladimir Region May Be Hate Crime
      FSU Monitor, June 10, 2008

      Stabbing in Vladimir Region May Be Hate Crime A man stabbed two Tajiks
      in Aleksandrovsk, Russia (Vladimir region), according to a June 5,
      2008 report by the Sova Information-Analytical Center. On May 31 the
      men were stabbed at a bus stop--one victim in the stomach, the other
      in the shoulder. Police say they have identified the assailant and are
      investigating ethnic hatred as a possible motive. There is no
      information in the report indicating that the victims were robbed.

      http://www.fsumonitor.com/stories/061008Russ2.shtml
      ----------

      Moscow berates Kiev for 'digging out' anti-Russian events in Ukrainian
      history
      Interfax, June 10, 2008

      Moscow, 10 June: Moscow has called on Kiev to stop digging out events
      in the common history of the two countries that at the time were
      directed against Russia and Russians.
      "The stubbornness, worthy of a better application, with which some
      forces in Ukraine are today trying to dig out from a shared - really
      complicated and at times contradictory - Russian-Ukrainian history
      events and personalities known only for the fact that they were
      somehow anti-Moscow, anti-Russia and Russians, is simply bewildering
      and regrettable," says a commentary by the Information and Press
      Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian
      Federation circulated on Tuesday (10 June).
      The commentary was published in connection with a question raised by
      the Russian media about plans in Ukraine to celebrate the 350th
      anniversary of the Battle of Konotop, which took place in June 1659.
      It was a battle between troops consisting of Crimean Tatars, Cossacks
      and Poles, on the one hand, and, on the other, a detachment led by
      Prince Aleksey Trubetskoy, who was forced, having suffered substantial
      losses, to retreat to Putyvl.
      According to the commentary, in order to find such events in
      Russian-Ukrainian history, "sometimes names and deeds are celebrated
      of which under different circumstances one would probably be ashamed".
      "This bloody battle, occasioned by yet another betrayal by yet another
      hetman, was one of them," the Foreign Ministry stresses.
      "In the circumstances," the commentary says, "one has to hope that
      the wisdom of the Ukrainian people will not allow them to be dragged
      into an artificial and invented confrontation with Russia." "Playing
      games with history, particularly with a hidden nationalist agenda,
      have never led to anything good," the document says.
      The commentary also gives the Russian interpretation of the events of
      1659.
      "The march of Trubetskoy's detachment was called for by the need to
      oppose the plans of Hetman Vyhovsky, who had broken his own oath of
      allegiance to Moscow, to incorporate some Ukrainian lands under the
      name of the Grand Principality of Russia into the Rzeczpospolita
      (Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth)," says the document.
      The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs recalls that Vyhovsky "ended
      his life in a far from heroic manner - in October 1659 he was toppled
      by the Cossacks and had to flee to Poland, where five years later it
      was already the Poles who accused him of betrayal and executed him".
      --------

      Law enforcement needed to fight xenophobia - RF president
      ITAR-TASS, June 11, 2008

      MOSCOW June 11-There is a need for law enforcement measures rather
      than outcries and incantations to fight xenophobia and extremism,
      Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told the World Russian Press Congress.
      "We will fight these phenomena in every way we can - by means of law
      enforcement bodies, of Russia's judicial system," Medvedev said.
      "Unless the force of law is brought into play, the fight will boil
      down to outcries and incantations, which is not very effective. So it
      is the task of the state to do everything it can," the president said.
      "I cannot keep from saying that, regrettably, things are not so
      simple in other countries, too. Such phenomena are manifested also in
      the post-Soviet space," Medvedev said. "This is our common problem,
      and there is no mincing words in assessing these disgraceful phenomena."
      The head of the Russian state believes the fight against extremism
      and manifestations of xenophobia is "largely the task of the state,
      but the mass media, the Russian press also fulfil their noble mission
      in this sense."
      "I hope the mass media will help the state, if not to stamp out,
      then, at least, radically to reduce the number of such criminal
      manifestations in our country," the president said.
      "The media should also draw attention to problems existing in other
      countries," Medvedev said. "I must say again this problem is no less
      acute in other countries," he noted.
      ----------

      Russians Know State Emblem Best Among National Symbols
      Itar-Tass, June 11, 2008

      MOSCOW, June 11 (Itar-Tass) -- Russians know the state emblem best
      among other national symbols with 85 percent of respondents being able
      to describe it correctly, according to a public opinion poll conducted
      by VTsIOM ahead of Russia's Day celebrated in June 12.
      The flag is known not so well as only 59 percent of those polled
      could correctly name the order of the colours in it. One in three (32
      percent) of respondents know the colours but mix their sequence.
      The least known is the national anthem as only 40 percent of those
      polled could recall its first lines.
      The higher the level of education, the better people know the
      national symbols: the state emblem is known to 63 percent of
      respondents with below upper secondary education and 89 percent of
      those with higher and unfinished higher education; the colours of the
      flag and their sequence were named correctly by 31 and 73 percent
      respectively, and the first lines of the national anthem were cited
      correctly by 17 and 49 percent accordingly.
      The national symbols evoke predominantly positive feelings among
      respondents. The feelings of pride and admiration are connected mainly
      with the national anthem (56 percent) even though the majority could
      not remember its words, followed by the national flag (52 percent) and
      the state emblem (47 percent). Each of the three symbols brings about
      sympathy is about 25 - 28 percent of those polled. Negative feelings
      were registered among 1-2 percent of respondents.
      The nationwide poll was conducted on June 7-8, 2008 and involved
      1,600 people in 153 settlements in 46 regions across Russia. The
      margin of error did not exceed 3.4 percent.
      ---------

      Racist Attack in Yaroslavl
      FSU Monitor, June 12, 2008

      A group of youths attacked an ethnic Yezid in Yaroslavl, according to
      a June 6, 2008 report by the Sova Information-Analytical Center. The
      youths attacked the victim on June 5 while screaming nationalist
      slogans, then fled before police arrived. Yezids are ethnically
      related to Kurds, but have their own distinct religious practices
      influenced by Zoroastrianism and Islam.

      http://www.fsumonitor.com/stories/061208Russia.shtml
      ------------

      Suspect Detained in Vandalism of Jewish Cemetery
      FSU Monitor, June 12, 2008

      Police in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia detained a suspect in a string of
      antisemitic vandalism incidents, according to a June 10, 2008 report
      by the Nizhny Novgorod Telegraphic Agency. The young man and three
      other suspects allegedly vandalized Jewish graves in the Krasnaya Etna
      cemetery multiple times over the course of May and June, including a
      previously unreported incident on June 9. In a rare departure from
      standard prosecutions of similar cases, the youths face charges of
      "mockery over the bodies of the dead and their burial motivated by
      ethnic hatred."

      http://www.fsumonitor.com/stories/061208Russ2.shtml
      ----------

      Kaliningrad Police Detain Suspects in Attack on Black Lawyer, Deny
      Racism Was a Motive
      FSU Monitor, June 12, 2008

      Police in Kaliningrad, Russia detained three young men in connection
      with the stabbing of a black lawyer who works for the regional
      government, according to a June 9, 2008 report by the Regnum news
      agency. Aleksandr Burger-Gasanov was attacked on the evening of May 9
      (Victory Day) near his home. The victim lost two liters of blood as a
      result of the ferocity of the attack, which was accompanied by racist
      abuse, including the "N word" which has migrated from English to the
      lexicon of the Russian far-right. Nevertheless, a police spokesman
      denied that racism was a motive for the attack, citing the suspects'
      patently ridiculous claim that they couldn't tell that their victim
      was black because they attacked him at night. Nor were the suspects
      charged with attempted murder or aggravated assault; instead they face
      charges of "hooliganism."

      http://www.fsumonitor.com/stories/061208Russ3.shtml
      -----------

      53 HATE CRIME SUSPECTS ARRESTED THIS YEAR SO FAR, INTERIOR MINISTRY SAYS
      Bigotry Monitor, Volume 8, Number 24, June 13, 2008

      Russian authorities have arrested 53 suspects this year for violent
      attacks against dark-skinned foreigners across four regions, the
      Interior Ministry announced on June 6. According to "The Moscow Times"
      that carried the item on its front page, the suspects include members
      of 11 separate gangs that have carried out a total of 38
      attacks--including 17 murders-- against foreigners in Moscow, the
      Moscow Region, St. Petersburg, and the Leningrad Region, said Gennady
      Ivanov, head of the ministry's criminal investigations department. He
      added: "Their involvement in other similar crimes is being investigated."
      One of the gangs was responsible for the 17 murders and 17 other
      attacks on foreigners of non-Slavic appearance, Ivanov said. Of the
      gang's victims, 19 were citizens of either China or former Soviet
      republics. The ministry registered 101 attacks on foreigners,
      including 31 murders, in the four regions from January through March.
      Investigators have solved 19 of the murders and 11 of the other attacks.

      http://www.fsumonitor.com/stories/061308BM.shtml
      ------------

      SUSPECTS IN TWO MURDERS ARRESTED
      Bigotry Monitor, Volume 8, Number 24, June 13, 2008

      St. Petersburg police detained two suspects in connection with two
      murders of ethnic minorities, according to a June 4 report by the
      local news web site Fontanka.ru. The two are accused of stabbing a
      Tajik citizen on February 13; the victim died in the hospital. On
      March 11, the suspects allegedly stabbed a 16 year old Uzbek to death.
      The police solved the case after detaining one of the suspects, a 21
      year old man named Alekseev, in the wake of an April assault on a 22
      year old resident of St. Petersburg. The suspect gave up his comrade,
      a 21 year old plumber. Both face murder charges. So far prosecutors
      have chosen not to tack on hate crimes charges to the case.
      Citing statistics by local law enforcement agencies, Fontanka.ru
      reported that 16 probable hate crimes have taken place already this
      year in the city, including nine murders. However, hate crimes charges
      were only applied in one of those cases, leading local officials to
      announce that the situation in the city, which has gained a reputation
      as unsafe for minorities, is improving.

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      ------------

      NEO-NAZI MOB HUNTS FOR MINORITIES IN ROSTOV
      Bigotry Monitor, Volume 8, Number 24, June 13, 2008

      A mob of about 60 neo-Nazis went after minorities in Rostov-na-Donu,
      Russia according to a June 7 report by the Sova Information-Analytical
      Center. Armed with clubs and other weapons, the young extremists
      walked down the city's main street, hunting for victims. They first
      chased a black man who saw them coming and escaped on a bus. They then
      spotted two women wearing hijabs (the scarf of devout Muslims) but as
      they prepared to strike, a group of police officers happened to pass
      by and the mob got scared. The report does not make it clear if anyone
      was actually attacked or if the police detained any of the extremists.

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      ------------

      ONE 'MURDER VIDEO' VICTIM IDENTIFIED BUT NO SUSPECT ARRESTED
      Bigotry Monitor, Volume 8, Number 24, June 13, 2008

      Interfax reported that the Dagestani man whose execution was filmed
      and posted last year on ultranationalist web sites have been
      identified by his relatives. He is Shamil Udamanov who worked in
      Moscow before his disappearance. The gruesome video created much
      consternation as it showed two dark-skinned men gagged and bound and
      identified them as a Dagestani and a Tajik. A masked man slit their
      throats with a hunting knife, and one of the migrants was shot in the
      head. However, no body has been found and no suspects have been
      detained in relation to the video.

      http://www.fsumonitor.com/stories/061308BM.shtml
      ------------

      EU ASKED FOR JOINT COMMEMORATION OF VICTIMS OF STALIN AND HITLER
      Bigotry Monitor, Volume 8, Number 24, June 13, 2008

      A group of deputies in the 785-member European Parliament have
      launched a drive to have the European Union (EU) declare August 23 a
      European Day of Commemoration of the Victims of Stalinism and Nazism,
      Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported from Brussels. It was on that
      date in 1939 that foreign ministers of the Soviet Union and Nazi
      Germany signed what came to be known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.
      If enough deputies sign the petition, the European Parliament will
      officially request EU member states to consider the issue.
      Marianne Mikko, an Estonian deputy and one of the authors of the
      petition, told RFE/RL that the objective is to honor jointly the
      victims of both Nazism and communism in its Stalinist incarnation.
      According to Mikko, the petition has so far attracted more than 150
      signatures. It needs 393 signatures before September 9.
      The RFE/RL report acknowledged that the debate on the historical
      record of communism, requested by representatives of the former
      communist states, has so far led to "an impasse," as "there is no
      unanimity among EU governments, with most in Western Europe loath to
      antagonize Russia and concerned that any indictment of communism could
      lead to a `relativization' of the crimes of Nazism, among them the
      Holocaust."
      The EU's executive, the European Commission, is still studying whether
      existing legislation--which outlaws the denial or trivialization of
      the crimes committed by Nazi Germany--needs to be complemented with a
      recognition of Soviet crimes. It has until April 2009 to make a decision

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      ------------

      Tyumen Academic Uses Blood Libel as Part of State-Sponsored Education
      Program
      FSU Monitor, June 13, 2008

      A professor at a Tyumen, Russia university asserted her belief in the
      medieval accusation that Jews ritually murder Christian children and
      use their blood to bake matzo, according to a June 1, 2008 report by
      the Slavic Law Center. Worse, Professor Svetlana Shestakovaya's
      lecture was part of the state sponsored educational program
      "Fundamentals of Orthodox Culture" which has been introduced in
      Russian schools in several regions, at times as part of the compulsory
      curriculum. Human rights activists have criticized the original and
      still widely used textbook written by Alla Borodina for containing
      antisemitic and racist passages.
      Shestakovaya, an assistant professor of sociology at Tyumen State
      Oil-Gas University, gave a series of lectures on the topic of
      "Sectarian Studies" in April 2008 in a course geared for future
      teachers of the "Fundamentals" curriculum.
      She reportedly defined matzo as: "A Jewish Eucharist that uses a small
      quantity of blood of [Christian] Orthodox people whom they [the Jews]
      martyred... They use a special method for killing an Orthodox child or
      a saint, such as when the Tsar's family was killed... they were bled
      because a live person needs to be stabbed before he is dead, and while
      he dies, the blood comes out... That's why sometimes children go
      missing, it's the Jews...."
      The professor didn't spare other religious confessions, attacking
      nearly every belief system known to man that does not conform to her
      exclusionary view of Russian Orthodoxy. In her words, Catholics are "a
      heresy," Protestants "pseudo-Christian sects," not just the usual
      targets of Orthodox extremists such as the Pentecostals ("the most
      destructive sect"), but even the generally more tolerated Lutherans
      ("Christianity in a distorted form"). She claimed that an "occult,
      evil spirt" inspired Mohammed to write the Koran, and criticized
      anyone who would say that Islam is a "good, just religion" as
      "betraying Christ."
      One of Russia's chief rabbis, Beryl Lazar, recently expressed concern
      that the introduction of at times compulsory Christian theology
      courses in Russia is a threat to minorities. Several Muslim leaders
      made earlier statements echoing his worries. Whether or not Professor
      Shestakovaya's lectures adds fuel to the fire or gets ignored against
      the background of daily stories about rising xenophobia remains to be
      seen.

      http://www.fsumonitor.com/stories/061308Russ3.shtml
      =======================


      II SURVEYS, ANALYSES, COMMENTS

      Patriotism leads comeback of Russian filmmaking
      By: Amie Ferris-Rotman and Thomas Peter
      Reuters, June 2, 2008

      A gang of black-clad horsemen gallop past a line of gallows,
      splattering tufts of snow against frozen corpses.
      They are the 'oprichniki', loyal henchmen of Russia's sixteenth
      century tsar, Ivan the Terrible. Severed dogs' heads dangle from their
      saddles, a warning to the motherland's internal enemies.
      The set belongs to a new film, "Ivan the Terrible and Metropolitan
      Philip," due out next year, which explores the relationship between
      the tyrant Ivan and his friend and fiercest critic, Philip.
      Standing near a white-walled monastery in Suzdal, a town 200
      kilometers (120 miles) northeast of Moscow whose buildings resemble
      the capital in medieval times, director Pavel Lungin said he had a
      working budget of $17 million for "Ivan," high by Russian standards.
      The large budget and professional crew, including a U.S. cameraman
      who works with director Clint Eastwood, are a sign of a revival in
      Russia's film industry, which is attracting large sums from the
      government and private investors.
      The government expects its production companies to make $900 million
      in profits in 2011, almost double last year's earnings. Their films
      are shown on the new screens popping up across the country, mostly to
      young audiences with more money to burn than their parents before them.
      Like escalating prices on Russian paintings and domestic fashion,
      Russian film is regaining popularity and financial success as the
      economy soars for its 10th straight year, fuelled by $1 billion a day
      in energy exports.
      "The Irony of Fate: Continuation," a sequel to Soviet-era favorite
      "The Irony of Fate," shocked Russia over the New Year by taking in $50
      million at the box office in its opening month.
      The story fast forwards the action from 1975 to the present day,
      tracking the interactions of the children of the protagonists of the
      original movie.
      Meanwhile, post-apocalyptic "Inhabited Island," a sci-fi two-part
      film directed by Fyodor Bondarchuk with a running time of 4.5 hours,
      has a budget of $36.5 million, possibly the largest-budget movie ever
      to be made in Russia.
      Producer Alexander Rodnyansky said "Inhabited Island," based on a
      book by Russian sci-fi duo the Strugatsky brothers, will have special
      effects to rival Hollywood blockbuster The Matrix.
      "(We want) to try to make the viewers understand that at least some
      Russian producers are able to produce the high-quality product,
      exactly the same quality as all the great international movies,"
      Rodnyansky said.
      STATE INTERVENTION
      Once the pearl of the Soviet Union's propaganda machine, the film
      industry was lavished with large state budgets and producers and
      directors were encouraged by a slew of highly-trained technicians and
      professional actors.
      One of its early pioneers, Sergei Eisenstein, is largely accredited
      with creating montage, or modern editing.
      But it took a sharp blow during the turbulent 1990s following the
      break-up of the Soviet Union, when cinemas shut down in waves across
      the country and studios lost funding.
      At the beginning of the 2000s the state kick-started a revival by
      introducing market conditions.
      "Our position was very simple: we will support production but cinemas
      and production companies will be private," said Mikhail Shvydkoi, head
      of the Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography, which is being
      absorbed into the culture ministry.
      Of around the 200 films made last year, half were given state
      support, he said, adding that Russia has around 100 million euros
      ($157.3 million) allocated for films this year.
      Private investors play a key role, contributing the often much larger
      balance from their pockets.
      "Private investors will call us and ask if we will support a movie,
      and if we do, then they will immediately invest. Governmental
      expertise in these fields is very important," Shvydkoi said in an
      interview in Moscow.
      Metals tycoon and billionaire Viktor Vekselberg has funded films, he
      said, along with the state-controlled Bank of Moscow.
      The state expects to see 20 million cinema-goers by 2010, up from 14
      million -- or 10 percent of the population -- today.
      "This is a result of the general stabilisation of the Russian
      economy. People are not afraid to spend money for entertainment,"
      Shvydkoi said.
      Screen numbers have as much to do with this rise as funding. In 2000,
      only 150 new screens opened across Russia. By 2010, Shvydkoi hopes
      that 2,500 new screens will be opening every year. The government says
      a quarter of cinemas today show Russian films, up from 3 percent in 2000.
      NATIONAL PRIDE
      But while movies about Soviet-era wars, the ongoing conflict in
      Chechnya and much earlier periods of Russian history are successful
      here, they have not done well abroad, where many are wary of Russia's
      expanding power.
      "The highly patriotic element in many big-budget Russian films that
      makes them so popular at home is to some extent a turn-off for foreign
      viewers, who may well take a different geopolitical stance," said
      Julian Graffy, professor of Soviet and Russian film at University
      College London.
      "There is a new, slightly anxious, national pride, and that is
      reflected in the new films of 'aggressive masculinity' that are so
      popular," Graffy said.
      Among the dozen or so international releases of the last few years
      was "9th Rota," or "9th Company," an action movie directed by
      Bondarchuk detailing the lives of conscripts in the Afghan war of the
      1980s. A blockbuster in Russia, it was poorly received when it was
      distributed abroad in 2005.
      Conversely, Russia's internationally acclaimed art house films fare
      less well at home.
      The new film by Oscar-winning director Nikita Milkhalkov, "12," where
      12 jurors decide the fate of a young Chechen accused of murdering his
      adoptive father, picked up an Oscar nomination in February but failed
      to become a hit at home.
      Averaging 12 to 22 years of age, the Russian cinema-goer is too young
      to appreciate "sophisticated" movies, said Michael Schlicht, head of
      production house 20th Century Fox in the CIS and a native East German.
      "An Oscar is no guarantee for success in Russia. Rather, the opposite
      is the case. They like shallow stuff."
      ------------

      Roots of Russia-West Friction Lie in Russia's New 'Religion of Money'
      By: Stanislav Belkovskiy
      Gazeta.ru, June 3, 2008

      The basis of the contemporary conflict between Russia and the West is
      found in the contradiction between the religion of money and the
      remnants of Western secularized Christianity. It is a classic
      religious conflict.
      The argument over whether the Euro-Atlantic world is in a state of
      "cold war" with Russia or on the brink of such a war has become more
      active lately. During their last presidential visit at the NATO summit
      in Budapest, Putin and Bush promised that there would not be a "cold
      war." Indeed we should not expect it. It will be a religious war, and
      it is already underway. It is no accident that at that same summit the
      Russian ex-president said literally these words: "Some kind of
      religious horror in expectation of my speeches..."
      The Monetocracy
      Rephrasing Chekhov we could say that there is no object that could not
      serve the Russian as a religion. The Russian consciousness is inclined
      to give everything a religious measure, to carry everything to the
      extreme of religious frenzy. In large part this is the origin of the
      deification of supreme power.
      The Russian monarch, no matter what he is called -- tsar, emperor,
      general secretary, or president --is not simply a statesman and even
      less is he part of a political system: he is a special being above
      this world, an acting God.
      The religious vacuum in Russia connected to the weakening of the
      former cults and earthly gods is generally filling as fast as
      possible. Regardless of the filling substance. The communist regime
      was a classic theocracy with its own sacred writings, multitude of
      saints, miracle-working relics, ritual, eschatology, and so on. A new
      "basic" religion had to appear on the ruins of communism. It appeared,
      and it is the religion of money, a specifically Russian version of the
      cult of Mammon.
      With an adjustment for many stereotypes and circumstances, our
      current regime can be defined as a monetocracy, a government of money.
      Since the 1990s the Russian has known that all good comes from money:
      it is the beginning and the end. For the contemporary Russian
      consciousness money is not a means of comfort and an instrument of
      domestic freedom. It is an implement of transcendental freedom, a
      lever that makes it possible to rise above earthly gravity. In this
      sense the attitude toward the "contemptible metal" is not the ordinary
      one. The people, who are non-bourgeois and anti-bourgeois in spirit,
      have learned to respect and love money while in fact rejecting its
      classical bourgeois measurement.
      In today's Russia you can buy anything, including an acquittal on the
      Day of Judgment. It is just a question of the amount of payment and
      the correct channel to get it to "the right person."
      When the typical representative of the current Russian elite goes to
      the West with the good intention of using the power of money to stand
      above the laws, traditions, and proprieties he is very surprised to
      hear the West refuse.
      Really, the basis of the contemporary conflict between Russia and the
      West is found in this contradiction between the religion of money and
      the remnants of Western secularized Christianity. It is a classic
      religious conflict.
      When billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, the hero of the secular
      chronicles of Courchevel in the Alps, declares that he is not going to
      obey French laws because he has already paid for everything, he is
      acting like a typical adept, even a priest of the religion of Mammon.
      When Vladimir Putin pours out his bile, telling the Western elites
      something like, "We are coming to you with money! Do you understand,
      we are coming with enormous amounts of money! But you are not
      accepting us," he is laying out his religious idea and his
      understanding of the world's primary principle. Really, this is the
      origin of that speech in Munich (February 2007), which had no politics
      or geopolitics at all, just angry refusal to accept the fact that
      everything cannot be bought for money in the West. And that means that
      the West, sick and decadent, still refuses to accept our advanced
      religion (it was also that way in the age of the flourishing of Soviet
      Communism, and so rhetorically and mnemonically the late Putin in fact
      frequently reminds us of Nikita Khrushchev in the days when he banged
      his shoe on the UN podium). Who do you think rules Russia today? The
      departed Putin? The new arrival Medvedev? In fact money rules.
      If the big money interests conflict with the will of Putin and/or
      Medvedev the presidential decisions are generally not carried out.
      Such are the fundamentals of the monetocracy.
      Many priests of the religion of Mammon, who form the Russian
      governing (not ruling, but specifically governing) class, are
      sincerely convinced that money can even bring physical immortality. I
      remember a conversation I had with a certain major Russian magnate in
      the fall of 1999 when Putin has just begun his path to the throne.
      "You know," myinterlocutor said, "money is not simply a sea of
      pleasure. It is a real change of destiny. For big money we are
      creating individual medicines that will permit us, the main possessors
      of money, to live half again as long, say not 80 years but 120. And
      later on we will think up even newer biotechnologies and reach 150
      years. And then..."
      And so it was that our elites really became interested in
      nanotechnologies.
      Salvation Island
      "But what about traditional Russian Orthodoxy?" you will ask. Every
      day the television shows us and the newspapers write that a turbulent
      rebirth of Orthodoxy is occurring in Russia.
      Indeed, golden rain has fallen on the Russian Orthodox Church in
      recent years. Buildings and structures, landholdings, armored Mercedes
      for VIP priests, regular and generous sponsorship donations. The days
      when you could be sent to prison or even exile for professing
      Orthodoxy are long gone.
      The Russian governing elite needed the elements of "Orthodox" decor
      to legitimate the new religion, the cult of Mammon.
      The Moscow Patriarchis, of course, returning the favor. And he
      understands his place in contemporary Russia correctly. He supports
      both the return of the hymn and the monetization of benefits. He
      declares Putin the best Russian ruler of all time. He gives the
      ex-wife of magnate Abramovich a church award for giving herf ive
      children a religiously ascetic upbringing in the harsh conditions of
      present-day London.
      For the governing class, which determines the philosophy and
      religious image of Russia today, the Russian Orthodox Church has been
      turned into the RF Ministry of Salvation of Souls (Minspas). Or in
      line with the latest trends, the state corporation Rosspasdush (RF
      Salvation of Souls).
      At the same time, the jurisdiction of the church does not go beyond a
      certain set of formal procedures. The everyday life of the Russian
      elite passes in service to Mammon. But the new cult has not yet worked
      out its own symbolic and practical instrumentation for forgiveness of
      sins. Only the old, proven church can offer this service "with a
      guarantee."
      It is no accident that one of the main cultural events in Russia in
      recent years was the movie "Ostrov" (The Island) by director Pavel
      Lungin. It shows the whole essence of the "Orthodox rebirth": travel
      to Salvation Island, get a stock of holiness for the whole family, and
      come back, to yourself and your own real belief.
      The Abduction of Europe
      The West must be ready for Russian religious expansion, of today's
      cult of Mammon and of future cult forms that are still not too clear.
      But even more than that, Europe must get accustomed to great love
      coming from Russia.
      It is not true that Russians do not love the West. In everything
      serious and important the Russian measures himself by Europe (and the
      West in general).
      The Russian liberal wants direct integration into Europe. The Russian
      nationalist does not feel that he is marginal when he is able to
      convince himself and those around him that our nationalism is real,
      European, civilized. The Russian socialist calls for us to look at
      France or Sweden and justifies socialism that way. And everyone wants
      to serve Europe. As a lover, as the greatest reward.
      The Russian Putin, who offers money instead of cannons, is also
      tempting Europe.
      He wants love. And for this love he, like his Communist predecessors,
      is ready to give Europe the most valuable thing he has, his religion.
      The religion of money.
      Putin, of course, never intended and does not intend to make war. He
      has said that many times: we used to come with tanks and guns, he
      said, but now we are coming with money! It was our forefathers who had
      to rattle their sabers to please Europe. Putin has a better way, and
      he is agreeable to waiting. Medvedev is fully suitable for waiting; he
      is quiet and ingratiating, a man who may possibly be better at telling
      the West the only true words.
      So there is no sense preparing for a "cold war" between Russia and
      the West. The West should learn to live in conditions of a
      long-standing religious dispute with Russia, behind which there is
      moving on Europe that same wild, untamed, carefully and poorly
      concealed Russian love.
      -------------

      Russia for Racists.
      By Suzanne Scholl
      The Moscow Times » Issue 3915 », June 3, 2008

      In Russia, if you have dark hair and a slightly swarthy complexion,
      you are likely to be in danger. Sadly, the country's leaders have
      tolerated, if not encouraged, fear of foreigners and assaults on those
      whose appearance differs from the average Russian.
      In a residential area of Moscow, a group of adolescents, many with
      shaven heads and wearing combat boots, marches and shouts Russian
      nationalist slogans. When they come across three Azeri boys, they
      don't hesitate. Soon, one of the boys - only 13 years old - lies
      severely injured; he will have to be hospitalized. The other two are
      injured as well. The perpetrators are never caught.
      Bashir Osiyev, 24, an Ingush-born clerk in a Moscow bank, is
      assaulted by a group of skinheads while walking home with a friend.
      The friend is badly wounded but manages to escape. Osiyev dies after
      being stabbed in the back. Two of the assailants are injured in the
      course of the fight and arrested after seeking medical assistance at a
      hospital. The others are never caught.
      Two men from the Caucasus are on their way to the metro and are
      attacked by a group of adolescents with knives. Both are treated in
      the hospital, the perpetrators escape unrecognized.
      In a small town in central Russia, two Uzbeks are viciously beaten up
      by a group of teenagers. All of these incidents occurred within just
      one week. They are picked at random from an endless series of similar
      assaults, many of which end fatally.
      The authorities tend to play down these attacks as the acts of
      rowdies - even when the perpetrators are caught and can be prosecuted.
      This is because charging someone with racism and xenophobia is more
      complicated and the process more drawn out than winning a conviction
      for simple thuggery.
      Indeed, racists can be assured of considerable sympathy from the
      security forces and the public. After all, these attacks generally
      don't occur in some dark alleyway. In most instances, they take place
      in crowded markets, metro stations, or simply in busy
      streets.-Pedestrians nearby look the other way, even if the victims
      are women and children.
      A Chechen friend of mine and her 14-year-old son were attacked on the
      street by three drunken skinheads. The skinheads began to push them
      around and harass them, as people on the street looked away and kept
      moving. My friend managed to talk insistently to the three until
      eventually they left her and her son alone, only to pounce on a
      married couple that happened to be passing by. The man looked like he
      was Jewish, they insisted loudly, and started to push him around. But
      he's Russian, his frightened wife insisted, whereupon the three
      apologized and let him go.
      Neither husband nor wife were alarmed that the three drunks were
      chasing Caucasus natives and Jews but pressed charges because they, as
      Russian citizens, had been harassed. My friend didn't. It would
      not do any good, she said resignedly, and then spoke of how her
      12-year-old daughter is repeatedly told at school that all Chechens
      are criminals and that nobody likes them.
      Since the day that then-President Vladimir Putin spoke on television
      of wasting Chechen terrorists in the outhouse, hatred of Caucasus
      natives has become all but socially acceptable. Once again, a subgroup
      of the population has been declared outlaws and potential terrorists,
      satisfying people's urge to find a clearly identifiable enemy who can
      be blamed for all that is wrong in the country. While there has been
      no la<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
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