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Bulletin 2:23 (2008)

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  • andreumland
    THE RUSSIAN NATIONALISM BULLETIN A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs Vol. 2, No. 23(28), 2008 Compilers: Scott Littlefield & Andreas Umland I NEWS: 1 -
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 22, 2008
      A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs
      Vol. 2, No. 23(28), 2008
      Compilers: Scott Littlefield & Andreas Umland

      I NEWS: 1 - 15 JULY 2008

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      I NEWS: 1 - 15 JULY 2008

      Gang Charged With 20 Racist Killings
      The Moscow Times, July 1, 2008

      A gang, led by two teenagers, has been charged with murdering 20
      people in a series of racist killings over eight months, the
      Investigative Committee said Monday.
      Charges have been brought against nine people aged 17 to 22,
      including a young woman, aged 22, who recorded one attack, committee
      spokesman Vladimir Markin said.
      "She videotaped the first crime committed by the group. The wounded
      person survived at the time," Markin said in a statement.
      "Lone citizens of non-Slavic appearance were chosen as victims. The
      assailants attempted to cause grave bodily harm in the shortest
      possible period of time," he said. "Investigators … accuse the
      members of the group of 20 cases of murder and 12 attempted murders."
      The accused have not yet been tried.


      After Three Month Manhunt, Volgogard Police Detain Neo-Nazi
      FSU Monitor, July 1, 2008

      Police in Volgograd, Russia detained an 18-year-old neo-Nazi after a
      three month long manhunt, according to a June 24, 2008 article in the
      local paper Gorodskie Vesti. The young man was allegedly the leader
      of a five person neo-Nazi gang who organized an attack on an anti-
      fascist activist in the town of Volzhsky. After observing their
      intended victim, the neo-Nazi leader allegedly lured him to an
      isolated spot and hit him in the head with a hammer. The young man
      survived, luckily, and his mother pressed charges, upon which the
      suspect fled and was placed on the wanted list. He now faces assault
      charges, but no extremism charges have yet been filed against him.


      Court Gives Slap on the Wrists to Extremists Who Incited Violence
      Against Jews
      FSU Monitor, July 1, 2008

      Three antisemitic extremists who called for violence against Jews and
      other minorities were given suspended sentences in Blagoveshchensk,
      Russia (Amur region) according to a June 30, 3008 report by the Sova
      Information-Analytical Center. The three members of the local branch
      of the Union of the Russian People (a group named for an organization
      that murdered Jews in the last days of the Tsarist empire) were
      convicted of inciting ethnic hatred and forming an extremist
      organization. The prosecution collected video clips, the group's
      literature, and eye witness testimony to demonstrate that the
      defendants regularly incited hatred against Jews and planned to arm
      themselves to "take action" against them. However, the court did not
      take the latter accusation seriously and therefore declined to
      sentence them to real prison time.


      Baptist Teacher Fired for Her Religious Beliefs
      FSU Monitor, July 1, 2008

      A Baptist woman lost her teaching post because of her religious
      beliefs, according to a June 25, 2008 report by the Slavic Law
      Center. Olga Rybakova, a well qualified teacher, was initially hired
      to head the Snezhny summer camp near Magadan, Russia. However, on
      June 10 Aleksandr Gerasimchuk--the head of the city's Committee on
      Physical Culture, Sports and Tourism--summoned Ms. Rybakova to his
      office and told her that the region's deputy governor (V. N.
      Sobolevaya) didn't like the fact that a Protestant was running a
      children's summer camp and that she would not be allowed to continue
      her work. He added that the city's deputy mayor, Yuri Grishan, had
      expressed a similar opinion, and that her church was supposedly "semi-
      banned" in Russia, that Baptist churches had been made illegal in
      Moscow and St. Petersburg, and that "it was only a matter of time"
      before Baptist churches would be banned in Magadan. None of this is
      true. When Ms. Rybakova asked why she was being fired, Mr.
      Gerasimchuk allegedly told her that his bosses were making threats
      and that they wanted her out "because of your faith, probably." Ms.
      Rybakova's pastor protested the firing to the local prosecutor's
      office, citing Russia's labor laws that prohibit discrimination based
      on religious affiliation, but the pastor has reportedly already
      received an oral reply that prosecutors feel that no crime has been


      UCSJ's Weekly Newsletter, Volume 8, Number 27, July 3, 2008

      On June 30, Russian prosecutors charged a skinhead gang with the
      racist murders of 20 people during a series of attacks in Moscow
      during 2006-7, Britain's "Guardian" reported. Prosecutors identified
      two teenagers as leaders--art student Artur Ryno and Pavel Skachevsky-
      -and charged nine people aged between 17 and 22 with the murders. One
      gang member was a 22-year-old woman who allegedly videotaped an
      attack on one victim, a student from Azerbaijan who was severely
      beaten but survived.
      The gang targeted victims from post-Soviet republics who were working
      and studying in Moscow. Ryno was arrested after allegedly stabbing to
      death an Armenian businessman in April 2007. He told police he had
      killed more than 30 people, declaring that "the city needed to be
      cleansed" of foreigners who "oppressed Russians".
      "Lone citizens of non-Slavic appearance were chosen as victims,"
      Vladimir Markin, spokesman for Russia's investigative committee, told
      the press. "The assailants attempted to inflict grievous harm within
      the shortest possible time." He pointed out that the two gang leaders
      were both under 16 years of age when they committed their crimes.


      UCSJ's Weekly Newsletter, Volume 8, Number 27, July 3, 2008

      A security guard in Volgograd was charged with a hate crime and
      other offenses, according to a July 2 report by the Sova Information-
      Analytical Center. On April 22, 2008 the guard assaulted a citizen of
      India while screaming racist abuse. He then attacked a police officer
      responding to calls for help from witnesses to the attack. On July 1,
      the guard was charged with "hooliganism motivated by racial, ethnic,
      or religious hatred" along with threatening to use violence against a
      government official and publicly insulting a public official. The
      suspect has a criminal record, having been found guilty on illegal
      weapons possession in the past.


      UCSJ's Weekly Newsletter, Volume 8, Number 27, July 3, 2008

      Two far-right activists who sent death threats to jury members
      presiding over the trial of Russian police officers accused of
      torturing Azeris were sentenced to six years and two years in prison,
      respectively, according to the national daily "Moskovsky Komsomolets"
      of June 25.
      Aleksandr Matasov and Aleksandr Kovalyov sent death threats to jury
      members and witnesses in a case that became a cause celebre for the
      Russian far-right: the trial of two police officers accused of
      torturing ethnic Azeris in the Moscow suburb of Serpukhov. After
      receiving the threats, which the defendants signed "Russian National
      Unity" (a notorious neo-Nazi group), some witnesses and jury members
      dropped out of the case, and in one instance fled the country.
      Ultimately, the two police officers were found not guilty. Left
      unmentioned in the report is whether or not prosecutors will revisit
      the original trial or investigate if an attack on the judge presiding
      over the officers' trial was related to the death threats.


      Rostov Neo-Nazis Face Hate Crime Charges
      FSU Monitor, July 3, 2008

      Four neo-Nazis in Rostov-na-Donu, Russia face hate crimes charges,
      according to a June 30, 2008 article in the local newspaper Vecherny
      Rostov. The victim of the attack, mentioned briefly at the end of an
      article about how neo-Nazis recruit new members on the Internet, was
      a 17 year old boy from the Caucasus. The suspects, all local college
      students, allegedly beat and robbed him on Prospekt Selmash while
      screaming racist insults. The face charges under Article 282 of the
      Criminal Code.


      Russia: Series of Attacks on Gastarbeiters at Moscow Metro
      The Journal of Turkish Weekly, July 4, 2008

      A series of attacks on gastarbeiters (foreign workers) makes it
      likely that a gang of skinheads are operating at the Moscow metro,
      according to Life.ru.
      On July 2, the Department of Internal Affairs of Moscow metro
      officers recorded two more attacks on citizens of neighboring
      countries. In both cases, the attacks occurred at the "Prospect Mira"
      ("Mira Avenue") subway station. Both victims were seriously wounded
      in the chest by a knife.
      Late in the evening, 20-year old Mukhammed Sh., an Uzbek citizen,
      was stabbed in the chest. The victim was taken for treatment to SRI
      after Sklifosovsky.
      A short time later, at the same station, 24-year old Magamedrasul I
      of Degstanian was also stabbed in the chest and transported for
      treatment to "Sklif" (SRI after Sklifosovsky).
      On July 1 similar attacks were recorded. An Uzbek citizen, Danier
      D., was stabbed at night at the "Prospect Mira' subway station. His
      injuries were severe enough to require his being hospitalized. Later
      on, 21-year old Alexei S. reported that he was attacked by unknown
      persons, who stabbed him in the chest and fled.
      The overall character of the crimes, the location and the weapon
      used each time, makes officials believe the same persons committed
      these crimes.
      Police are still putting together descriptions of the criminals.
      Criminal cases on attacks are investigated by the Metro Prosecutor's


      Multiple Stabbings at Moscow Metro Station, Neo-Nazis Suspected
      FSU Monitor, July 7, 2008

      Neo-Nazis are suspected in a series of stabbings at a Moscow metro
      station, according to a July 3, 2008 report by the Sova Information-
      Analytical Center. On July 1, someone stabbed a native of Uzbekistan
      at the Prospekt Mir metro station; the victim was subsequently
      hospitalized. A 21-year-old victim whose nationality was not
      disclosed in the report ended up in the hospital with stab wounds to
      the chest later that day. The next day at the same metro station,
      natives of Uzbekistan and Dagestan were stabbed in the chest and
      hospitalized in separate attacks. There were no reports of any
      arrests made in relation to these incidents.


      Russian Blogger Receives One Year of Suspended Sentence for a Comment
      SOVA, July 7, 2008

      Today, July 7, 2008, blogger and musician Savva Terentyev received
      one year of suspended sentence from the City Court of Syktyvkar
      (Republic of Komi) for his comments to a blog article by local
      journalist Boris Suranov, posted on February 15, 2007.
      On February 22, 2008, the Syktyvkar prosecutors officially charged
      Savva Terentyev of inciting to social hatred towards policemen in a
      commentary to an Internet diary entry. The charge was made on the
      basis of Article 282 of the criminal code of the Russian Federation
      condemning "the incitement of hatred or hostility […] on the basis of
      sex, race, nationality, language, ethnicity, religion, or reference
      to a social group".
      Terentyev commented within a discussion about police corruption. In
      essence, using very harsh words, the comment expressed hate towards
      incorrect police officers, and towards the general dullness and lack
      of education of the police forces which are joined only by "bydlo i
      gopota" ("cattle and hooligans"). Terentyev further expressed his
      wish that in the center of Syktyvkar there were a furnace, like in
      Auschwitz, to burn an incorrect policeman a day.
      Terentyev admitted to be the author of the comment, but didn't plead
      guilty, saying that he had only expressed his opinion on corrupted
      policemen in a hyperbolic way. Besides, he apologized to the victims
      of the Nazi camps for the Auschwitz allegory.
      Several times, teams of experts examined the Terentyev's commentary.
      While the first commission was absolutely favorable to the blogger,
      the ensuing reports of the experts convened to reevaluate the
      statements grew increasingly hostile. The second report found the
      content to be provocative and somewhat extremist in nature, but did
      not believe the evidence sufficed to build a criminal case.
      The last report, issued on June 19, 2008, concluded, among other
      things, that the policemen were a social group, that Terentyev's
      statements were an incitement to social hatred, and that the Internet
      diary where they were posted was a public place (and thus Terentyev
      publicly incited social hatred). It is this report that serves as
      basis for today's decision.
      The status of the police forces as a whole as a social group is
      however questionable and unclear; in the very text of the experts'
      report, the policemen are named "professional group"; the expert
      sources the commission used to define the concepts they employed to
      support the accusations against Terentyev numbered, among others, the
      Russian version of the nonacademic Wikipedia online encyclopedia.
      The conclusion that the blog is a public place is also questionable
      since not more than a handful of people had read the comment before
      the accusations of extremism were brought into the open.
      The fact that Terentyev was referring to "incorrect cops" was
      completely disregarded from the analysis – thus, the conclusion that
      Terentyev was inciting to violence against all law-enforcers is
      considered flawed. It is doubtful in any case that the musician's
      comments would be literally interpreted by the readers.
      What is acknowledged, however, is the great amount of time – one and
      a half years - and effort the various commissions invested into
      analyzing Teretyev's comments, even asking for the musician's school
      essays, including those he had copied from the textbook. At the same
      time, such commissions would be very much welcome to extend their
      analysis to other incitements to violence, particularly to those that
      set a time and date.
      In a last word about the trial, Terentyev described it
      as "interesting and merry".
      The ruling will be attacked by Terentyev and his lawyers at the
      Supreme Court of the Republic of Komi.


      Novosibirsk prosecutor to close up another scientologist organization
      Interfax-Religion, July 8, 2008

      July 8, Interfax - Prosecutor of the Novosibirsk Region addressed the
      Novosibirsk central district court a demand to close up Dianetics
      Siberian Center non-commercial partnership.
      The regional prosecutor's office has reported on Tuesday that law-
      enforcement agencies together with experts of regional educational
      department analyzed activities of the scientologist center and
      examined printed publications by Ron Hubbard used in the center.
      "Educational activity is subjected to licensing in the Russian
      Federation. The license for conducting educational activity is given
      to religious organizations on request of their leaders. However, the
      International Scientologist Church, which owns L. Ron Hubbard's
      books, booklets and programs didn't apply for the license and is not
      registered in the Novosibirsk Region," the message says.
      "Dianetics Siberian Center conducts educational activities contrary
      to the law as it has not set up a proper educational establishment
      and does not have the required permission, which is a multiple
      violation of the law and gives grounds for the court to decide on its
      liquidation in compliance with the regional prosecutor's claim," the
      press release notes.
      As was reported, the Novosibirsk prosecutor had earlier applied to
      the Novosibirsk Oktyabrsky District court with a demand to liquidate
      Social rehabilitation center for people with proven criminal record
      Criminon-Novosibirsk non- commercial partnership "which also conducts
      educational activities without proper educational institution and
      necessary permission.
      The center practice Hubbard's courses including "Guidance on basic
      education," which are additional educational program. According to
      the prosecutor's office, "psychologically and pedagogically this
      program is anti-scientific and potentially dangerous for
      psychological health and is morally unacceptable."


      News in Brief
      The Moscow Times, July 8, 2008

      The Moscow City Court on Monday refused to consider a request for a
      criminal investigation into the execution of thousands of Polish army
      officers killed by the Soviet Union in the Katyn massacre during
      World War II. (Reuters)
      Eduard Limonov, leader of the banned National Bolshevik Party, has
      started a campaign in support of what he calls political prisoners,
      demanding President Medvedev free 25 people, including Mikhail
      Khodorkovsky. (Reuters)


      Neo-Nazis Kill Tajik in Moscow Metro
      FSU Monitor, July 8, 2008

      Neo-Nazis murdered a Tajik migrant in the Moscow metro, according to
      a July 1, 2008 report by the Sova Information-Analytical Center. The
      previously unreported killing took place on May 7. Shurkhat Okilov
      was found dead from multiple stab wounds inside the Elektrozavodskaya
      metro station; police suspect the murder may be the work of neo-


      Are ghettos the answer to Russian hate crimes?
      Russia Today, July 9, 2008

      Tension is rising in Russian society, with more guest workers
      flocking in and more hate crimes reported every month. Some experts
      suggest keeping different nationalities apart to drain the steam.
      These days people with dark hair, eyes and skin don't feel safe in
      Russian cities, with racially motivated crimes are on the increase.
      Recently the government has woken up to the problem and convicted
      racists face tough sentences. But that's not enough for some
      activists who are suggesting segregation.
      "This problem can be solved with creation of special communities
      with an infrastructure in which people would live and feel relatively
      safe," believes Nafigulla Ashirov, Co-Chairman of the Russian Mufti
      In other words - a ghetto.
      However, the proposal hasn't gone down well with Russian lawmakers,
      who don't want to see the inner-city problems that have plagued other
      major capitals.
      "It's an idea no-one could put into practice! It's even harmful,
      because if implemented, it would cause a rise in international
      tension. Also, dividing society on the grounds of ethnicity has
      always brought about sad consequences in Russia," said Russian MP
      Gennady Gudkov
      While politicians attempt to come up with solutions, migrants from
      across the world keep heading towards Russia every day.
      Today Russian cities don't have the ethnic neighbourhoods seen in
      places like London, or New York. But the fear is as long as the
      attacks by skinheads continue, radical ideas, like creating ghettos
      will be floated, rather than the more substantial ones needed to deal
      with the underlying social problem.


      Youths Attack Tajiks on Moscow Suburban Train
      FSU Monitor, July 9, 2008

      Three youths attacked two Tajik men on board a Moscow suburban train,
      according to a July 8, 2008 report by the Jewish.ru. web site. The
      teenagers assaulted the men on the Moscow-Golitsyno train and then
      fled the scene at the Lianozovo station. There is no information in
      the report about the severity of the victims' injuries, and it is not
      clear if the police are even investigating the incident.


      Moscow Police Bungle Investigation of Brutal Stabbing
      FSU Monitor, July 9, 2008

      Police in Moscow appear to have bungled their investigation into the
      stabbing of Denis Tsoy, who suffered 27 knife wounds in a January
      2008 attack near Moscow but miraculously survived, according to a
      July 9, 2008 report by the Sova Information-Analytical Center. Police
      reportedly resorted to hypnosis in their interrogation of a group of
      suspects, allegedly members of a neo-Nazi gang, along with more
      traditional methods of analyzing their cell phone records and
      gathering testimony from other witnesses. Despite the fact that Mr.
      Tsoy identified two of the attackers, one of whom was allegedly found
      in possession of a knife when he was detained, police have concluded
      that the four suspects they originally detained were not involved in
      the attack and dropped charges against them. They are continuing the
      investigation, looking for other suspects.


      Russian National Team To Fight For 80 Olympic Medals – Tyagachev
      Itar-Tass, July 10, 2008

      SOCHI, July 10 (Itar-Tass) - The president of the Russian Olympic
      Committee Leonid Tyagachev said on Wednesday that the Russian
      national team would fight for 80 medals at the forthcoming Olympic
      Games in Beijing.
      Tyagachev told a news conference in Sochi, a Russian Black Sea
      resort that has won the right to host the 2014 Winter Olympics, that
      the Russian national team is set to win as many medals as possible at
      the Summer Olympic Games in China. "The team has 87 strong
      contenders. It's an enormous army that can fight for medals," the
      president of the Russian Olympic Committee went on to say.
      Tyagachev said that Russian athletes stood a chance to win the
      Olympic gold in disciplines where Russia has traditionally been
      strong: track-and-fields, synchronized swimming, wrestling, boxing,
      gymnastics, tennis and team sports.
      "We can come close to America by the number of medals," Tyagachev
      told reporters. He believes that China will be Russia' s serious
      rival in 2008, especially in disciplines like swimming, gymnastics
      and water slalom. The Russian national team was third at the 2004
      Summer Olympic Games in Athens. It won 92 medals, including 27 gold,
      27 silver and 38 bronzes. The Chinese athletes won 32 gold medals out
      of the total number of 63.
      Tyagachev said the first group of Russian athletes would leave for
      the Olympic games in Beijing on July 29.
      A farewell ceremony for the Russian national Olympic team will take
      place on the Cathedral Square in the Moscow Kremlin.
      "With the blessing of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy
      II the Russian national team will take the Icon of St. George for the
      Olympics for the fourth time. Father Nikolai appointed by the
      patriarchate will accompany the team to Beijing," Tyagachev told
      The Russian national Olympic team includes 467 athletes as well as
      coaches, doctors and massage therapists. Tyagachev said that a group
      of Russian Olympic champions of various years would go to Beijing to
      support the Russian athletes at competitions, while only Russian
      cooks will cook food for the team.
      "The Russian national flag will be raised in the Olympic Village -
      in a place where Russian athletes are going to stay - on August 5,"
      Leonid Tyagachev went on to say. He added that a guesthouse for 500
      people would be opened for government members, businessmen and
      people's artists.
      Russian athletes will arrive in China in several groups. "All
      athletes will be in the capital of the summer Olympic Games not later
      than three days before competitions start," Tyagachev clarified.
      The 29th Summer Olympic Games in Beijing will be held on August 8-24.

      Donetsk believers not to let "antichrist" Yushchenko to Svyatogorsk
      Interfax, July 11, 2008

      Moscow, July 11, Interfax - Donetsk believers have urged "Orthodox
      host" to come to the central Lenin Square on July 12, Saturday, to
      discuss the plan of protecting the Holy Dormition Laura from
      Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko.
      "We won't let Yushchenko to the Laura, he has no right to do it.
      Let's anathematize the demon with his seal and clootie so that he
      couldn't desecrate our shrines. Lets block his road to our churches
      forever," the address to the mass media of the Donetskaya Respublica
      popular movement and the International Russian Front reads as it was
      cited by Zadonbass.org.
      Yushchenko plans to visit the Svyatogorsk Laura in Donetsk in frames
      of the 1020th anniversary of Russia's Baptism. Donetsk Orthodox
      believers document says that the Ukrainian President is to "bring the
      horde of Filaret vassals, uniates, cultists and other schismatics
      with him," to make "a real Sabbath" in the Laura cathedral.
      "What festivals can the Satan's servant celebrate in an Orthodox
      church??? Uniates are coming to the monastery to hold their unifying
      council and they bring Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who suspects
      nothing, to set up a schismatic patriarchal see for insulting the
      Russian Orthodox Church," the authors believe.
      They state "religious wars begin" in Ukraine. "Rus is torn apart,"
      so all believers are urged to unite "in Orthodox hosts" not to bring
      to shame our predecessors.
      "We shouldn't stand apart and watch how antichrist hordes desecrate
      our land. If we keep silence today - tomorrow he will tear us to
      pieces. Come on, Orthodox people! No one will help us, let us protect
      Russian Orthodoxy and not let evil to the Laura, not let them
      desecrate holy icons, holy relics of St. John the Hermit, the holy
      Russian land! Let us kick out our foe from the Russian land, far off
      our shrines!" Orthodox believers from the Donetsk organizations


      Pogromist Newspaper Editor Charged With Extremism
      FSU Monitor, July 11, 2008

      Prosecutors in Chita, Russia charged the editor of a local newspaper
      with extremism, according to a July 11, 2008 report on the web site
      Jewish.ru. The newspaper "Russkoe Zabaykale" is the official organ of
      the local branch of the Union of the Russian People, named for a
      group that led pogroms against Jews in the late Tsarist period. Its
      editor, Aleksandr Yaremenko, previously received a warning from the
      prosecutor's office but continued to publish antisemitic articles. On
      July 10, a local court approved the charges of extremism and ordered
      that the newspaper's property be confiscated.


      Bigotry Monitor, Volume 8, Number 28, July 11, 2008

      Speaking on the occasion of the third anniversary of the founding of
      the Movement Against Illegal Immigration (DPNI) earlier this week,
      its leader Aleksandr Belov called for the adoption of "decisive
      measures" against illegal immigrants to Russia. In an interview with
      the newspaper "Segodnya," he claimed that that since his organization
      was formed, Russians are increasingly supportive of DPNI's anti-
      immigrant agenda and that ever more of them back DPNI's call for
      harsher measures against immigrants both legal and illegal.
      Belov set out three goals for DPNI: to dispel what he calls the myth
      about the usefulness of immigrants and to explain "the dangers of
      uncontrolled migration"; two, tougher laws governing the expulsion of
      non-indigenous peoples; three, creating its own vigilante groups to
      drive out illegal immigrants and to provide assistance to locals who
      find themselves "in conflicts with illegal immigrants."
      Belov argued that the problem of illegal immigration is surfacing in
      an increasing number of Russian cities and the problem exists in all
      the cities in which immigrants form more than five percent of the
      population. At that point, he added, the immigrants become a problem
      because they assume they can act as they did at home rather than
      adapt to Russian cultural norms. Then, once the number of
      migrants "exceeds 25 to 30 percent" of the indigenous population,
      members of the indigenous groups "begin to leave their own land," a
      process that Belov claims is evident in the North Caucasus and "in
      certain districts of Moscow."


      Bigotry Monitor, Volume 8, Number 28, July 11, 2008

      The list of materials deemed "extremist" in Russia has nearly doubled
      in length since the beginning of the year and now comprises 151
      titles, according to the official web site of the Justice Ministry,
      the state information agency RIA Novosti reported on July 7. As of
      December 29, 2007, the list of banned titles comprised 79 items,
      including books, brochures, articles, leaflets, and other printed
      materials, as well as one film and one music album. By February 28
      this year, the Federal Registration Service published a list
      comprising 100 banned titles. The new list includes "The Book of
      Monotheism" by Muhammad ibn Suleyman al-Tamimi, the letters of the
      Rada (Council) of the Land of Kuban of the spiritual tribal state of
      Rus, the book "Through the Prism of Islam," and the lyrics of the
      Tsiklon B group of musicians.


      Pogromist Newspaper Editor Charged With Extremism
      FSU Monitor, July 14, 2008

      Prosecutors in Chita, Russia charged the editor of a local newspaper
      with extremism, according to a July 11, 2008 report on the web site
      Jewish.ru. The newspaper Russkoe Zabaykale is the official organ of
      the local branch of the Union of the Russian People, named for a
      group that led pogroms against Jews in the late Tsarist period. Its
      editor, Aleksandr Yaremenko, previously received a warning from the
      prosecutor's office but continued to publish antisemitic articles. On
      July 10, a local court approved the charges of extremism and ordered
      that the newspaper's property be confiscated.


      Moscow authorities ban gay picket near Iranian embassy
      Interfax, July 14, 2008

      Moscow, July 14, Interfax - The Moscow central administrative
      district prefecture turned down a request by gay advocacy groups for
      permission to hold picket against what they called the persecution
      and executions of sexual minorities in Iran on Monday.
      The applicants asked for permission to hold the picket near the
      Iranian embassy on July 19. About 30 people were due to take part,
      Moscow gay pride parade organizer Nikolay Alexeyev told the Interfax-
      He said the application was submitted last Friday in strict
      compliance with Russian laws, but the prefecture retorted it could
      not guarantee the security of those taking part in the picket.
      "This is a flagrant violation of the Russian constitution and laws
      on public actions," Alexeyev said.


      Police Detain Suspects in Orenburg Synagogue Vandalism
      FSU Monitor, July 15, 2008

      Police in Orenburg, Russia detained three young men suspected of
      vandalizing a synagogue in April, according to a July 9, 2008 article
      in the local newspaper "Yaik." The suspects reportedly have neo-Nazi
      tattoos and have confessed to the crime. A search of one suspect's
      apartment reportedly yielded extremist leaflets. The vandals painted
      swastikas and death threats on the walls of the synagogue; the
      suspects could face up to four years in prison if convicted under
      hate crimes legislation.


      Novosibirsk Prosecutors Charge Four Youths With Hate Crimes Murder
      FSU Monitor, July 15, 2008

      Prosecutors in Novosibirsk, Russia charged four youths, including two
      middle school students, with murder motivated by ethnic hatred,
      according to a July 7, 2008 report by the local news service
      Taiga.ru. The youths allegedly beat a citizen of Turkey to death on
      January 12 with baseball bats. Police found a video clip that the
      suspects reportedly made of the attack, along with unspecified neo-
      Nazi items. A court date has not yet been set.

      In wake of visa crackdown, LDS Church re-assigns Russia-bound
      The Associated Press, July 15, 2008

      The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is no longer sending
      North American missionaries to Russia due to new visa laws.
      Missionaries who were being prepared at the Missionary Training
      Center in Provo for service in Russia have been reassigned.
      North American missionaries already in Russia will remain to
      complete their service, which runs two years for men and 18 months
      for women.
      Last year, Russia began to require foreigners on humanitarian
      visas, which includes missionaries, to leave the country every three
      months to renew their visas.


      DPNI Eyeing Mainstream
      The Moscow Times » Issue 3944 » July 15, 2008

      The ultranationalist Movement Against Illegal Immigration, or DPNI,
      intends to abandon radical action and join politics, its leader,
      Alexander Belov, told the organization's congress.
      The organization plans to become a European-style nationalist party,
      Kommersant reported Monday.
      "We are interested in nationalism as a respectable movement. Not
      with beards and jackboots, but suits and ties," he said, Kommersant
      reported. (MT)


      Accusations That Russia To Blame For Soviet Famine Immoral-president
      Itar-Tass, July 15, 2008

      MOSCOW, July 15 (Itar-Tass) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said
      on Tuesday it is immoral to accuse Russia of mass famine in the
      Soviet Union in the 1930s.
      "We should not be accused of this. These accusations are purely
      immoral political utterance. This is our common grief," he said
      during his visit to the foreign ministry to study models of monuments
      to be erected to remember different historical events, including the
      one devoted to mass famine.
      "This monument embodies our common grief," but nowadays some accuse
      Russia of this hardship, the monument's author, sculptor Vladimir
      Surovtsev said.
      Last week the U.N. General Assembly voted against the issue of the
      Holodomor (famine) in Ukraine to be put on the agenda. Mass famine in
      the Soviet Union in the 1930s is a tragic page in the common history
      of Soviet peoples, Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin said.
      Famine affected not only Ukraine, but also other regions of the
      Soviet Union, in particular southern Belarus, the Volga region, the
      Central region, Cossack regions of Don and Kuban as well as the North
      Caucasus, where famine began in 1931, Northern Kazakhstan, Southern
      Urals and West Siberia, he stressed.
      Policy of violent collectivisation and forced bread storage were to
      blame for the tragedy in Ukraine and in the rest of the Soviet Union,
      he said.
      "Thus, famine in the Soviet Union in the 1930s demonstrates the
      crisis of the system and vicious management of the agricultural
      sector of the whole country and not only of Ukraine," Churkin said.


      Russia Mulls Legislation To 'Save' Its Youth
      By: Claire Bigg
      RFE/RL, July 2, 2008

      Irina, a Moscow teenager with white-blond hair dressed in laddered
      tights and a black leather jacket, sits on a park bench in the city
      center with two girlfriends, drinking a bottle of beer and enjoying
      the warm summer afternoon.
      The girls, sporting punky combinations of dyed hair, nose rings, and
      slightly sullen expressions, look like average teenagers in many
      parts of the world. But in Moscow, they are the target of a new
      government campaign to purge Russia's youth of immorality and sin.
      Irina, for one, is skeptical.
      "Body piercing is a method of self-expression. People have the right
      to adorn themselves as they wish," she says. "If a child is able to
      express himself from an early age, he may not want to keep this
      piercing later in life. To be honest, I don't understand what
      authorities have against it. They might as well ban certain haircuts
      or hair dyes."
      The plan that has Irina nervous is a package of bills and
      amendments, introduced in Russia's State Duma in June, aimed
      at "protecting children's morality." If some Duma deputies have their
      way, young Russians could soon find themselves in trouble for
      activities as seemingly innocent as carving pumpkins or listening to
      Together with proposals to combat child alcoholism and pornography,
      the policy project outlines a raft of draconian measures such as a 10
      p.m. curfew for all school-age children and a ban on tattoos and body-
      Under the new measures, schools would be prohibited from celebrating
      Western holidays like Halloween and St. Valentine's Day, which are
      deemed inappropriate to "Russian culture." Toys in the shape of
      monsters or skeletons would be banned as "provoking
      aggression." 'Spiritual And Moral' Crisis
      The proposal also sets its sights on teenage subcultures such as
      emo, a style of hardcore punk, and goth, which lawmakers accuse
      of "cultivating bisexuality." Both styles, the legislation implies,
      are social scourges on a par with the skinhead movement, and must be
      eliminated from the social landscape.
      "The country has overcome its economic crisis, but now we're faced
      with another kind of crisis -- a spiritual and moral one," says
      Natalia Karpovich, the deputy head of the Duma committee for family,
      women, and children that is the driving force behind the proposal.
      "Drugs and other external interferences are replacing our original
      traditions and culture," she adds. "Money has replaced family values,
      spiritual values, respect for elders, love for the motherland."
      The policy project, which is still under discussion in parliament
      but could see a Duma vote as early as this autumn, is part of a broad
      government initiative to promote patriotism and national pride.
      Supporters of the proposal say the chaos of the 1990s tore away the
      social safety net that the Soviet Union had provided the nation's
      children and youth. The country has seen an alarming rise in
      alcoholism, drug addiction, and suicide among young Russians. The
      number of orphans and street children has also skyrocketed since the
      Soviet collapse.
      Bad Influences
      In such a climate, some child-welfare experts say the new
      legislation is long overdue. Not surprisingly, the proposal has its
      supporters among parents as well.
      "As a mother, I'm 100 percent for it. Children watch all this
      butchery and screaming on television, [in films like] 'Halloween'
      and 'Friday the 13th,'" says Svetlana Trubochkina, a Muscovite with a
      15-year-old daughter.
      But Trubochkina points to a possible weak spot in the proposal: its
      failure to offer teenagers appealing alternatives to the behavior it
      seeks to ban -- and support for parents unable to devote as much time
      and resources to their children as they would like.
      "It's one thing to prohibit things, but nothing is offered in
      exchange," she says. "Only large cities have big sports grounds where
      children can play, or music clubs or art studios. Parents are usually
      so busy working all day, running and trying to manage everything,
      that unfortunately, there's not much time left for children."
      Some critics go further. Psychologist Olga Makhovskaya says the
      proposed measures are excessively harsh, and that it's time for child-
      welfare policies to start focusing on compassion, rather than
      "This kind of total, blanket measure enables us to soothe our
      conscience or spend budget money, but we're unlikely to solve the
      problem of child solitude and neglect," she says. "Only society's
      solidarity and compassion can save and support children. That's what
      the government should be striving for. The level of solidarity in our
      country is very low; we're not interested in each other's lives."
      Too Late For Some?
      Some supporters of the project -- including Duma deputy and film
      director Stanislav Govorukhin -- take a particularly dim view of the
      country's young people, saying the new rules are chiefly intended for
      toddlers and children who have yet to be born. Children older than 2,
      says Govorukhin, are already "lost" and beyond rescue.
      Most authorities, however, have been more inclusive. Russia's
      mounting demographic crisis means the country can ill afford to sign
      off on an entire generation as a hopeless cause, and the government
      in recent years has demonstrated a growing interest in young people.
      Pro-Kremlin youth groups like Nashi have found active backing, as
      have the newly formed Mishki, or Teddy Bears, which aims to instill
      patriotic values in 7- to 15-year-olds.
      Critics say initiatives like Nashi and the Duma's new policy
      proposal smack of Soviet times, when children were heavily
      indoctrinated both at school and in state-sponsored movements like
      the Young Pioneers. Some skeptics fear the Kremlin will use the
      proposed legislation as a weapon to nip political dissent in the bud.
      Government harassment of youth-based opposition movements like the
      now-outlawed National Bolsheviks only cements the conviction among
      many that the government's youth policy is highly selective and
      deeply political. Ulterior Motives
      Sociologist Lev Gudkov, who heads the Levada independent polling
      agency, says such strong-arm ideological molding is the true aim of
      initiatives, like the Duma proposal, purportedly meant to "save"
      Russia's youth.
      "It won't work, but I don't think anyone expects it to," Gudkov says
      of the Duma package. "It will be a means of repressing undesirable
      political opponents and youth movements. If it is passed -- and it
      probably will be passed -- it will be used to selectively repress
      specific groups."
      As the government buzzes over plans to rescue young Russians from
      themselves, not everyone is convinced that a life raft is necessary.
      Gudkov, for one, says today's young people treasure their
      independence regardless of their political orientation, and are
      certainly not as "lost" as deputies make them out to be.
      "Young people are, on the whole, more educated than the average
      citizen, better clued in to market changes, and a lot more self-
      sufficient than their parents and the older generation, which
      depended on the government to a much greater extent," he says. "Only
      in that sense can we say that young people are lost -- they're lost
      for the regime."
      Listening to Masha, a 20-year-old student dressed in black from head
      to toe, that would seem to be the case.
      "The State Duma would do better to fight corruption, the government
      mafia, bribe-taking, and other abuses than to restrict the lives of
      ordinary children," she says angrily. "The government is just fooling
      RFE/RL correspondent Chloe Arnold contributed to this report from

      Despite One Bishop's Disobedience, Church and State Likely to Grow
      Bigotry Monitor-UCSJ's Weekly Newsletter, Volume 8, Number 27, July
      3, 2008

      of the Russian Orthodox Church took the severe step of removing
      Bishop Diomid of Anadyr and Chukotka from the administration of his
      diocese, the Moscow Patriarchate informed Interfax. Over the past
      year and a half, Diomid often criticized in public Patriarch Alexis
      II and other prominent hierarchs and called for a renunciation of the
      dialogues with state authorities and representatives of other
      religions and confessions. He has also been quoted as objecting to
      globalization, Russia's joining the G-8, and any form of ecumenism.
      According to the Moscow Patriarchate, participants in last week's
      assembly voted overwhelmingly against Diomid: 178 to 3 with 2
      abstentions. However, Diomid is said to have popular support in his
      diocese and beyond it, including overseas. Some commentators have
      predicted that Diomid will publicly air his views, challenging the
      Russian Orthodox Church hierarchy in a full patriarchal court. One
      analyst even suggested that Diomid's supporters are far more numerous
      than the church or the Russian government standing behind it would
      want to admit.
      At its session, the Bishops' Council called for Diomid's immediate
      repentance and the cessation of his pastoral activity. A definite
      period of time was set within which the bishop should declare his
      repentance. If he doesn't do so by the next session of the bishops,
      usually held in mid-July, he will be officially "divested of
      episcopal orders."
      country people do not like to listen to other opinions," Diomid
      told "Nezavisimaya Gazeta" after the Sunday service in the church of
      the Transfiguration of the Lord that he conducted despite the synod's
      order not to lead any religious event. "I spoke out in defense of the
      Orthodox faith, against diluting it with other faiths." He said that
      his protest is against "church authoritarianism."
      He declared: "The high church leaders flirt with the Catholics and
      the authorities, and they have forgotten about service to God. I am
      not the first they have divested of orders; that's already happened,
      but justice and truth will inevitably triumph. We will fight for our
      ideas and opinions."
      He said he will hand over his office to his successor but stay in
      Chukotka and serve the church as a monk.
      The Russian Orthodox Church believes that freedom of choice "is not
      an absolute value" and is making an appeal to combine it with moral
      responsibility for the choice made, Metropolitan Kirill, the head of
      the department of external church relations, announced to journalists
      on June 26 in the course of the Bishops' Council.
      As reported as the official state news agency RIA Novosty, the
      Bishops' Council adopted a document titled "The foundations of the
      Russian Orthodox Church's teaching on human dignity, freedom, and
      rights." Metropolitan Kirill said that the document, which had been
      drafted under his leadership, will now form the basis of the church's
      dialogue with society, state, and human rights activists.
      "While acknowledging that the freedom of choice is a value, the
      [Orthodox] church insists that it is not an absolute value, because
      one can make a choice in favor of evil, disease, death, and
      destruction," Metropolitan Kirill said. He expressed disagreement
      with the secular concept of human rights that holds the freedom of
      choice [AS] an absolute value. He added: "It is very important for
      the sake of what we make our choice, how we choose to use our
      freedom. … The combination of the freedom of choice with moral
      responsibility is very important--and this is the message which the
      Church is addressing to the world."
      been asking if the frequent denunciations of minority Christians by
      the Russian Orthodox Church amount to a coordinated campaign or
      represent only a manifestation of a traditionally hostile attitude.
      Those who hold the former view point to conferences and articles that
      suggest an organized campaign.
      Most recently, at a June 18 conference, titled "The Destructive
      Activity of Religious Organizations on the Territory of Ryazan
      Oblast," professors at Ryazan State University's department of
      theology, local state security officials, and the head of the local
      Russian Orthodox diocese's missionary department labeled Baptists,
      Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, and Pentecostals dangerous "sects,"
      reported on June 25 the local youth newspaper "Molodyozhnaya Sreda."
      The article began with the author wistfully recalling: "If in earlier
      times heretics were mercilessly destroyed, nowadays in conformity
      with the 'Declaration of Human Rights' everyone has the right to
      choose his own religion." The writer defined a sect as a religious
      group that is not the ruling faith of a country and added
      that, "people who become followers of sectarian teachings lose their
      identity" through brainwashing, isolation, and starvation of their
      adepts (including children) into submission. The writer accused
      Baptists of refusing blood transfusions, confusing them with
      Jehovah's Witnesses, and compared "sects" to skinheads and other
      destructive elements of society. The article ended with the address
      and phone number of the local Russian Orthodox diocese, where readers
      can report the activity of "sects."
      That same day, the local supplement to the country's most widely read
      newspaper, "Komsomolskaya Pravda," published an article that
      contained extensive quotes from the head of the local Orthodox Church
      diocese's missionary department, Father Arseny. The article began
      with a dire warning: even religious groups that at first glance
      appear harmless "can enslave the personality of even a stable
      person." Father Arseny accused "sects" of operating in secret and
      fooling youths with what appear at first to be harmless activities
      such as anti-narcotics therapy. He characterized Pentecostal,
      Baptist, Mormon, Hare Krishna, and Jehovah's Witnesses congregations
      in Ryazan, some as small as five people, as threats to the public,
      and gave specific information about their locations. (Neo-Nazi and
      some pro-government youths groups have attacked minority Christians
      and their churches in recent years.) He then expressed alarm that
      Baptists have worked at a local orphanage for 12 years, and stated
      that: "The children that grow up there already don't see themselves
      as part of Russia. They are ready to go the States."
      The article concluded with a stern warning: "It's worth noting that
      sects present a serious threat, influence people's psyches, suppress
      their personalities, and take away their money. Falling into a sect
      means losing yourself, your loved ones, your relatives, and your
      Prime Minister Vladimir Putin thanked the Russian Orthodox Church for
      its great contribution to the unification of "the Russian world" and
      promised it the state's support, Interfax reported. "I want to thank
      from my soul all who make a small contribution to the good work of
      unity of 'the Russian world,'" Putin said in the Kremlin at a
      celebration devoted to the 1020th anniversary of the baptism of Rus,
      the first Russian state. He added: "The state intends in the future
      to support the initiatives of the church directed to the
      strengthening of civil and inter-religious harmony and its social,
      cultural, educational, and charity mission."
      Putin separately expressed words of thanks to Patriarch of Moscow and
      All Russia Alexis II.


      Moscow Caught Between Two Kinds of Russian Nationalism
      By: Paul Goble
      Window on Eurasia, July 5, 2008

      Vienna, July 4 – Moscow finds itself caught between two kinds of
      Russian nationalism, an "imperial" variant intended to promote
      cooperation among the nations of that country and the possibility of
      restoration of a larger state and an "ethnic" one seeking to
      establish a Russian nation state.
      Although many observers have suggested that these two kinds of
      nationalism are mutually reinforcing, Georgian analyst Tengiz
      Ablotiya argues in an essay posted online yesterday that they are
      deeply antagonistic not only in terms of their goals but even more in
      terms of the values each seeks to promote
      "Imperial nationalism," he points out, is necessary for the
      construction of powerful empires and is absolutely unsuitable for the
      construction of a purely national state. And conversely, ethnic
      nationalism leads to a separation of peoples and consequently
      completely excludes an imperial rebirth."
      Because imperial nationalism is in a certain sense "international,"
      Ablotiya continues, it typically "recognizes the equality of rights
      of all citizens and subjects of its empire which recognize its
      power." The core nation, of course, enjoys certain rights but it must
      be careful not to "advertise" its "superiority" lest it generate
      countervailing nationalisms among others.
      In the Russian case, he writes, "it is impossible to demand from a
      Chechen that he recognize himself as a citizen of the empire and at
      the same time not to give him the possibility to peacefully and
      without persecution from the cops to live in Moscow." For this kind
      of nationalism, Moscow should be "just as much a capital for the
      Chechen as it is for the Russian."
      Ethnic nationalism is just the reverse. For its followers,
      their "nation is better than all the others" and thus deserves a
      special place in the sun. Such an approach, which lies at the basis
      of most nation states, "has a right to exist," Ablotiya continues,
      but "it is absolutely unsuitable for empire building."
      In most countries, governments have to make a choice between these
      two lest they fall into a "paradoxical" situation. "However, as it
      well known, Russia is not to be understood by the mind alone: The two-
      headed eagle looks in various directions." And at present, Moscow is
      promoting both kinds of nationalism."While dreaming about the rebirth
      of the empire, Russia is today increasingly under the sway of
      absolutely ethnic nationalism," an arrangement, Ablotiya suggests,
      that is inherently inconsistent and ultimately unsustainable.
      The average Russian does not relate well to non-Russians at a
      personal level, regardless of whether he or she identifies the nation
      of which they are members as a friend or foe of Russia itself, he
      writes. Thus, Russians do not like Georgians whom they view as an
      enemy nation, but they also do not like Armenians, whose nation they
      tell pollsters is a friend of Russia.
      Thus, increasingly unconstrained even virulent ethnic nationalism
      among Russians undermines the chances for the restoration of the
      empire, Ablotiya says. But it does far more than that, Ablotiya
      argues, it threatens the continued existence of the Russian
      Federation as an integral country.
      "One cannot demand that a Daghestani recognize the jurisdiction of
      the RF but beat him on the head if he walks the streets of Moscow.
      For Daghestan can be inside the Russian Federation only under
      conditions of imperial nationalism. But under those of a nationalism
      which proclaims `Russia for the Russians,' sooner or later will lead
      to an adequate answer:"
      "'Daghestan for the Daghestanis,' `Chechnya for the
      Chechens,' `Buryatiya for the Buryats' and so on and on.
      Many Moscow leaders, especially those who have come from or have
      experience in non-Russian areas, recognize this danger. But today "it
      is evident that the Kremlin for reasons not obvious to an outsider is
      playing with ethnic nationalism" by allowing the almost "absolute
      freedom of action of skinheads and nationalist groups."
      "That won't bring Russia any good," Ablotiya concludes, "because it
      is impossible to build an empire [or even maintain a multi-national
      state like the Russian Federation] and hate [all or even a
      significant fraction of] its residents. Especially in the 21st


      Medvedev Plans to Support `Traditional' Religions
      By: Paul Goble
      Window on Eurasia, July 5, 2008

      Vienna, July 4 – In two statements this week – a message to a Moscow
      conference on the role of Islam in defeating terrorism and a
      statement to religious leaders in Baku – Russian President Dmitry
      Medvedev provided the clearest definition yet of how he views
      religion and how his government will interact with various faiths.
      As has been the case in some many policy areas, Medvedev's remarks on
      religion give both reason for hope that he will depart from the
      policies of Vladimir Putin in certain regards and pause for concern
      that he plans to act on the basis of some of the most discriminatory
      actions of his predecessor.
      On the positive side, Medvedev stressed more than Putin did the
      importance of serious religious training for and by the clergy, a
      recognition that people are more likely to become extremists because
      of an ignorance of their faith be it Christianity, Islam or anything
      else than because of knowledge about it.
      Moreover, he underscored his commitment to promoting inter-religious
      dialogue, explicitly saying in Baku that such conversations can help
      promote social stability and prevent the tendency of some to set
      people against each other on the basis of their religious beliefs or
      ethnic memberships.
      But on the other hand, Medvedev made it clear that just like his
      predecessor, he sees Russia's religions as being the
      four "traditional" ones – Orthodoxy, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism – a
      reification of an idea the Patriarchate's Metropolitan Kirill has
      been pushing for a decade and one that excludes the increasingly
      numerous Protestants, Catholics, and others.
      Indeed, the Russian president's words almost certainly will give aid
      and comfort to those in the Orthodox Church and the Russian
      nationalist movement who see all the others as dangerous "sects"
      against whom they, together with the state, have the right, even the
      obligation to combat.(For the text of Medvedev's message to the
      international conference in Moscow, see
      www.regions.ru/news/2152995/ and www.i-r-p.ru/page/stream-event/index-
      20598.html. For the text of his remarks in Baku, see www.interfax-


      Is a New Campaign against `Non-Traditional' Faiths about to Start in
      By: Paul Goble
      Window on Eurasia, July 7, 2008

      Vienna, July 7 – Under pressure from military commanders, the
      Orthodox Church, and various nationalistic groups, including the
      Cossacks, some groups with close ties to the Russian government
      appear to be preparing for a new campaign against "totalitarian
      religious sects" in particular and "non-traditional" religions more
      Such an effort would focus first on groups like the Scientologists
      who enjoy little support in either Russia or abroad but then could
      spread to other groups like Catholics and Protestants who are not
      members of what Russian officials, including President Dmitry
      Medvedev, call the country's "traditional" religions – Orthodoxy,
      Islam, Judaism and Buddhism.
      An effort targeting only the former would touch the estimated 800,000
      Russian citizens who are members of what some call "the sects," but
      official moves against the latter could affect many millions more and
      make a mockery of the Russian Constitution's commitment to religious
      freedom and the separation of church and state.
      Moreover, in some parts of Russia, any such campaign once begun would
      almost certainly spill over into attacks against all non-Orthodox
      groups, possibly triggering precisely the kind of inter-religious and
      inter-ethnic conflicts that the powers that be in Moscow say that
      they want to do everything to avoid.
      At a Moscow conference last week on ideological threats to Russia's
      national security, General Anatoly Kulikov, who earlier served as
      Russian interior minister and now is president of the Russian
      Military Commanders Club, called for greater efforts to protect the
      country from religious extremists
      Pointing to the extraordinary power of religion to affect behavior
      and the current spread of religious radicalism "among the unemployed,
      uneducated and poor … especially among the young and especially in
      the North Caucasus," Kulikov said that the government must impose
      greater controls "to prevent the dissemination of extremism and
      As a first step, Kulikov called for "strengthening [official] control
      over religious activities in the [Russian] armed forces," an appeal
      that echoes one issued on July 1 by the Assembly of Orthodox
      Intelligentsia. (For the appeal, see www.rusk.ru/st.php?idar=113032;
      for a discussion of its implications, see www.rusk.ru/newsdata.php?
      This appeal, which was sent to the Kremlin and the Duma, calls for
      giving the country's "traditional" faiths greater access to service
      personnel not only in order to promote patriotism and inter-religious
      cooperation but also and clearly more immediately to block the rise
      of "non-traditional" sects.
      Russia's "experience in the 1990s shows that if Orthodox priests are
      not allowed access to military units and vessels, then sectarians
      will take their place and agitate against service in the armed forces
      and for the destruction of [Russian] statehood and [Russian] national
      And yet another group is "gathering its forces" to
      fight "totalitarian cults," today's "Nezavisimaya gazeta" reports.
      That includes the Cossacks, including those of the Don who have, the
      paper said, "decided to declare war on the sectarians who are acting
      on the territory of Rostov oblast" (www.ng.ru/ngregions/2008-07-
      Working with the local eparchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, the
      Don Cossacks have set up a Cossack Anti-Sectarian Information and
      Consultation Center to coordinate the struggle with what it
      calls "the subversive, anti-social and anti-state activities of the
      totalitarian sects.'
      To that end, the center has assembled "a large quantity of
      information about the places where the sectarians meet, including
      addresses, telephones, the names of the leaders, and also about the
      arrival and departure of foreign `missionaries,'" who blames for much
      of the growth of such subversive groups.
      The local ataman, Aleksandr Shepelenko, told "Nezavisimaya gazeta"
      that his men "will not permit the construction of doubtful cult
      buildings" there and in particular will block any efforts by
      sectarians to open religious training centers, employing "popular
      referenda" if necessary to force the authorities to agree.
      But Shepelenko made it clear that his forces were prepared to move
      against at least one of Russia's traditional faiths, Islam. Because
      mosques are "not simply places of prayer" but organizing centers, he
      said, the Cossacks will work to block the construction of mosques, a
      reminder of just how quickly any campaign against sectarians could
      grow into something else.
      "Nezavisimaya gazeta" concludes its report with the observation
      that "far from everyone shares the position of the Don Cossacks." But
      recent statements by President Dmitry Medvedev on behalf of the
      traditional faiths and by the Patriarchate on behalf of Orthodoxy
      have energized them, even though the Russian Constitution guarantees
      everyone freedom of religion.


      Diomid Case Proves Chukchi Separatism is No Joke, Russian Nationalist
      By: Paul Goble
      Window on Eurasia, July 8, 2008

      Vienna, July 8 – Dissident Orthodox Bishop Diomid, whether
      intentionally or not, is helping to promote separatism in Chukotka,
      according to on Russian nationalist commentator. But another Moscow
      analyst suggests that the Kremlin's own behavior in this case is
      doing far more than the embattled churchman to threaten the
      territorial integrity of the country.
      In an article on the Pravaya.ru portal, Yury Bazhenov says that
      Russia risks losing Chukotka for reasons both domestic and foreign.
      Domestically, that Far Eastern region is so far from Moscow – more
      than 10,000 km and more than 10 time zones – and so cut off -- its
      towns are accessible only by irregular air routes that the center
      does not exercise effective control.
      With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Bazhenov continues, this
      isolation became even more important. The collapse of Soviet
      subsidies meant that a large number of Russians and other Slavs fled
      the region, and the examples of ethno-nationalism elsewhere in the
      Russian Federation inspired some Chukchis as well
      And internationally, Americans, in his view, have always looked
      longingly at this Russian region, the only one in the Western
      hemisphere, as a jumping off place to begin their occupation of the
      entire Russian Far East and Siberia as Zbigniew Brzezinski and others
      have urged.
      In the early 1990s, the Russian commentator points out, the Alaskan
      legislature advanced claims to the Wrangel Islands, invoking ethnic
      links. The same argument, he suggests, could be advanced by Sitka or
      Washington with regard to some of the indigenous peoples of Chukotka,
      especially if it gains the support of Siberian r<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
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