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Bulletin 3:4 (2009)

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    THE RUSSIAN NATIONALISM BULLETIN A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs Vol. 3, No. 4(46), 3 March 2009 Compilers: Scott Littlefield & Andreas Umland I NEWS:
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 3, 2009
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      A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs
      Vol. 3, No. 4(46), 3 March 2009
      Compilers: Scott Littlefield & Andreas Umland

      I NEWS: 16 – 28 February 2009

      [NOTE: When viewing an RNB issue in the Messages archive of the
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      I NEWS: 16 – 28 February 2009

      Patriarch Kirill will stand against autocephaly of the Ukrainian
      Orthodox Church – expert
      Interfax-Religion, February 16, 2009

      Kiev, February 16, Interfax – President of the Ukrainian Association
      of religious freedom Viktor Yelensky believes the new primate of the
      Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill would stand against
      autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church and even strengthen the Moscow
      Patriarchate control.
      "The Moscow Patriarch is devoted to the idea of great Russia.
      Evidently, he wants to be Church Putin. Thus, I believe, he won't take
      any steps to let the Ukrainian Church go from the Moscow
      Patriarchate," Yelensky said on Monday on air of Deutsche Welle in
      He is convinced that political Ukraine-Russia relations will be
      projected to the church ones, and frequent Ukrainian political crises
      will be no good for the "Kiev Patriarchate."
      According to the expert, the Moscow Patriarchate is going to
      intensify missionary activities in Ukraine and actively work with
      Ukrainian flock.


      Russian senator suggests creating federal religious TV channel and
      guard Internet from immorality
      Interfax-Religion, February 16, 2009

      Moscow, February 16, Interfax – Vice Speaker of the Federation Council
      Alexander Torshin supported the idea of establishing the Public
      Council on Morality at the television and backed up the federal
      religious TV channel.
      "It should be done because our opponents have tactical superiority at
      the screen," he said on Sunday at the opening ceremony of the 17th
      Christmas readings in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.
      Addressing the participants, the senator expressed his concerns with
      spreading immorality, in particular in Internet, and urged to think
      how to protect children and teens.
      "They always scare us with censure," Torshin said and expressed the
      opinion that the elder generation should guard young people from
      pornography and other challenges to children souls.
      The Vice Speaker also urged to practice consultations with
      traditional religious organizations of Russia when adopting important
      draft laws and stressed that "norms of secular law shouldn't be immoral."


      Unidentified delinquents burnt down an Orthodox church in Sakhalin
      Interfax-Religion, February 16, 2009

      Yuzhno-Sakhalisnk, February 16, Interfax – On Sunday night Orthodox
      Church was burnt in the village of Yasnoye, the Tymovo District, the
      Sakhalin Region.
      "Local residents, who live near the church, saw the church on fire at
      two a.m." Parochial Rector Fr. Konstantin told Interfax.
      According to the priest, officials of the Fire Safety Authority and
      Regional Department of Internal Affairs came to the site and suggested
      it was an arson.
      The Rector doesn't exclude a possibility that representatives of
      neo-pentecostal sect, who have recently become active in the Tymovo
      District, were involved.
      He said he had thrice turned to the police and pointed out to the
      facts of sectarians' illegal agitation in children educational
      institutions of the district.


      Russian Patriarch calls for powerful Orthodox youth movement
      Interfax-Religion, February 16, 2009

      Moscow, February 16, Interfax - The new Patriarch of Moscow called for
      creating a powerful Orthodox youth movement in Russia which would have
      a grassroots group in "each of our educational institutions."
      "I would be happy if you and I could start a congress at Luzhniki [a
      stadium in Moscow] with 100,000 young people present. But we have to
      work very well for such a congress to become a reality," Patriarch
      Kirill said at a meeting in Moscow with Orthodox youth.
      He urged the clergy to "build up work with youth at parish, deanery,
      diocese level," but it should be the main task, he said, to train both
      clergy and laity to work with youth.
      "We should build a network for youth work. We should have a
      grassroots group, organization, in each of our educational
      institutions. How can one engage in Christian work among youth if a
      college has no youth organization of its own?" Kirill said.
      Russia is "an open society, where all this is permissible, feasible,"
      he said.
      "We should consolidate our ranks at this grassroots level, where
      youth congresses would bring together tens of thousands of people and
      would not be a lot of window dressing or a television show but a
      genuine manifestation of our work, of what is happening in Church and
      society," the Patriarch said.


      MVD Official Compares Extremism to Terrorism
      UCSJ, February 17, 2009

      In an interview with the Rosbalt news agency published on February 11,
      2009, Evgeny Shkolov, deputy minister of the MVD, stated that "crimes
      of an extremist nature" in Moscow were up 30% in 2008 compared to the
      previous year. "The new year has barely begun, and already in Moscow
      14 crimes based on ethnic grounds have been committed," he said.
      Police took "counter-measures" last month that resulted in over a
      dozen arrests of extremist gang members who attacked non-Russians in
      the city, the deputy minister said.
      Mr. Shkolov then went on to summarize the situation in stark terms:
      "Extremism is becoming a serious social phenomenon that has the same
      destructive potential, in some ways, as the terrorist threat. A
      radicalization of the youth is taking place. Football hooligans and
      various fascistic gangs are gaining strength. Attacks on people with a
      non-Slavic appearance continue."
      As usual with Russian police terminology, the term extremism was left
      broadly defined by both officials. In the past, the government has
      labeled groups as diverse as neo-Nazi gangs, Islamic fundamentalists,
      Chechen separatists, and peaceful anti-government political
      organizations "extremist" making it difficult to judge the exact
      meaning of these and other statistics. What is clear, however, is
      that inter-ethnic violence is getting worse, and that certain
      government officials, at least, are becoming more open to speaking
      about it publicly than in the past.


      Tula ROC Diocese Attacks "Sectarian" Anti-AIDS Initiative
      UCSJ, February 17th, 2009

      The secretary of the missionary department of the Tula diocese of the
      Russian Orthodox Church blasted an educational program aimed at
      reducing AIDS infections among the local youth, claiming that it has
      links to minority Christians, or as he put it "sects." According to a
      February 6, 2008 report by the Sova Information-Analytical Center,
      Aleksey Yarasov, who in the past has accused minority Christians of
      being tools of foreign intelligence services, wants the "Youth at a
      Crossroads" program banned from schools, because of its links to
      Protestant religious groups, and its purported goals of "instilling
      the Protestant values common in the US" among Russian youths. While
      it's possible that this program violates the Russian Constitution's
      separation of church and state, Mr. Yarasov's claim that it should
      therefore be banned as unconstitutional is rich in irony, since the
      ROC has worked with schools in several regions to include its theology
      in both elective and in some cases mandatory courses.


      Racist Stabbing in Moscow
      UCSJ, February 17th, 2009

      A passenger on a mini-bus stabbed a Congolese embassy worker,
      according to a February 8, 2008 article in the national daily
      "Moskovsky Komsomolets." The victim was traveling with a co-worker,
      also from Congo, when they were accosted on the mini-bus by a drunken
      man who demanded that they speak Russian rather than French. He
      waited for the bus to stop before pulling out a knife and stabbing one
      of the men in the chest. Police and medical workers came to the scene
      and the victim was taken to a hospital. No arrests have been reported
      in connection with the attack.


      Russian Church should be as influential as Vatican – expert
      Interfax-Religion, February 17, 2009

      Moscow, February 17, Interfax – One of the new Patriarch of Moscow and
      new Russia tasks should be turning the Russian Church in an
      organization as effective as Vatican, Head of the Ukraine branch of
      the CIS-countries Institute Kirill Frolov believes.
      "When we say that the Russian Orthodox Church should be as
      influential as Vatican, it's quite normal – not only in quality,
      intellect and spirit, but in quantity as well," he said at a round
      table on Monday.
      Frolov, who is also the head of the Moscow branch of the Union of
      Orthodox citizens, reminded that there's about a billion Catholics.
      "We have every right to say that we need our Orthodox billion," the
      expert said.
      According to him, such quantitative indicator is possible "only with
      demographic revenge of Russian people and active Orthodox missionary
      work." "Conservative Christians of the West, who face Protestant
      crisis with its degeneration – blessing of homosexual marriages and
      women priests", can constitute the other part of the "Orthodox billion".
      "In this context I oppose the Russian Church walking out of the World
      Council of Churches as it gives a great missionary platform," Frolov said.


      Neo-Nazis Target Jehovah's Witnesses in Petrozavodsk
      UCSJ, February 18th, 2009

      A neo-Nazi gang in Petrozavodsk, Russia targeted a Jehovah's Witnesses
      prayer hall, according to a February 17, 2009 report by the Sova
      Information-Analytical Center. On February 13, the extremists smashed
      windows and painted graffiti and death threats on the walls of the
      prayer hall. They also exploded some kind of small bomb. Luckily,
      nobody was injured. The Jehovah's Witnesses complained to the police,
      and stated that this wasn't the first such incident affecting their


      Far-Right Activist Sentenced to Prison for Racist Leaflets
      UCSJ, February 18th, 2009

      A court sentenced the head of a far-right organization in Yakutsk,
      Russia (Sakha Republic) to two years in prison for inciting ethnic
      hatred, according to a February 17, 2009 report by the Jewish.ru web
      site. The defendant, identified in the report only by his surname
      Yurkov, is one of the few people to ever face real prison time, rather
      than a suspended sentence, for violating laws prohibiting incitement
      of ethnic hatred. He heads the local chapter of the Movement Against
      Illegal Immigration, which has been linked to race riots across
      Russia. The leaflets reportedly targeted Chinese migrants.


      The famous missionary urges to make Kirghizia a base for "offensive"
      of Russian Church to Central Asia and China
      Interfax-Religion, February 18, 2009

      Moscow, February 18, Interfax - The famous missionary priest Fr.
      Daniel Sysoyev considers that Russian Church should make Kirghizia and
      neighbouring countries Orthodox.
      "It's necessary to open theological faculties at Bishkek's State
      University and at the Russian-Kirghiz Slavonic University to use
      Kirghizia as a base for the whole Central Asia. Exactly from Kirghizia
      it's possible to come (in missionary meaning - "IF") to the whole
      Central Asia, Afghanistan, Tibet and China," Fr. Daniel told at the
      round-table conference in Moscow.
      According to him, "Kirghiz and also a part of Uzbeks, Dungarz, Uigurs
      in Kirghizia are ready for Orthodox mission which could lead to
      enormous successes: there are straight gate to China, but it's not used."
      "In Central Asia, according to underestimated official data, there
      are half a million Protestants which began to operate here only in
      1992. At small activity of Protestants they've received a great
      success. The activity of Catholics is successful. Missioners from
      Uruguay made the whole diocese there in three years after the work
      start," the priest told.


      Antisemitic Vandalism in Yaroslavl, Russia
      UCSJ, February 19th, 2009

      Someone smashed a synagogue's window in Yaroslavl, Russia, according
      to a February 18, 2009 report by the Jewish.ru news web site. Jewish
      community leaders have reportedly decided not to report the incident
      to the police, which is the latest in a series of attacks on the
      synagogue. According to the report, every two months or so the
      community has to replace a window, though the situation is better than
      it was five years ago, when a fence was put in that now protects most
      of the building after a particularly vicious attack ended with all the
      synagogue's windows shattered. In 1996 antisemites bombed the


      Racists Cut Off Migrant's Head
      UCSJ, February 19th, 2009

      Racists cut off the head of a migrant from Kyrgyzstan in Moscow,
      according to a
      February 17, 2009 report by the Rosbalt news agency. Four homeless men
      allegedly attacked the victim because he was collecting bottles on
      "their territory" and because they didn't like his "Asian features."
      They allegedly waited till he was asleep and then cut off his head
      with a knife. Police say that the suspects have confessed to the
      crime. It is not clear from the report if they will be charged with a
      hate crime in addition to the murder charges they already face.


      Kemerovo Man Gets Suspended Sentence for Inciting Violence Against
      Jews and Muslims
      UCSJ, February 19th, 2009

      A Kemerovo, Russia court sentenced a local man to a one year suspended
      sentence for inciting violence against Jews and Muslims, according to
      a February 18, 2009 report by the Sova Information-Analytical Center.
      According to the verdict, Vyacheslav Spitsyn posted articles on his
      blog calling for "terrorist actions" and "acts of violence" against
      Jews and Muslims, "up to the point of their physical annihilation."
      Police searched his apartment on April 8 last year and found neo-Nazi


      Dirty Election Tactics in Smolensk Characterizes Baptists as
      Pedophiles, Bigamists
      UCSJ, February 20th, 2009

      A mayor race in Smolensk, Russia spawned a dirty election tactic that
      exploits and incites public animosity against local Baptists,
      according to a February 13, 2008 report by the Slavic Law and Justice
      Center, an NGO that works on religious freedom issues, primarily for
      minority Christians in Russia. A fake campaign newsletter attributed
      to a mythical local Baptist organization was distributed widely in the
      city. The newsletter portrays Baptists, supposedly speaking in their
      own words, endorsing one of the candidates, falsely identifying him as
      a Baptist, and insulting the Russian Orthodox Church. Among the many
      false words put into the mouths of Baptist community members are
      assertions like: "The Orthodox faith has seriously discredited itself,
      only Baptists can take control over the destiny of this country"; "It
      would be very good if Baptists are represented in the government and
      if we can get funds from the local budget"; and perhaps the most
      inflammatory and misleading statement of all: "The Orthodox call us a
      sect, but Baptists are not like that, despite all the scandals
      involving Baptists in connection with pedophilia, bigamy, etc. Leave
      Baptists alone to live life the way they want to live it." The Slavic
      Center has called upon local law enforcement agencies to investigate
      the incident as a violation of laws prohibiting the incitement of
      ethnic or religious hatred.


      Bigotry Monitor-UCSJ's weekly newsletter, Volume 9, Number 8, February
      20, 2009

      The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has ordered Russia to
      pay 7,000 euros ($9,030) to an American missionary expelled on
      national security grounds in 2002, "The St. Petersburg Times" reported
      on February 17. The court found that Russia had violated its
      obligations to protect religious freedom when expelling Patrick Nolan
      of Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, his lawyers said. Living in
      Russia for nearly eight years, Nolan was refused re-entry following a
      short trip abroad, even though he had an entry visa and his
      10-month-old child, of whom he was the sole custodial parent, remained
      in Russia.
      The court found that Russia was in breach of the European Convention
      on Human Rights for separating Nolan from his infant son, imprisoning
      him overnight at the airport upon his return from a trip to Cyprus,
      deporting him before he could seek a review of his case, and refusing
      to disclose a report by the Federal Security Service that served as
      the basis for his expulsion.


      Kremlin plans to hand over property to religious groups
      RIA Novosti, February 24, 2009

      MOSCOW, February 24 (RIA Novosti) - Russia plans to change the
      ownership structure of property used by religious groups, a move that
      could make the Orthodox Church a major real estate owner and cut
      budget spending, a business daily said on Tuesday.
      The bill drafted by the economics ministry proposes handing over
      buildings, land plots and other property to religious organizations
      that currently use them free of charge. The document also proposes
      returning all church property seized by the Bolsheviks after the 1917
      revolution, Kommersant reported.
      Experts said the Russian Orthodox Church, the country's dominant
      religion, could emerge as a major real estate owner, the paper said.
      "Only [gas and railroad monopolies] Gazprom and Russian Railways
      could then be compared with the Church [in terms of property
      ownership]," Roman Cheptsov from Prime City Properties consultancy
      told the daily. "In Moscow, for example, 1 hectare of land is worth
      about $6-$7 million."
      The economics ministry declined to comment on the bill, the paper
      said. While drafting the document in 2007, however, the ministry said
      it was aimed at removing the expense of maintaining religious
      buildings from the federal budget.
      An opposition Communist Party leader said the move was designed to
      improve public trust in the Kremlin amid the ongoing financial crisis
      and warned that ensuing commercial activity involving the property
      could harm the mission of religious organizations, the paper said.
      "Some clergy will want to engage in commerce, rent out premises and
      land," Vladimir Kashin, also a lawmaker, told the daily. "We must
      prevent extremes, or otherwise we will have gilded churches and
      growing poverty and immorality."
      Father Vladimir Vigilyansky, spokesman for the Moscow Patriarchy,
      said the Church would have to review its economic policies if the bill
      was approved to support churches outside large cities, which may not
      have sufficient funds to maintain or rebuild the buildings, the paper
      In a separate interview on Tuesday, Vigilyansky said the Church has
      often been returned virtually derelict monasteries and cathedrals, and
      the state could help churches, especially those in remote regions,
      rebuild them.
      Vigilyansky said the late Patriarch Alexy II had only allowed the
      lease of auxiliary church premises on rare occasions to raise money
      for reconstruction projects, Kommersant reported.
      Since the collapse of the officially atheist Soviet Union, the Church
      has regained the ownership of over 100 of 16,000 churches and
      cathedrals, the paper said.
      "If religious organizations become legitimate owners of their
      property, they will be independent of the state, which will lose its
      levers to influence on them," a senior Muslim cleric, Mufti Nafigulla
      Ashirov, told the paper admitting that mosques would rent out extra
      premises to support the Muslim community.
      Rabbi Zinovy Kogan told the daily: "We will rent extra premises, but
      will spend earnings on welfare projects, for example soup houses."
      Kommersant said the bill would be discussed by a government
      commission on religious organizations in March.

      Neo-Nazis Attack Kyrgyz Migrants in Moscow
      UCSJ, February 24th, 2009

      A group of neo-Nazis attacked four Kyrgyz migrant workers in Moscow,
      according to a February 24, 2009 report by the Jewish.ru web site. The
      attack took place last Sunday, February 22. The migrants were able to
      fight the extremists off, but not before sustaining injuries that
      required hospitalization. Police are investigating the incident but
      have so far made no arrests.


      Russia will oppose attempts to justify Nazism, review history – Medvedev
      Interfax, February 24, 2009

      MOSCOW. Feb 24 (Interfax) - Any attempts to justify Nazism are
      unacceptable and will be opposed by Russia, Russian President Dmitry
      Medvedev said.
      "I am convinced that any attempts to justify Nazism and to defame the
      heroic victors will lead to an unacceptable hypocritical review of
      history. To the complete loss of its lessons. This will be resolutely
      and coherently opposed by Russia," Medvedev said in his letter to Vera
      Ganina, the mother of Russian man Dmitry Ganin who died during tragic
      events in Tallinn in April 2007.
      Excerpts from the president's letter to Ganina were issued by the
      president's press office on Tuesday.
      Medvedev expressed his support and deep sympathy to Ganina. "Millions
      of Russians" share these feelings, he said. "The death of your son
      during the dramatic events in April 2007 shocked us all," the
      president wrote.
      "Dmitry (Ganin) had a high sense of justice and openly protested the
      blasphemous plan to relocate the war memorial commemorating the
      soldiers who freed Europe from fascism. He rightly thought it was an
      insult to their memory. Your son was defending not only the heroic
      past. He stood up for the civil dignity of the people, who remember
      those who gave their lives for peace on the planet," Medvedev said.
      "We will firmly insist that all those responsible for the death of
      Dmitry Ganin are found and brought to justice," the president said.
      In her letter to Medvedev Ganina thanked him for the attention,
      sympathy and concern for her family.
      In April 2007 the Estonian authorities dismantled the Bronze Soldier
      monument on the Tonismagi hill and moved it to the Tallinn military
      cemetery. The move prompted mass disturbances, followed by clashes
      with police, riots and the arson of shops and kiosks. Some 1,200
      people were detained and dozens were injured during clashes with
      police. Russian national Dmitry Ganin was killed.

      Orthodox Church May Become One Of Largest Proprietors In Russia
      Itar-Tass, February 24, 2009

      MOSCOW, February 24 (Itar-Tass) -- The Economic Development Ministry
      has drafted a bill which gives every religion registered in Russia the
      right to own buildings, land and property, including that impounded by
      the Bolsheviks. If the bill is approved, the Russian Orthodox Church
      will be one of the largest proprietors in the country, and the
      authorities will never have to support religious buildings, which is
      important amid the financial turmoil.
      All the religions welcome the initiative, while the public fears that
      the Church may go in for business on one hand and appear to be unable
      to support historical and architectural monuments on the other.
      Representatives of the Economic Development Ministry did not deny in
      2007 when the work on the prospective bill's concept started that the
      document would stop budgetary allocations for Church buildings.
      The draft law "On the Transfer of Religious Property to Religious
      Organizations" cited by the newspaper Kommersant stipulates Church
      ownership of religious buildings, land and movable property, which is
      now being used gratis for an indefinite period. A supplementary note
      to the bill says that the Church should regain all property impounded
      after the Bolshevik Revolution.
      Modern Russia has 234 monasteries, 244 nunneries, 16,000 parishes and
      4,696 Sunday schools of the Orthodox Church. The Roman Catholic Church
      has 220 parishes in Russia, and a third of them have no temples. There
      are over 4,000 mosques and about 70 synagogues in Russia, as well. The
      size of religious buildings varies from 5,000 to 50,000 square meters,
      while Church land is from 0.3 to ten hectares in size.
      The Church has become the owner of more than 100 temples in the past
      15 years by order of executive authorities. The new bill is bound to
      legalize this process.
      If the bill is approved, the Church may become a leading private
      owner in Russia, real estate agents say. "The only possible rivals of
      the Church in that case would be Gazprom and Russian Railroads,"
      Development Director of the Prime City Properties consulting company
      Roman Cheptsov said. "In Moscow alone an average cost of one hectare
      of land stands at approximately $6-7 million."
      "A religious organization shall maintain religious property in an
      appropriate condition, i.e. conduct current and major repairs and bear
      all the maintenance expenses," the bill runs. The new owner will have
      no right to change the focus of the acquired property or to transfer
      it to third persons in the period of ten years.
      The Church will also be unable to own particularly valuable monuments
      and architectural sites on the UNESCO World Heritage list (for
      instance, the St. Basil Cathedral on Red Square or the Moscow Kremlin
      cathedrals). In all, there are about 20 sites of the kind on the list.
      However, the bill will enable religions to lease out their buildings
      or land.
      One should not fear Church commerce or a sharp growth of Church
      revenues, Deputy Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate's Church External
      Relations Department Bishop Mark of Yegoryevsk said as quoted by the
      NEWSru.com website.
      "Most of our parishes are located in the countryside. As for temples
      in cities, where land is expensive, they are usually pretty tight and
      have no vacant space for elementary needs, such as toilets, let alone
      a parish building or a Sunday school," he said.
      Meanwhile, Co-Chairman of the Russian Council of Muftis Mufti
      Nafigulla Ashirov does not conceal that "the community will have a
      so-called Waqf domain, which will be leased out for community benefit."
      "We will lease out vacant space," Chairman of the Congress of Jewish
      Religious Communities and Organizations of Russia Rabbi Zinovy Kogan
      said. "The earned money will be spent on social projects, such as
      canteens for the poor."
      Religious organizations' ownership of their property "is a worldwide
      norm," Deputy Chairman of the Russian Council of Muftis Damir
      Gizatullin said.
      "There won't be an eruption of commerce" because traditional
      religions use their churches, mosques and synagogues "only for
      religious purposes," he said.
      The massive return of property nationalized in the Soviet period to
      religious organizations began in April 1993 with then President Boris
      Yeltsin's ordinance "On the Transfer of Religious Buildings and Other
      Property to Religious Organizations."
      Believers will own not only real estate but also cultural values. In
      2006-2007 then President Vladimir Putin personally handed over to the
      Russian Orthodox Church the Icon of Our Lady of Smolensk and a
      fragment of the Lord's Robe stored at the Moscow Kremlin. In December
      2007 the Russian Orthodox Church regained all the relics stored in the
      A number of museums are trying to impede the process. For instance,
      the Tretyakov Gallery did not permit the Church to minister services
      with the Holy Trinity Icon by Andrei Rublev in November 2008. The
      museum administration said that the masterpiece created in the 15th
      century might be damaged.
      "Such masterpieces as icons, paintings and sculptures are stored at
      museums all over the world. The Church is able to preserve them duly,"
      Pushkin Fine Arts Museum Director Irina Antonova said.

      Russian court upholds deportation of Chabad rabbi
      THE JERUSALEM POST, February 25, 2009

      A Russian court on Wednesday upheld the deportation of Chabad rabbi,
      Yisroel Silberstein, rabbi of the Primorye region in Russia's far east.
      According to a Federal Migration Service spokesman, the American
      Silberstein, listed "cultural activities," in his visa application,
      inconsistent with the religious work he was actually carrying out.
      Director of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Russia, Alexander
      Boroda expressed "outrage," at this decision which he said "targets
      Jewish spiritual workers."
      "This trend could significantly redraw the map of faith-based work in
      Russia," he warned.


      Ethnic and religious extremism in Russia should be eliminated –
      Medvedev 25, 2009
      Interfax-Religion, February

      Moscow, February 25, Interfax - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has
      called to cut short any action aimed at fomenting ethnic, religious
      and social hatred and prosecute those guilty of this.
      "In current conditions manifestations of extremism are particularly
      dangerous. In many cases they are directly linked to attempts to
      destabilize the situation in society," Medvedev told a meeting of the
      board of the Russian Prosecutor's General Office on Wednesday.
      The president reminded prosecutors that they "have the right to move
      in courts to liquidate certain public and religious organizations and
      suspend their activity before a court makes a decision."


      Kemerovo Jewish Activists Denounce Publication of Antisemitic Article
      UCSJ, February 26th, 2009

      A Jewish academic and leaders of the Jewish community in Kemerovo,
      Russia have publicly denounced the publication in a local newspaper of
      a viciously antisemitic article. Vladimir Kaganov, a historian and
      member of the Union of Writers, shared the content of his open letter
      with UCSJ. On January 30, 2009 the local newspaper "Zemlyaki"
      published an article by the journalists V. Popok which blamed Jews for
      the worst crimes of the Soviet regime, while minimizing the
      significance of the Holocaust and the scale of pre-revolutionary
      pogroms targeted against the Jewish community.
      Mr. Kaganov and local Jewish leaders appealed to the local Department
      of Culture and to regional and city authorities in the hope of
      obtaining an official statement condemning the article. He also met
      with the editors of "Zemlyaki" which is published by a veterans
      association and has a circulation of 25,000. The editorial staff
      promised to do something to correct the situation.
      On February 1, 2003 an article by Mr. Popok appeared in the local
      newspaper "Kuzbass" with similar accusations against the Jewish
      community. Mr. Kaganov told UCSJ that he doesn't believe it's worth
      the effort to press for criminal charges of inciting ethnic hatred
      against Mr. Popok, since local prosecutors would most likely not
      follow through on such a request.


      Racist Attack in Novosibirsk Leaves One Dead
      UCSJ, February 26th, 2009

      Racists attacked a group of Armenians in Novosibirsk, Russia according
      to a February 24, 2009 report by the Sova Information-Analytical
      Center. One of the victims, Anton Sargsyan, said that the assailants
      approached them, asked if they were Armenians, and then started to
      beat them. One of the victims died in the hospital afterwards.
      Police are investigating the attack as armed robbery; hate crimes
      charges may be tacked on to the case later.


      Kaliningrad Prosecutors Drop Incitement Charges Against Local Antisemite
      UCSJ, February 27, 2009

      Prosecutors in Kaliningrad, Russia dropped incitement charges against
      a man who published antisemitic literature and publicly agitated
      against Jews, according to a February 27, 2009 report by the Jewish.ru
      web site. Vladimir Levchenko originally ran afoul of the law in 2004
      when he published and distributed leaflets entitled "A Tender Proposal
      to the Kikes of the Kaliningrad Region." He then went to Victory
      Square in the center of town and started chanting antisemitic slogans.
      Prosecutors originally achieved a conviction in 2004, but the judge
      gave Mr. Levchenko a suspended sentence. It is unclear from the report
      why they have given up on the case this time.


      Petersburg Metro Employee Punished for Racist Announcement
      UCSJ, February 27, 2009

      An employee of the St. Petersburg metro system was stripped of her
      monthly bonus for warning passengers: "Careful passengers--there are
      Gypsies in the station." According to a February 27, 2009 article in
      the local edition of the national daily "Komsomolskaya Pravda," the
      local chapter of the NGO "Memorial" complained to the management of
      the Metro station, pointing out that the announcement contradicts the
      spirt of the city-wide "Tolerance" program. Far-right activists and
      members of the general public reacted with outrage and started
      collecting money to make up for the employee's lost bonus.
      "It's better that these people spend their time raising money than
      killing migrants and Gypsies on the streets," said Olga Abramenko,
      director of the Center for Legal and Social Defense of Gypsies, also
      known as Roma.


      Yabloko propounds program to purge Russia from Stalinism
      Interfax, February 28, 2009

      MOSCOW. Feb 28 (Interfax) - Russia's liberal Yabloko party on Saturday
      accused the Russian government of using "Bolshevik" and "Stalinist"
      methods and propounded a program for the country to definitively
      disavow Bolshevism and Stalinism.
      In a statement entitled "Disavowal of Bolshevism and Stalinism As a
      Condition for the Modernization of Russia in the 21st Century" and
      approved at a meeting in Moscow of its leadership body, Yabloko
      insisted that "a clear and unambiguous legal, political and moral
      assessment be made at state level of the forcible seizure of power by
      the Bolsheviks in 1917-1918, of the character and nature of the
      political regime created by them, and of its activities."
      The party insisted on criminalizing "attempts to justify mass
      persecutions and the annihilation of millions of innocent people."
      "Denial of mass persecutions and of actions to eradicate social and
      ethnic groups" should also be outlawed, it said.
      It is also essential to declare officially, the statement said, that
      today's Russia "is a legal successor to the Russian state that existed
      prior to the October coup of 1917" and "to identify Russia once and
      for all as a European country that comprehensively espouses the values
      of postwar European civilization."
      "In today's Russia there must exist no organizations that are or call
      themselves successors to the All-Union Communist Party
      (Bolsheviks)-Communist Party of the Soviet Union or to
      Cheka-GPU-NKVD-MGB," Yabloko said.
      Cheka, GPU, NKVD and MGB were successive names of the former Soviet
      security agency.
      "Russia must not, and cannot, deny what the Russian people
      accomplished with their tremendous amount of work for the seven
      decades (after 1917)," Yabloko said. It is wrong, however, to link
      those achievements to the totalitarian system, it argued.
      "The victory over fascism is a heroic accomplishment by the people,
      and it is unacceptable to humiliate them by allegations about the
      effectiveness of general fear of NKVD barrier detachments (units that
      were preventing soldiers from running away from World War II
      battlefields by firing on them)," the party said.
      In today's Russia, "the Stalinist system, in which special services
      and punitive authorities in effect form the supreme branch of
      government and are the ultimate decision makers while terror is raised
      to the level of state policy, is not history but everyday reality," it
      The reason is that "Stalinism and Bolshevism are not properly
      understood, and hence they have not been disavowed."
      Yabloko called for "a set of measures to eradicate the
      Stalinist-Bolshevik system of government" and for a campaign to
      explain the dangers of Bolshevism, Stalinism and nationalism.
      One of the propounded measures is "a consistent policy of purging the
      names of towns, streets and squares named after statesmen who were
      organizers of, and active participants, in terror."
      "Place names can no longer remain a zone for perpetuating the memory
      of criminals," said Sergei Ivanenko, a member of Yabloko's political
      committee (governing body), which approved the statement at Saturday's
      Yabloko expressed doubt that Russia's current leadership would even
      partially put the program into practice but warned that "Russia will
      have no future if it does not completely and absolutely renounce the
      modification of the Soviet Stalinist system in the form of post-Soviet
      Yabloko leader Sergei Mitrokhin argued at the committee meeting that
      Stalinism is not the ideology of the current Russian political elite.
      "However, we can see Stalinism being flirted with and used to
      manipulate society," he said.
      The leader of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Lyudmila Alexeyeva, who took
      part in debates on the program at the committee meeting, told
      Interfax: "Though this is an obvious position to take, such a
      document, which clearly sets large-scale goals, was long overdue for
      the democratic movement."
      The program's key points had been drafted by Grigory Yavlinsky,
      former Yabloko leader who is today a member of the party's political
      committee, and by a wide range of experts.
      The leader of the Memorial human rights group, Arseny Roginsky, and a
      member of the Memorial executive board, Yan Rochinsky, also took part
      in the debates and supported the program.


      By Leon Aron
      RUSSIAN OUTLOOK - AEI Online, May 8, 2008

      Throughout Russia's history, the weakness of institutions and laws has
      ensured that the
      successor regimes rarely, if ever, turn out as intended by the
      previous ruler. Instead of
      continuity, the national tradition of highly personalized government
      often produces a very
      different political organism ostensibly from the same institutional
      framework. Yet with
      former president Vladimir Putin's staying on as a kind of regent-prime
      minister to the
      dauphin-president Dmitri Medvedev, at least for the next few years,
      the ideology, priorities,
      and policies of the Putin Kremlin--what might be called Putinism--are
      almost certain to
      inform and guide the Medvedev administration. Part I of this Outlook
      discusses the components of the new Russian authoritarianism, and
      parts II and III examine the elements of "Russia, Inc."--the
      corporatist state that Putin has built—and the factors that may affect
      Russia's economic performance, stability, and foreign policy in the
      Part I: The New Russian Authoritarianism
      In one of the most memorable examples of conceptual elegance and
      parsimony in the social sciences, Samuel Huntington
      defined the many and often very different authoritarian regimes simply
      as lacking the common "institutional core" of
      democratic systems.[1] The latter, in turn, are defined as states in
      which the "principal offices" of the government are
      chosen through competitive elections in which the bulk of the
      population can participate.[2]
      In a more detailed portrayal, Huntington characterizes democracies as
      permitting the selection of the "most powerful"
      national decision-makers in "fair, honest and periodic elections, in
      which candidates freely compete for votes."[3]
      Conversely, in "undemocratic systems," opposition is not permitted to
      participate in elections, or it is "curbed and
      harassed," its newspapers are "censored or closed down," and votes are
      "manipulated or miscounted."[4]
      After several years of the state's systematic recovery of ownership,
      or at least firm control, of the country's politics and key
      sectors of the economy, the parliamentary election of December 2007
      (for which, a Russian observer suggested, "voting"
      would be the proper description, not "elections")[5] and the March
      2008 presidential election (for which "voting" would be
      just as appropriate a characterization) have confirmed beyond a shade
      of doubt the present Russian regime's close
      correspondence to Huntington's shorter and longer definitions of
      authoritarianism. Dmitri Trenin, deputy director of the
      Carnegie Moscow Center and one of the most objective and insightful
      observers of Russian domestic and foreign policies,
      wrote last year that "the Kremlin has assumed the role of the creator
      of all public life. It has built parties, managed
      elections, planted seeds of 'healthy' civil society, organized youth,
      and developed ideological constructs."[6] In a more
      extended account, another Russian commentator characterized the system
      as one in which the president is the only
      independent political subject, while the provincial governors can be
      removed without so much as an explanation; all
      regional parliaments (the Dumas) are largely packed with deputies from
      the "party of power," United Russia, and thus
      make decisions "following a phone call from the presidential
      administration" or the governor appointed by the Kremlin.[7]
      Those in the judicial branch "won't even dare think" of defying the
      executive; the opposition has been squeezed not just to
      the periphery of the political process but outside of it, and the most
      popular of the media, television, is subject to the
      constant scrutiny of the Kremlin "curators."
      Tolerance and Repression. Thus, Russia today has most of the
      characteristics of classic authoritarianism. While the
      effective political challenges to the regime have been eliminated, the
      state (unlike totalitarian regimes, including the Soviet
      Union) does not seek to control every aspect of civil society and
      individual life. It is content with securing noninterference in
      its affairs rather than demanding total and incessantly reaffirmed
      allegiance. Similarly, there is no elaborate, codified, and
      strictly enforced "official" ideology or a party guided by it.
      Apolitical pursuits and voluntary associations of a professional,
      cultural, or religious nature are permitted to exist outside of the
      state's purview; so long as the arts do not touch on national
      politics, censorship is rare, as it is in book publishing and the mass
      media. Foreign travel, foreign residence and return,
      and study abroad are unimpeded. Most important, unlike totalitarian
      regimes, this authoritarian regime does not seek
      physical annihilation (or at least incarceration) of all opponents. As
      the references in this Outlook attest, while most of the
      regime's leading critics are permanently excluded from television and
      mass-circulation newspapers, they have until now
      been permitted to publish abroad or in such relatively obscure media
      as the Internet sites visited mostly by the oppositional
      Yet for many of those who persist in trying to influence national
      repression, although select, is real, systematic, and pitiless. Under
      Putinism, opponents are portrayed as contemptible traitors who wish
      their country ill. As Putin stated at a pre-election rally last November:
      "Those who oppose us . . . have totally different tasks and different
      visions of Russia. They need a weak, sick state.
      They need a disorganized and disoriented society--in order to make
      their deals behind our back, in order to receive
      nice payoffs at our expense. And, unfortunately, there are still those
      who look for crumbs [Putin used the verb
      shakalit, or "looks for food jackal-like"] near foreign embassies,
      foreign diplomatic missions, [and who] count on the
      support of foreign foundations and governments, not the support of
      their own people."[8]
      Unsanctioned demonstrations--and virtually all demonstrations by the
      opposition are routinely disallowed--are often
      suppressed with shocking brutality.[9] Several opposition activists
      have been physically assailed and some beaten
      unconscious. They and members of their families are harassed at home
      and on the streets and brought up on false
      criminal charges. Weapons and drugs are planted on them, and they are
      accused of "assaulting" and "injuring" police
      officers, espionage, and "extremism."[10] In violation of the
      progressive 2001 Criminal Procedural Code, bail is routinely
      denied, and pretrial detention--which Russian and international human
      rights organizations repeatedly compare to
      torture--can last for months or even years. The use of punitive
      psychiatry has been renewed, and several members of the
      opposition in the past year have been forcibly committed to
      psychiatric wards.[11] Human rights activists estimate that
      there are dozens of political prisoners in Russia today.[12]
      Punishing the Recalcitrant. When the regime seeks to make an example
      of the recalcitrant, it can be cruel, even sadistic.
      Such is the case of Harvard Law School graduate Vasily Aleksanyan, who
      was arrested in April 2006, five days after
      becoming executive vice president of the nearly decimated Yukos, which
      used to be Russia's largest and most transparent
      private firm. Aleksanyan was charged with embezzlement and laundering
      $433 million. A few months later, he was
      diagnosed with AIDS, but he continued to be kept in a prison hospital
      that had no treatment. Although not convicted of any
      crime, he has been in custody for over two years.
      The authorities reportedly sought from Aleksanyan evidence that would
      help them initiate new trials and convictions of
      Yukos's former principal shareholders, Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon
      Lebedev (currently serving eight-year sentences),
      in order to extend their incarceration by between ten and twenty
      years. As Aleksanyan later told the Supreme Court of the
      Russian Federation, in December 2006 he was offered freedom and
      medical treatment in exchange for giving the
      prosecutors "the types of statements their superiors will like."[13]
      They "tried to convince me every which way that I must
      do this," Aleksanyan said, "but I can't bear false witness; I can't
      falsely implicate innocent people. I refused."[14]
      Regarding the prison authorities' statement that Aleksanyan had
      "refused" medical treatment, he told the court, "Whoever
      says that--I want him to [live in] my body for ten minutes, so he can
      experience the hellish torture I am going through."[15]
      The head of Putin's own Human Rights Council called Aleksanyan's
      situation "simply monstrous."[16] The European Court
      of Human Rights appealed to the Russian authorities four times to
      transfer Aleksanyan "immediately" to an AIDS clinic.
      Two weeks after Aleksanyan was finally transferred, under guard, to a
      regular hospital this past February (following a
      hunger strike by Mikhail Khodorkovsky), the authorities permitted a
      visit by Nikolai Svanidze and Genry Reznik--two
      members of the Kremlin's highest consultative body, the Public
      Chamber--and Russia's human rights ombudsman, Vladimir
      Lukin. They found Aleksanyan almost blind and sick with lymphoma. He
      was confined to a tiny room with an armed guard
      sitting next to his bed day and night. The guards were changed every
      two hours, saluting one another, stomping their
      boots, and loudly reporting, thus never allowing Aleksanyan
      uninterrupted sleep. He told the visitors that until they came to
      see him, he was at all times shackled to his bed by a chain attached
      to his wrist. In the previous two weeks, he had been
      taken to a shower in the corridor, handcuffed, three times.[17]
      Along with the characteristics of traditional authoritarianism,
      Putinism has exhibited a number of distinct features. Whether
      they coalesce into a kind of protofascism, as has recently been
      suggested,[18] remains to be seen, but their similarity to
      well-known components of a fascistic polity is fascinating, and the
      tendency bears watching very carefully.
      The "National Leader." Putinism has evolved into a manifestly and
      intensely personalized system of rule with power
      increasingly stemming from personal authority rather than that of
      office. Putin's popularity has been central to the regime's
      legitimacy. Last year, he was proclaimed a "national leader" by
      leading politicians and the mass media, and his "plan" (plan
      Putina) was declared to be "Russia's plan" (plan Rossii), although the
      contents were never disclosed. Last year, a midday
      rally at Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow's largest stadium, was officially
      titled "Forum of the Supporters of the President of
      Putin's official image has been imbued with physical vigor,
      youthfulness, and swagger. Last fall, widely circulated
      photographs featured Russia's president half-naked, with a muscular,
      glistening torso, holding a periscope rifle with a
      hunting knife on his belt. The frequent vulgarities that Putin seems
      to delight in using during press conferences and
      speeches, especially to foreign journalists, seem intended to
      underscore his machismo and disdain for liberal "softies."
      Putin's "stepping down" from the presidency and becoming prime
      minister has changed nothing in his preeminence in
      Russian politics. His acceptance of the chairmanship of United Russia
      this past April without having ever been a party
      member was designed to signal this supremacy. While some analysts saw
      in Putin's new position parallels with the Soviet system in which the
      president (chairman of the Supreme Soviet) and the prime minister were
      largely ceremonial positions,
      and the power resided in the extraconstitutional office of the general
      (or first) secretary of the party, leading Kremlin
      propagandist Sergei Markov was frank in noting that the leadership of
      United Russia "strengthens Putin's political weight
      as national leader."[20] Although Medvedev was "the leader of the
      state and of the Russian Federation," Markov added,
      "the political leader of the country remains Putin."[21] Even before
      Putin's party chairmanship, a strong majority of
      Russians had come to the same conclusion: six out of ten respondents
      in a national survey agreed that "despite
      Medvedev's election, the power will remain in the hands of Putin and
      his entourage," as compared with two in ten who
      thought otherwise.[22]
      Stoking the Sense of Loss and Imperial Nostalgia. In the 2005 State of
      Russia address, Putin called the fall of the
      Soviet Union "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th
      century."[23] Following this unambiguous assessment, the
      democratic revolution of 1987-1991 and the attempts to build the
      institutions of democracy and liberal capitalism in the
      1990s have been uniformly labeled by leading politicians and the mass
      media as times of "national humiliation," "a failed
      state," and, most of all, "chaos."[24]
      By contrast, the Soviet past has been increasingly portrayed as a time
      of success that should make true patriots proud of
      the global military superpower and multinational empire, which the
      world treated with respect and trepidation. Terror that
      killed millions, crushing poverty, starvation, aggression, and wars
      are mentioned rarely, if at all. The positive invocations of
      the Soviet past are ubiquitous: the music of the national anthem,
      endless serials on the state-controlled television glorifying
      the chekists (secret police), and a creeping rehabilitation of Stalin
      and Stalinism in history textbooks. In this pastoral
      version[25] of the past, everything was better, and there was more of
      it, in Soviet days--tanks and hockey teams, missiles
      and movies, cruisers and bread.
      Even telecommunication was superior. Reprimanding the ministry of
      informational technologies and communication for its failures and
      exhorting the Russian business community to create a "people's
      telephone," First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov averred in 2007
      that Soviet Russia had been "second in the world in informational
      technologies" and that "we can and must regain the position we
      lost."[26] According to a 1987 article in Pravda, only one Soviet
      family in
      five had a telephone, and people waited for decades, often without
      success, to have a phone installed at home.[27] One wonders to which
      country, in Ivanov's estimate, was Soviet
      telecommunication "second."
      A Besieged Fortress. A Russia beset by external enemies bent on
      undermining its "territorial integrity" and "sovereignty"
      and seeking to claim the country's natural wealth has been the
      regime's article of faith and a key propaganda theme. The
      Kremlin's main ideologist and a deputy head of presidential
      administration, Vladislav Surkov, has accused those "who
      consider the non-violent collapse of the Soviet Union [to be] their
      success" of trying to "destroy Russia and fill its enormous
      space with many weak quasi-states."[28] The malfeasants' main goal,
      Surkov contended, was to "annihilate Russia's
      statehood" using allies from inside. In what he called a "de-facto
      besieged country," Surkov has also found "a fifth column,"
      its ranks filled with the "left and right radicals" who have "common
      foreign sponsors" and who are united by "the hatred of
      what they claim to be Putin's Russia but, in fact, of Russia herself."[29]
      Speaking in May 2007 at the military parade to celebrate the
      sixty-second anniversary of victory in World War II, Putin
      likened the perpetrators of "new threats" to Russia to the Third Reich
      because of "the same desire to impose diktat on the
      world."[30] (Everyone in Moscow that day understood the unnamed
      evildoer to be the United States.[31]) Last November,
      on the other main national holiday, the Day of Reconciliation, Putin
      again spoke of "those who would themselves like to
      rule all humanity" and who "insist on the necessity of splitting
      [Russia]" because it has "too many natural resources."[32]
      Islamic terrorists, too, are but a tool in the hands of Russia's old
      enemies. As Putin said in the September 2004 address to
      the nation in the aftermath of the Beslan school hostage-taking and
      the death of 334 civilians--186 of whom were
      children--"some want to tear a juicy piece out" of Russia, and others,
      who see Russia as "a threat" that "must be
      eliminated," are helping them.[33] "Terrorism," he continued, "is only
      a means of achieving these objectives."[34] According
      to Surkov, "the detonation of our southern borders as [a] means of
      weakening Russia" was used many times in the
      nineteenth and twentieth centuries.[35]
      The Kremlin views virtually everything happening around Russia today
      as a plot against it. Even Russian fishermen are not
      safe from foreign predators. In the words of then-first deputy prime
      minister Medvedev, "we must revive the navy . . . to
      protect our fishermen."[36]
      In this worldview, the future deployment of ten missile interceptors
      in Poland and a radar installation in the Czech Republic
      has produced grave concern for Russia's safety, despite the U.S.
      invitation to Moscow to deploy observers on the ground
      and the promise not to "activate" the site until Washington and Moscow
      certify that Iran actually possesses the threatening
      missiles. With its untested technology, this scrawny outfit--which a
      prominent Russian arms control specialist has recently
      judged to be "incapable of threatening anyone, perhaps including
      Iran"[37]--is said by the Kremlin to be capable of
      hindering Russia's nuclear arsenal with its 2,480 nuclear warheads on
      704 long-range ballistic missiles.[38]
      Rigged by Russia's enemies, Trojan horses have multiplied into herds.
      The antiauthoritarian revolutions in Georgia in 2004
      and Ukraine in 2005 are dangers--and so, as in the Soviet days, are
      the West's human rights organizations and election
      observers. At his last press conference as Russian president this past
      February, Putin suggested that, instead of "teaching us democracy,"
      those in the West who are concerned about human rights and liberties
      in Russia "should teach their wives
      how to make shchi," or Russian cabbage soup.[39] It is instructive to
      compare this statement to then-Soviet foreign minister
      Eduard Shevardnadze's interview with a Soviet newspaper in May 1989:
      It does not make sense to call following common sense a "concession to
      the West." . . . Is it in the interest of the
      West that the Soviet people have in their possession the entire range
      of liberties, which constitute human rights? It
      is you and me who need them first and foremost, it is our children. .
      . . Without developed and guaranteed human
      rights there is no and could not be democracy, there is no and could
      not be a lawful state.[40]
      Unchallenged in national politics and the mass media, the "besieged
      fortress" propaganda appears to be taking root, just
      as it did in Soviet days. If in 1998 only one-third of the Russians
      surveyed thought their country was under a "military threat
      from other countries," this year, over half believed that it was,
      while the proportions of those who did not see the danger
      went from 59 to 38 percent.[41]
      A Foreign Policy of Resurgence and Retribution. Recovering at least
      some of the assets lost in the "catastrophe" of
      the Soviet Union's demise and exacting a retribution for alleged past
      humiliations seem to have become key objectives of
      Russian foreign policy. Fervor to reassert territorial sovereignty,
      seen as threatened, led Russia last summer to drop a
      titanium replica of its national flag on the bottom of the Arctic
      Ocean at the North Pole. The zeal to demonstrate recovered
      military might has led to the dispatch of Tu-95 ("Bear")
      propeller-driven, strategic bombers with 1950s design and
      technology to "patrol" the airspace on the borders of the NATO member
      countries, as well as to the "buzzing" (that is,
      overflying unusually close) of a U.S. aircraft carrier by two "Bears"
      this past February.[42]
      The formerly diverse bilateral U.S.-Russian agenda--energy security,
      nuclear nonproliferation, the global war on terrorism,
      the containment of a resurgent authoritarian China, Russia's
      integration in the world's economy--has been deliberately and
      systematically whittled down by Moscow to what it was in Soviet days
      and what the Kremlin now wants it to be: arms
      control.[43] Russia's most authoritative independent military analyst,
      Alexandr Gol'tz, has noted that the country's foreign
      policy is "increasingly concentrated on military problems and based on
      the [policy of] containment."[44]
      Russian foreign policy has steadily grown truculent and, in many
      instances, pointedly anti-Western, as in the cases of Iran
      and Kosovo. In the process, the Kremlin has begun to tamper with some
      key structures of post-Cold War European
      security: the intermediate missile force agreement, signed by Ronald
      Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987; the 1990
      treaty on conventional forces in Europe between the Warsaw Pact and
      NATO; and the 1991 START nuclear arms accord.
      Moscow has threatened to "abandon" the first, has "suspended" its
      participation in the second, and has hinted at
      renegotiating the third when it expires in 2009.
      Most worrisome in the long run might be Russia's evolution toward what
      is known in the theory of international relations as
      a revisionist power, as has been noted in these pages.[45] Up until a
      year ago, it could be said that, while railing at the
      score, Russia was not seeking to change the rules of the game. This is
      no longer certain. As Putin told an international
      conference in February 2007, "We have approached that watershed
      moment, when we have to think seriously about the
      entire architecture of global security."[46] Ten months later, Foreign
      Minister Sergei Lavrov blamed NATO, the
      Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and the
      Conventional Forces in Europe treaty--the cornerstones of
      European stability and Russian bugbears, all--for unspecified "major
      problems."[47] The "moment of truth" has arrived,
      Lavrov declared: Moscow intends "to clear out"--that is, to
      dismantle--the offending institutions, or, as a Russian news
      agency put it, to "break up the old system of international security."[48]
      Spymania. Under Putin, the budget for security services has increased
      almost tenfold, from $4 billion to $39 billion.[49]
      Inaugurated by the trumped-up charges and shamelessly rigged spy
      trials of Igor Sutyagin, the arms control researcher at
      the United States and Canada Institute in Moscow, and Valentin
      Danilov, professor at the Krasnoyarsk State Technical
      University and expert on satellite technology,[50] spymania today
      reportedly has ensnared up to fifteen scientists who have
      been charged with or convicted of espionage.[51]
      Ideological "Subversion" as a National Security Concern. The struggle
      against alleged ideological subversion has
      been added to the duties of security services. Last year, leading
      Russian politicians accused the British Council, a cultural
      and educational organization financed by the British government, of
      being a front for spies. In a speech to Federal Security
      Service (FSB) officers last January, Putin called on the security
      agency to "increase its work to gather information about
      attempts to interfere with our internal affairs" in connection with
      the upcoming presidential election campaign.[52] Two
      months later, FSB director Nikolay Patrushev accused unnamed Russian
      nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) of
      assisting terrorists. In turn, both the NGOs and the terrorists were
      being helped by "foreign non-governmental
      organizations."[53] In response, a prominent Russian human rights
      activist, Irina Yasina, suggested that "the people who
      are with Patrushev--they are supposed to believe that we are
      surrounded by enemies, surrounded by spies."[54]
      Being Anti-West as New Russian Patriotism. At the conclusion of the
      meeting with German chancellor Angela Merkel
      this past March, Putin asserted that the West should not expect an
      "easier" time in dealing with Medvedev than it has had
      with him because, like Putin, the president was a "Russian
      nationalist,"[55] implying that a Russian patriot is by definition
      prone to disagreements or even conflict with the West.
      The notion of the "common European home"--with its rule of law and
      the moral imperatives of liberty and justice that were so popular in
      Russia in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s--has been
      discarded. Criminals convicted in the West or wanted as suspects in
      Western nations are fêted. Vitaliy Kaloev, who stabbed to death a
      Swiss air traffic controller whom he held responsible for
      a crash that killed his wife and children, was given a hero's welcome
      and is now deputy minister in the government of the
      autonomous republic of North Ossetia. Last December, Andrei Lugovoy,
      who is sought by Scotland Yard as the chief
      suspect in the murder of the FSB defector-turned-dissident Alexandr
      Litvinenko, was "elected" a Duma deputy.
      Ethnicity as Identity. Whereas Boris Yeltsin always used the word
      rossiyanin, or "citizen of Russia," to describe his own
      nationality and that of his compatriots (as opposed to russkiy, which
      describes ethnic Russianness), the present
      administration appears to be shifting to representing the country
      emphatically and dominantly as the state of ethnic
      Russians. In the instance described above, Putin used russkiy to
      describe Medvedev (and himself) as "Russian
      nationalists." (The word "nationalist" was edited out on all Russian
      television channels and changed to "patriot" on the
      presidential website.[56])
      The Russian Orthodox Church, it appears, is being gradually elevated
      to the state religion, which the constitution explicitly
      prohibits. The church has been granted a spiritual monopoly in the
      armed forces, and classes in Orthodox Christianity
      have been made mandatory in many regions of the country. In August
      2007, Russia's Council of Muftis issued a statement
      opposing the introduction of such a course in all state schools.
      Growing Ethnic Violence. The discrimination of and physical attacks on
      Asians, Africans, and Caucasians (that is,
      people from the Caucasus region) are a perennial feature in Russian
      cities and towns. Following a sharp worsening of
      relations with Georgia after the 2004 Rose Revolution and in response
      to the arrest by Georgian authorities of four
      Russian military officers on charges of espionage in September 2006,
      Russia expelled over two thousand ethnic
      Georgians from Moscow and other large cities. A prominent Russian
      journalist and member of the Public Chamber has
      recently blamed the murders of Central Asians, which he claims occur
      in Moscow once or even twice daily, on the
      "situation of intolerance and aggression."[57] He called for "a
      completely different" environment: one "of tolerance toward
      people of different appearance, different ethnicity and religion."[58]
      He was echoed by the<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
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