THE RUSSIAN NATIONALISM BULLETIN
A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs
Vol. 3, No. 28(70), 5 October 2009
Compilers: Scott Littlefield & Andreas Umland
I NEWS: 16 - 30 September 2009
II SURVEYS, ANALYSES, COMMENTS
III ANNOTATIONS OF RECENT PUBLICATIONS
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I NEWS: 16 - 30 September 2009
Neo-Nazi Vandalism in Bogorodsk Cemetery
UCSJ, September 16, 2009
Someone vandalized gravestones in a Bogorodsk, Russia (Nizhny Novgorod
region) cemetery, according to a September 15, 2009 report by the Sova
Information-Analytical Center. The vandals damaged 17 gravestones on
the night of September 9 and left swastikas and a Star of David drawn
with grass on several of the gravestones. This is the second time in
two years that neo-Nazi graffiti has been left at the cemetery. It
does not appear from Sova's reporting that anybody was ever arrested
for previous crime, which took place in July 2008.
Khabarovsk Court Sentences Two Far-Right Activists for Extremism
UCSJ, September 17, 2009
A court sentenced two leaders of a far-right group in Khabarovsk,
Russia after finding them guilty of extremism, according to a
September 16, 2009 report posted on the Russian language web site of
Radio Liberty. Pavel Onoprienko and Viktor Chulkin, the leader and
press-secretary respectively of the local branch of the Union of the
Russian People, were found guilty of making statements at meetings
last year aimed at inciting ethnic hatred. Their organization is the
successor of a pre-Revolutionary group that played a big role in
massive pogroms and other antisemitic violence in the early years of
the 20th century. Mr. Onoprienko was given a suspended sentence of
three years, while Mr. Chulkin got three years in prison, because he
was already under a suspended sentence for a different crime.
Commission against history falsification is not designed to "strangle debate" â" Medvedev
Interfax, September 18, 2009
VELIKY NOVGOROD. Sept 18 (Interfax) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said that a commission formed by him to counter attempts to falsify history has been accused of having the aim of "strangling debate" on historical issues.
After this commission was set up, "a number of respectable people have said that it is not good because it can strangle debate and revive a Soviet-era situation, where only one "right" point of view existed and all other opinions were declared amoral and non-scientific," Medvedev said at a meeting with heads of cultural institutions in Veliky Novgorod.
"I did not want this to happen. Those who are saying this have misunderstood me," the Russian president said.
"What I mean is that events on which there is not and should not be debate and which are understood by the whole of mankind the same should not be used in the interests of a group of politicians who are pursuing ordinary political goals," he said.
"Regrettably, our close neighbors have embarked on this path," Medvedev said.
"I thought it would be right not to take a passive stance on such events - when we are told that we started the war [World War II] and we are nodding in agreement. I wanted us to have an internally motivated, scientific and, at the same time, civil position," the president said.
"These are the objectives of the commission's work," he added.
Neo-Nazis Spark Deadly Brawl in Oryol
UCSJ, September 22, 2009
A group of neo-Nazis provoked a brawl with Azeris in Oryol, Russia
that left one dead and another participant in the emergency room,
according to a September 17, 2009 report by the Sova Center. On
September 12, the extremists spotted two Azeri men walking along a
bridge with two Slavic women. They hurled insults and bottles at the
couples, and then started to chase them. One of the Azeris reportedly
used his cell phone to call friends for help, and the incident quickly
escalated into a brawl.
One of the assailants--identified in the report as Kirill K.--was
stabbed to death, and one Azeri--Rasim Sh.--was put into the emergency
room with stab wounds to his lungs. Police detained people on both
sides of the brawl, but so far have only charged two of the Azeris
with murder and attempted murder. Police reportedly found extremist
literature in the neo-Nazis' possession, and reported that one of them
had "nationalist tattoos." Among the suspects are at least four whose
neo-Nazi pseudonyms were already known to police investigators.
Wave of Racist Violence Leads Migrants to Protest in Dzherzhinsk, Russia
UCSJ, September 22, 2009
Migrant market traders held a protest in Dzherzhinsk, Russia (Nizhny
Novgorod region) calling for the police to protect them from neo-Nazi
gangs that they say have killed three victims over the past month,
according to a September 16, 2009 article in the "Regions" supplement
to the national daily "Nezavisimaya Gazeta." Two Azeris and an Uzbek
have died and several other migrants have been assaulted in recent
weeks in that city, and some of the attacks have been accompanied by
graffiti that explicitly threatens non-Russians with violence. On
Monday, the migrants held a protest, but police dispersed it, claiming
it was an "unsanctioned meeting." The vice mayor of Dzherzhinsk,
Sergey Kleymenov, reacted with the following borderline racist
comment: "An unsanctioned meeting is no way to address a complaint. We
are not under the laws of the [Caucasus] mountains here, but under the
laws of the Russian Federation, and those laws will be strictly
The article cited law enforcement statistics putting the Nizhny
Novgorod region behind only Moscow and St. Petersburg in the number of
hate crimes committed there so far this year. In the first half of
2009, prosecutors opened investigations of extremist actions 21 times
in the region, twice the number of cases than during the first half of
2008. In Dzherzhinsk, local neo-Nazis are on trial for beating a Tajik
to death last year, and in the city of Balakhna, three members of the
neo-Nazi group Russian National Unity (RNU) face charges of killing an
ethnic Korean man near a train station. A federal law enforcement
official is quoted in the article saying that, "police in Balakhna
have not taken steps to stamp out incidents of neo-fascism and all the
fences near the station are covered with swastikas." The article
pointed out that two years ago in Balakhna, around 30 masked young men
screaming racist slogans attacked market traders with baseball bats
and chains, sending two the hospital in serious condition. In
response, only nine suspects were eventually tried, all of whom
reportedly admitted ties to the RNU. Incredibly, a court let them off
with short, suspended sentences.
Prosecutors in the Nizhny Novgorod region are currently investigating
three neo-Nazi groups: The Whites-88 gang, accused of five assaults on
migrants; the Militant Terrorist Organization, charged with three
murders and 12 assaults; and an unnamed third gang, suspected of one
murder and seven assaults. In the regional town of Zavolzhe, members
of a group calling itself the National Socialist Workers Party of
Russia is on trial for allegedly blowing up the car of an Azeri man
and trying to attack a group of Vietnamese men. The defendants
reportedly trained with guns and explosives in the woods, and may have
been involved in burning down a partially constructed mosque. Finally,
an ethnic Russian professor at the Volzhsky State Academy of Water
Transport, Stanislav Aseev, was allegedly murdered by a member of the
Militant Terrorist Organization upset over bad grades.
Court Sentences Moscow Neo-Nazi Gang
UCSJ, September 22, 2009
A court in Moscow sentenced nine neo-Nazi gang members after a jury
found them guilty on multiple counts earlier this month, according to
a September 22, 2009 article posted on the web site of the radio
station Ekho Moskvy. On September 10, a jury found the defendants
guilty of five attacks on citizens of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and
China, one of whom they stabbed to death. The extremists allegedly
coordinated over email and far-right web forums, travelled to end
stations on the Moscow metro line, and then attacked non-Russian
passersby with the express motive of "liberating" Moscow of ethnic
The charges included murder, attempted murder, "hooliganism," and acts
aimed at inciting ethnic hatred. Nineteen year old defendant Ilya
Shutko (AKA "Luftwaffe"), who was sentenced last year to seven
years in prison for his part in the widely publicized murder of the
ethnic Sakha chess master Sergey Nikolaev, was found guilty of the
most serious charge--"murder and attempted murder of four people."
He was given a ten year sentence, along with defendant Aleksandr
Efimov. Seventeen year old Evgeniya Zhikhareva has an extremist
criminal record as well, having allegedly taken part in several racist
murders, and the bombings of a MacDonalds and a railway. She was given
an eight year sentence. Three of the defendants got suspended
sentences, while the remaining three got between five and eight years
in prison, most likely because they were underaged youths at the time
of the crime.
Hate Crimes, Fear of Migrants Rising in Sverdlovsk Region
UCSJ, September 23, 2009
The Sverdlovsk region of Russia, located in the Urals, has
experienced a sharp rise in hate crimes and anti-migrant sentiment,
according to the head of the anti-extremism unit of the regional FSB,
whose September 18 press conference was reported in detail that same
day by the web site Fergana.ru, which covers news impacting Central
Asians. "Crimes of an extremist character" (there is no exact
equivalent of the term "hate crime" in Russian law) increased
dramatically in the region, from 11 in 2006, 14 in 2007, 17 in 2008,
and a whopping 40 so far this year--a two fold increase compared to
last year. Two neo-Nazi gangs have been brought to justice, according
to the FSB official, Vasily Ilinykh. Mr. Ilinykh linked the increase
in hate crimes to growing anti-migrant sentiment, citing a poll of
local university students that found that 61% expressed worry at the
presence of migrants in their city. Forty-two percent of respondents
stated that the migrants "don't want to respect our traditions," 25%
were worried about terrorism, and a hard core of 14% shared the views
of neo-Nazi groups that "due to marriages with migrants, there will be
fewer 'pure-blooded' Russians." Mr. Ilinykh blamed the media for part
of the problem, saying that it helps to create a negative image of
Balts See Former Soviet Union In Dark Colors -- Study
BNS (Estonia), September 23, 2009
Negative attitudes towards the former Soviet Union prevail in the Baltic states and Georgia, positive attitudes, in the Central Asian ex-Soviet republics, and in the rest of former Soviet territories ambiguous attitudes are widespread.
A historic (as received) consciousness survey showed that residents of former Soviet republics are split into three groups by their attitude towards the Soviet Union. If Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians and Georgians see the Soviet Union in dark colors, residents of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have fond memories of it.
The rest of the ex-Soviet nations -- Russia, Armenia, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Belarus -- have ambiguous attitudes.
Turkmenistan did not participate in the survey.
Residents of 14 participating countries were asked about the end of World War II with a choice of two answers given: "By defeating the fascist aggressors the Soviet Union not only defended its freedom and independence but also played the decisive role in the liberation of European and Asian nations from the fascist yoke" and "For East European nations the victory of the Soviet Union meant replacement of one occupation with another."
In Estonia 51 percent of the polled chose the second answer, 22 percent agreed with the first and 9 percent accepted both. In Latvia the corresponding percentages were respectively 35, 28 and 18 percent, and in Lithuania, 46, 12 and 23 percent.
Estonia was the only country where more than half respondents picked the second answer.
The first answer was chosen by 70 percent of the polled in Russia, 67 percent in Tajikistan, 66 percent in Uzbekistan and Belarus each, and 65 in Kazakhstan.
The second answer was chosen by 44 percent of respondents in Georgia, 23 percent in Moldova, 18 percent in Azerbaijan and 17 percent in Ukraine.
Negative attitudes dominated in the Baltic states also with regard to Soviet collectivization, industrialization and the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. The last was seen in a negative light in Georgia and Moldova as well.
Residents of the Baltic states and Georgia also regard the Soviet Union as an aggressive country that threatened all its neighbors and the whole world.
The survey was conducted in 14 countries of the former Soviet Union to study their residents' attitudes to key events and persons of the 20th century. In Estonia fieldwork for the survey was carried out by the Saar Poll research company.
Russian politicians, pundits annoyed by Polish resolution
Ekho Moskvy, BBC Monitoring, September 23, 2009
(Presenter) The Polish Sejm passed a resolution condemning Soviet troops' invasion of Poland in 1939. (passage omitted) Several Russian deputies demanded that the victims of Polish regimes should be commemorated. Russian Communist leader Gennadiy Zyuganov described the Polish Sejm's decision as provocation. He believes that the resolution would spoil Russian-Polish relations.
(Zyuganov) Today's attempt to equate us and Nazi Germany is not only immoral but is simply repulsive. I would like the Poles to remember that 600,000 of the best sons and daughters of our country are lying in the Polish soil. They freed it from Fascist Germany. So Kaczynskis brothers should stop jumping up and down. They will not succeed in rewriting history, they are just causing more unpleasantness in our relations.
(Presenter) Zyuganov believes that Poland, I quote, should learn lessons from Germany, end of quote, which, as Zyuganov believes, behaves much better now. Liberal Democratic Party of Russia MP Sergey Ivanov described the Polish Sejm's decision as political. He believes that such questions should be dealt with exclusively by historians.
(Ivanov) I am not fighting against dead men. This incident probably shows that everything is fine in Poland, and there are no other problems since they are dealing with history. This is a matter for historians. They must sit down and assess the events. If the Polish Sejm passes such resolutions, what can be done? This is a purely political statement which doesn't bother me personally. Russia must follow the rule: the dog barks, but the caravan passes on. (passage omitted)
(Presenter) The Polish Sejm's decision will not affect relations between Moscow and Warsaw, MP and political analysts Sergey Markov believes. He described the resolution as a mistake but noted that Russia should not overreact.
(Markov) Russian-Polish relations are already difficult, first of all because the Polish political class is trying very hard to make Russia and the European Union fall out, and introduce its complexes, including historical ones, into the modern political agenda. I think we should not react to the resolution too harshly. One can feel Poland's pain. At the same time this is a gross political mistake - to compare the Nazi regime, which destroyed the Poles, and the Red Army, which freed the Poles. If it were not for the Red Army, the present Poles would have been servants, swineherds and prostitutes of the Aryan race. But pain should not cloud reason. We would like to build our relations with Poland on the basis of reason.
(Presenter) Markov also believes that the Polish resolution is anti-Semitic. The politician noted that the Red Army had saved from the Holocaust tens of thousands of Jews who lived in Poland.
(First Deputy Head of the Duma International Affairs Committee Leonid Slutskiy accused the Polish Sejm of falsifying history, Interfax reported. "Unfortunately, Poland has decided to join the ranks of those who recently got enthusiastic about falsifying the history of World War II," Slutskiy told Interfax. He noted that this gesture was intended to "blacken Russia, distort its image in the eyes of the international community and portray the USSR and its successor Russia as the main culprit in the division of Europe in the middle of last century". He admitted that the Polish resolution "is a serious factor complicating our bilateral relations". However, Moscow "will continue constructive cooperation with Warsaw" in order to restore historical truth and strengthen bilateral contacts, despite total disagreement over several historical facts.
First deputy speaker of the Duma Oleg Morozov described the resolution as lies prompted by political expediency, Interfax reported.
Russian experts regret that the Polish Sejm passed the resolution, RIA Novosti reported.
A member of the Russian-Polish group for difficult problems, Artem Malgin, said that the resolution is "deeply regretful" and it can "destroy the tone set by the September visit by (Prime Minister) Vladimir Putin to Poland". Malgin said the resolution might "spoil the whole political climate between Russia and Poland". Malgin said the Polish political elite "is making a very serious strategic mistake" which might push Russian-Polish relations into a dead-end.
The president of the New Eurasia foundation, Andrey Kortunov, noted that the resolution is political and "reflects the inertia of certain feelings rather than historical reality". He stressed that the resolution reflects the opinion of a small part of the political elite. He said he hoped that the resolution would not affect positive trends in Russian-Polish relations.
First deputy head of the Federation Council International Affairs Committee Vasiliy Likhachev said the Polish resolution had distorted historical truth by saying nothing about the role of the Soviet troops which saved Poland from the Nazi.
Senator Nikolay Tuleyev called on the Polish politicians to refrain from lopsided interpretation of historical facts. Senator Sergey Shcheblygin agrees: "The Federation Council and the Duma might pass a judgment on the resolution," he said. "Obviously, there are forces in Poland which want to gain political capital from historical facts and that approach does not help in strengthening Russian-Polish cooperation," he said.
Russian Orthodox Church ready to promote the rights of religious minorities at school and in the army
Interfax-Religion, September 23, 2009
Moscow, September 23, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate is ready to promote the needs of religious minorities at Russian schools and in the army.
"I think that an Orthodox priest should help members of religious minorities (at school and in the army - IF) to find their way to their churches and pastors," Head of the Synodal Church and Society Department Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin said at a round table meeting in Moscow.
According to him, the Russian Orthodox Church believes that "people should be given an option" and comes out against "imposing the ideology obligatory for all."
He quoted the standpoint of Hegumen Savva (Molchanov), Deputy Head of the Synodal Department for Relations with Armed Forces, who had stated earlier that the Orthodox chaplains had already helped soldiers of different confessions to contact their respective pastors.
Meanwhile, Father Vsevolod said that the presence of religious minority organizations at schools and in the army should be balanced with the number of their followers among students, soldiers and officers. He also called irrelevant "missionary actions aimed at the whole personnel of military units executed by organizations which have either one or two followers in such unit or none at all."
Russia's Chechen chief blames CIA for violence
Reuters, 24 September 2009
MOSCOW - The Kremlin-backed chief of Russia's turbulent Chechnya region said his forces were fighting U.S. and British intelligence services who want to split the country apart, according to an interview published on Thursday.
Former rebel-turned-Moscow-ally Ramzan Kadyrov said in comments to Zavtra newspaper reprinted on his official website that he had seen the U.S. driving licence of a CIA operative who was killed in a security operation he led. Chechen authorities have previously said insurgents following the radical Wahabist form of Islam receive support from international Islamist groups sympathetic to al-Qaeda, but have not accused the West of instigating violence.
"We're fighting in the mountains with the American and English intelligence agencies. They are fighting not against Kadyrov, not against traditional Islam, they are fighting against the sovereign Russian state," he said.
The West sought to attack both Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and the country as a whole by targeting the country's weakest regions, Kadyrov said in the comments republished prominently on www.chechnya.gov.ru.
Kadyrov was appointed by Moscow as a bulwark against separatist rebels in the mainly Muslim province, but rights activists say he flouts federal laws and is himself responsible for much of the violence that has grown in recent months.
"The West is interested to cut off the Caucasus from Russia. The Caucasus - a strategic frontier of Russia. If they take away the Caucasus from Russia, it's like taking away half of Russia."
Many Chechens have emigrated to Europe, Turkey, and Georgia and some have been recruited as insurgents, said Kadyrov.
"Now they strike a blow against Putin and Russia. Chechnya, Dagestan are weak, vulnerable parts of the Russian state," Kadyrov said, referring to the neighbouring region, which has also been rocked by violence. Asked if he was saying there were signs of CIA and MI6 participation in the violence, he said "Of course", he had seen evidence of their direct involvement in an operation he led.
"There was a terrorist Chitigov, he worked for the CIA. He had U.S. citizenship...When we killed him, I was in charge of the operation and we found a U.S. driving licence and all the other documents were also American," he said.
HATE CRIMES AND FEAR OF MIGRANTS WAY UP IN SVERDLOVSK REGION
Bigotry Monitor-UCSJâs weekly newsletter, Volume 9, Number 36, September 25, 2009
Located in the Ural Mountains, the Sverdlovsk Region has experienced a sharp rise in hate crimes and anti-migrant sentiment, according to the head of the anti-extremism unit of the regional FSB, Vasily Ilinykh. His September 18 press conference was reported on the same day by the web site Fergana.ru, which covers news impacting Central Asians. Ilinykh said that âcrimes of an extremist character"â"the closest equivalent of the term "hate crime" in Russian lawâ"increased dramatically in the region, from 11 in 2006 to 14 in 2007, to 17 in 2008, and to a whopping 40 so far this year.
Two neo-Nazi gangs have been brought to justice, Ilinykh told the press. He linked the increase in hate crimes to growing anti-migrant sentiment, citing a poll of local university students that found 61% worried by the presence of migrants in their city; 42% stated that the migrants "don't want to respect our traditions"; 25% were worried about terrorism; and a hard core of 14% shared the views of neo-Nazi groups that "due to marriages with migrants, there will be fewer 'pure-blooded' Russians."
ON RUSSIAâS SOUTHERNMOST PART, A BRUTAL WAR LITTLE NOTICED
Bigotry Monitor-UCSJâs weekly newsletter, Volume 9, Number 36, September 25, 2009
Titled âDirty War Rages on Russia's Doorstep,â Londonâs âSunday Timesâ published on September 20 the story of an abduction in broad daylight on a street in Makhachkala, Dagestanâs capital. Five men were reportedly captured by a death squad operated by the security services who are probably backed by Russian special forces, in a mountainous republic of 3 million souls divided by growing conflict in the southernmost part of Russia.
The men were bundled away at gunpoint. First their heads were covered with hoods, and then they were allegedly driven to an interrogation center to be beaten and tortured as suspected Islamic militants. One was subjected to a mock hanging, another to electric shocks. Finally, like other young men before them, they were taken to a wood and bound with duct tape. They were put inside a car wired with explosives and doused in gasoline. Their captors sprayed chloroform into their hoods and vanished. âThe men, who have never been charged with any crime, were left waiting to be blown to bits,â the report noted. âIt is usual for the security forces to claim that terrorist bombers have inadvertently triggered their device before they were able to plant it.â
However, two of the captives were not knocked out by the chloroform. They freed themselves and removed the explosives. But they were unable to wake their three companions before the death squad returned to the scene. The captives fled, and their three companions left behind were later found dead at another spot, their bodies charred. The two survivors are still in hiding.
According to âThe Times,â the incident is typical and characterizes the brutality of âan underground warâ between Muslim extremists determined to break away from Moscowâs rule and Kremlin-backed forces hell-bent on stopping them. âCaught in the middle are countless civilians,â the newspaper noted. The war is âunreported in Russia and virtually unnoticed by the rest of the world.â
The newspaper pointed out that five months after the Chechnya war was declared over, the northern Caucasus has seen a big upsurge in violence, with 500 people killed so far this year, double last yearâs toll. âIt has become the Kremlinâs most pressing problem after the economic crisisâ the report concluded.
MOSCOW ORDERS TATARSTAN TO âHARMONIZEâ ITS LANGUAGE LAW
Bigotry Monitor-UCSJâs weekly newsletter, Volume 9, Number 36, September 25, 2009
The parliament of Tatarstan is considering amendments to the republicâs language law after the Russian Supreme Court ordered the Tatar government to harmonize those laws with federal legislation, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported last week. The Supreme Court specified that in addition to official documents by Tatarstan's state bodies, all public pronouncements, posters, advertisements, as well as ballot papers, must be printed in both Tatar and Russian languages.
âIf the order is implemented, even promotional posters for purely Tatar-language oriented cultural events will have to be published in Tatar and Russian,â RFE/RL reported. âTatar activists have been complaining that such actions show that the Kremlin is pursuing a policy directed at assimilating the country's many ethnic minorities.â
Several years ago, Moscow stopped Tatarstan from adapting the Latin alphabet after the Tatar government adopted legislation on the use of Latin over Cyrillic.
Patriarch Kirill: The unity of the Orthodox countries to ensure their strong positions in the world
Interfax-Religion, September 25, 2009
Minsk, September 25, Interfax - The peoples of Russia, Byelorussia, Ukraine and Moldova should maintain their Orthodox unity, in particular, for the purpose of occupying important positions on the international scene," Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia believes.
"It is necessary to realize that Byelorussia, Russia, Ukraine, and Moldova belong to one civilization based on the common Orthodox faith," Patriarch said.
According to him, commitment to common heritage will allow "to foster national cultural identity of our peoples and ensure their real sovereignty."
"While discussing sovereignty lately, I have always added the word "real", for there are many countries in the world that consider themselves sovereign, but fail to act - in particular, on the international scene - in full compliance with their national interests," Patriarch Kirill said.
He thinks that "spiritual and cultural identity and common interests of our peoples will help the Orthodox countries - including those within the canonic territory of the Moscow Patriarchate - to gain their coordinated and strong position in a dialogue with the surrounding world."
"In particular, in a dialogue which would highlight that such countries have a real national sovereignty," Patriarch Kirill said.
Polish Church Elders Call For Russia to Be Forgiven
Reuters, September 26, 2009
KATYN, Russia (Reuters) - A senior Polish bishop said Saturday Poland must forgive Russia for Soviet crimes in order to improve relations, speaking at a graveyard of more than 4,000 Polish officers killed by Josef Stalin's army in 1940.
Russia and Poland are at loggerheads over the actions of Soviet leader Stalin in 1939, when he clinched a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany that opened the way for the invasion of Poland and world war.
"The fate of those killed is already in the hands of God," Tadeusz Ploski, a Catholic Polish army bishop, told a group of 250 prison guards visiting Katyn to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the start of War World Two.
"But ... the victims of Katyn will not rest in peace as long as the wrong done to them evokes dark feelings in us, as long as true reconciliation with the Russian nation is not our genuine priority."
Poland demands the opening of archives related to an investigation, carried out between 1990 and 2004, of the Katyn massacre, as well as an official rehabilitation of the victims.
Prime Ministers Vladimir Putin and Donald Tusk agreed during the September 1 ceremonies commemorating the anniversary of Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland to offer historians reciprocal access to their nations' archives and to set up joint groups of experts to study the Katyn case.
Archbishop Miron of the Polish Orthodox Church and Ryszard Borski, the head army pastor of Poland's Evangelical Church, also urged both sides to forgive each other.
Among the flat graves in a birch forest near the city of Smolensk, Miron spoke of "thousands of people, who died as a result of the hateful totalitarianism which did not differentiate between 'ours' and 'theirs.'"
Ploski told the crowd of uniformed men and women about a letter issued by Polish bishops to their German counterparts in 1965, which was criticised at the time but eventually proved important for restoring relations.
"A greatness of a nation is expressed through brave gestures, which build bridges of understanding with other nations," Ploski said. But he added that a call for forgiveness by Poland might be an unpopular idea.
Polish Justice Minister Andrzej Czuma, who headed Saturday's delegation to Katyn, said it was important to remember that, in terms of those killed, Russia was the biggest victim of the "satanic ideology" of communism.
For Maria Demyanova, who has worked at the Katyn museum gift shop for almost a decade, the political hostility between the two nations remains a puzzle.
"I see it on TV. I see it on both sides. Why, I ask, why?" Demyanova said. "Here in Katyn, nobody argues."
TV presenter urges Russians to accept loss of 'empire'
Channel One TV, BBC Monitoring, September 28, 2009
Veteran TV presenter Vladimir Pozner has suggested that the Russians should abandon "imperial ambitions".
In an off-topic commentary at the end of his weekly slot on state-controlled Channel One on 28 September, he said that one of the most memorable impressions of his recent trip to France was "the complete, or almost complete, absence of imperial tendencies among the French" as well as the absence of "imperial ambitions".
He recalled that decolonization, especially of Algeria, came as a profound shock to many French people. Nevertheless, he continued, the nation had recovered from the loss of empire fairly quickly.
Pozner ended his commentary by suggesting that the Russians should follow the French example and accept the inevitable.
"Of course, relinquishing an empire is a difficult process, but it is inevitable. All known empires have at some point ceased to exist. It seems important to me that the Russians remember that this is inevitable, although it is quite possible to cope with it. In fact, it is easier to live without imperial ambitions than with them. At least, that is how it seemed to me in France," he said.
Vandals Again Strike Jewish Graves in Tver Cemetery
UCSJ, September 29, 2009
For the third time this year, vandals have desecrated Jewish
gravestones in the Dmitrovo-Cherkasskoe cemetery in the Tver region,
according to a September 24, 2009 report by the news web site
Gazeta.ru. This time almost 60 gravestones were damaged, compared to
21 in April, and 60 in July. The mayor of Tver admitted that the
police have no suspects and that "impunity in many ways inspires new
acts of vandalism." It is unclear from the report if police are
investigating the incident as a hate crime.
UCSJ NOTE: The words painted on the gravestones in these photos are
the Russian for "evil."
Arsonists Again Target Vladivostok Baptist Church
UCSJ, September 29, 2009
For the second time in a month, someone firebombed a Baptist church in
Vladivostok, Russia, according to a September 28, 2009 report by the
news web site Novosti Vladivostoka. The Good News Baptist church was
attacked on Saturday night with two Molotov cocktails, resulting in
relatively minor damage to the building. Police are investigating the
incident more seriously than they did the August 23 firebombing,
according to the article. So far, no suspects have been detained in
relation to either crime, and there is no information in the report
indicating that prosecutors are considering hate crimes charges.
Neo-Nazis Attack Anti-Fascists in Petersburg Night Club
UCSJ, October 1, 2009
A group of neo-Nazis armed with gas powered pistols and bottles
attacked anti-fascists at a Petersburg night club, according to a
September 28, 2009 report by the Sova Information-Analytical Center.
On September 25, the neo-Nazis reportedly shot and threw bottles at
visitors of the Iron Lion night club, and returned a few hours later
to beat up anti-fascists. Five victims were hospitalized. Police are
investigating the incident, but so far have not brought charges
against any suspects.
Kremlin Created Youth Group Leader Threatens Human Rights Advocate
UCSJ, October 1, 2009
A prominent Russian human rights activist has gone underground out of
fears for his safety, after an article he wrote criticizing the
totalitarian nature of the Soviet regime sparked death threats,
according to September 29, 2009 reports by Reuters and Agence France
Presse. Aleksandr Podrabinek wrote an article criticizing Soviet
veterans groups, and the Russian government, of glorifying the Soviet
past, while ignoring the mass killings and other human rights
violations committed by the Soviet regime.
In recent years, anti-fascist and human rights advocates have been
threatened, assaulted, and even killed after receiving death threats
from neo-Nazis and others. The posting of Mr. Podrabinek's address and
phone number, combined with Internet postings threatening his physical
safety, are therefore serious threats in the current climate. The
involvement of the Kremlin-created youth group "Nashi" raises the
level of danger that Mr. Podrabinek faces considerably.
According to a September 25, 2009 report posted on the Internet news
site "Ezhednevny Zhurnal," Boris Yakimenko, a leader of "Nashi," wrote
on his blog that: "Judging from the reaction on the Internet, there
are many people who are ready to do what it takes to make Podrabinek's
life a nightmare. And that is a good thing. He shouldn't be able to
walk the streets without being spat upon. And that should just be the
Given the extreme danger that human rights activists already face in
Russia, and the apparent inability and/or unwillingness of Russian law
enforcement agencies to protect them from violent extremists, Mr.
Yakimenko's statement could easily be interpreted as a thinly veiled
death threat. He also called for Mr. Podrabinek, who during the Soviet
period was tortured in a psychiatric facility under state policies
that placed many dissidents under forced psychiatric care, to undergo
"a psychiatric examination and then have to walk the streets with a
document stating that he is insane."
"Every honest person who encounters Podrabinek," Mr. Yakimenko wrote,
should tell him what they think of him so that, "Podrabinek will at
first stop leaving his home, and then will run off to wherever it's
good for him to live"--an obvious reference to the West.
Members of "Nashi" reportedly went to the office of the independent
newspaper "Novaya Gazeta" on September 24 demanding Mr. Podrabinek's
phone number, which they were refused. However, shortly afterwards,
threatening phone calls and texts began, and people began buzzing his
apartment, claiming to have deliveries for him. Nikolai Girenko, an
anti-fascist activist and academic, was shot to death in his own home
in St. Petersburg by a similar "visitor" in 2004, and earlier this
year, someone attempted to stab the eye out of Karelia-based
anti-fascist activist Maksim Efimov after gaining entrance to his
building by claiming to have a delivery. Several other anti-fascist
and human rights activists have received death threats and/or been attacked in recent years.
Patriarch Kirill believes in capacity of the Union between Russia and Byelorussia
Interfax-Religion, October 1, 2009
Minsk, September 28, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia called political elites of the union state of Russia and Byelorussia for fostering mutual relations.
"Current development of our brotherly states shows that the potential of the Union between Russia and Byelorussia is really strong," Patriarch Kirill said on Friday at a formal ceremony held at the Palace of Republic in Minsk.
Patriarch Kirill believes that the idea of the Union state enjoys support of the vast majority of people in Russia and Byelorussia, and "it is only evident", and there is no need to prove it with any supplemental opinion polls.
"Indeed, the will of both peoples has been leading us to it [the Union]. Russian people consider Byelorussia not only our major partner in CIS, but also the most reliable ally, and Byelorussians deem Russia as a friendly state with long established stable relations in all spheres of life," Patriarch said.
In this respect, he urged political elites of Russia and Byelorussia to "value this Union which is created in compliance with the public will and has been blessed by the Orthodox Church."
"If we lose it, we shall lose both economically and politically, not only as peoples and states, but also as individuals. Perhaps, the justice of Heaven will prosecute us for forgetting the commandments of the Holy Russia," Patriarch Kirill said.
He highlighted the importance of the sovereignty of independent states, and the principles of national identity, but urged the Russian and Byelorussian believers to "maintain unity which alone is capable of ensuring our common prosperous future."
September, 2009. Monthly Summary
SOVA Center, October 1, 2009
In September, 2009, in Russia, not less than 23 people, including 6 fatalities, became victims of racist and neo-nazi motivated violence. Beside Moscow and St. Petersburg, such attacks took place in Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Orel and Samara. In September, 2008, 7 people were murdered and not less than 47 more injured.
In all, from the beginning of the year, in 36 regions of Russia, as a result of racist and neo-nazi attacks, not less than 48 people were murdered and 253 more injured. In the same period of time, in 2008, 92 people died and not less than 379 were injured.
In September, there were not less than 11 acts of vandalism in 8 regions of Russia. The case in Tver region was a high profile one, for the Dmitrovo-Cherkasskoye cemetery was attacked 3 times in September. Besides, attacks on Jewish objects and cemeteries took place in Khabarovsk region (there was an arson attack) and in Nizhny Novgorod region. In Sverdlovsk region a mosque was attacked, in Krasnodar region Armenian cemetery was targeted, and in Tyumen and Lipetsk regions âideologicalâ vandal actions were reported (we consider as âideological actionâ not a singular swastika painted on a wall, but an organized large scale graffiti action or an action targeting certain important objects, such as Second World War II memorials).
From the beginning of the year, we have registered not less than 73 cases of ideologically and racially motivated vandalism, including 9 arson attacks. In particular, there were 24 cases of ideologically motivated vandalism, 20 anti-Jewish actions, 13 anti-Orthodox, 6 anti-Muslim, 4 anti-Armenian, 4 anti-Protestant and one episode against each of Catholic and New Religious Movements' buildings.
In September, the Federal List of the Extremist Materials was enlarged 4 times (4, 17, 23 and 25 September) by paragraphs 415-431. The last paragraph concerns the book âPersonality of a Muslimâ which has been enlisted once some time ago, so it constitutes the 15th duplicate on the list. In September, the decision to doom an anti-Krishnaite leaflet (paragraph 413) as an extremist one was canceled, thus the number of unlawfully enlisted materials went up to 6.
In September, there were not less than 3 guilty verdicts issued for violent hate crimes, 2 in Nizhny Novgorod and one in Moscow. 17 people were convicted, including 4 who got suspended sentences. In all, from the beginning of the year, 34 trials ended with guilty verdicts for violent hate crimes. 102 people were convicted, including 26 who got suspended sentences or were released from imprisonment for different reasons.
There were 4 guilty verdicts for xenophobic propaganda against 5 people in Republic of Komi and in Vladimir region in September. In all, from the beginning of the year, there were 29 guilty verdicts for xenophobic propaganda (article 282 of the Criminal Code) against 40 people, including 20 who got suspended sentences.
In September, the most high profile events in the field of unlawful implementation of the anti-extremist legislation were the case of Novorossijsk Committee for Human Rights being accused of extremism for using a slogan âYou don't give the freedom, you take the freedomâ, and the case of a Jehovah Witnesses organization of Taganrog which was doomed as extremist as well as a long list of their materials.
II SURVEYS, ANALYSES, COMMENTS
Dugin and Ergenekon
Turkish Gladio, n.d.
Eurasianism as an alternative to the Western alliance is the basic discourse of the Ergenekon network. However, the Turkish public knows little about Alexandr Dugin, a Russian intellectual and the leading figure of Eurasianism, who also has some Ergenekon suspects.
Who is Dugin?
â¢ He is a frequent commentator on foreign affairs in the Russian media
â¢ He is the leading spokesman for neo-Eurasianism, an adaptation of the original Eurasianism which fits well with the nationalist and anti-American positions that have become increasingly mainstream in recent years.
â¢ He is the founder of the Anti-Orange Youth Front, a street movement, and the author of a weekly program on Spas, the Orthodox satellite channel.
â¢ He is the moving spirit behind the New University, a regular lecture series and the author of various books and articles based on these lectures and similar sources. In these capacities, he is the leading Russian spokesman for Traditionalism, and international movement originating in the esoteric milieux of the late-nineteenth century Paris.
â¢ He is the leader of the International Eurasia Movement. This not only represents Eurasianism in former Soviet countries such as the Ukraine and Kazakhstan, but has some significance in Western Europe, where it is an inspiring example for the extreme Right.
â¢ Dugin is almost entirely self-taught: he received no formal higher education, having been expelled from the Institute of Aviation in 1983, at the age of 22.
Dugin entered politics directly for the first time in 1993 as one of three founders of the National Bolshevik Party (NBP), along with the novelist Edvard Limonov and the musician Egor Letov. Today anti-Orange Youth Front is an echo of the NBP, which is best understood not as a political party but as a youth group. He came to the attention of a wider audience in 1997 with the publication of âGeopolitical Foundations: the geopolitical Future of Russia.â
Dugin became loyal to President Putin, and still retains good relations with him.
Dugin is now the leader of Eurasia Movement which he founded in 2001, and it is different than NBP, i.e., it is not a youth movement, it included such figures as Dr. Aleksandr Panarin, Mufti Talgat Taj-al-Din, Archbishop Andrian (the patriarch of the Old Believers), and Mikhail Leontiev.
What is his underlying ideology?
It is Traditionalism, which is the key to his neo-Eurasianism. His traditionalism comes in two strands, one spiritual or esoteric, and one political. Both derive from Reneâ Guenon (1886-1951), a quasi-Masonic orderâ¦ he takes Guenon as âundiscovered Marx.â
Another ideologue for Dugin is the Italian Political Traditionalist, Baron Julius Evola (1897-1974), who became the chief inspiration for activists who were at one point responsible for an average of 80 terrorist attacks a month. It should be noted, however, that despite the foregoing violent aspect, Evolian political Traditionalism remained spiritual and esoteric. In recent years, spiritual Traditionalism has spread from Catholic Europe and America to the Muslim world, especially Iran, Turkey, and Malaysia.
Duginâs Traditionalism is entirely non-Russian origin. Although most followers of Guenon have become Sufis, Dugin chose Old Belief (a traditional esoteric and religious path, the foundations of which lie in the Traditionalism) over Sufism, because he was a Russian in Russia. Duginâs political action may be inspired by Evola and Traditionalism, but that action takes place within Russia, and is facilitated by good relations with the Church.
Traditionalism is an anti-modernist philosophy, and so has more appeal in countries with problematic experiences of modernity than in countries with unproblematic experiences of modernity, or in countries with little experience with modernity. Soviet-Unionâs modernity was definitely problematic, that is why Duginâs ideas are enticing to many people in Russia today. (This part is important vis a vis Turkish problems with modernization).
Dugin became acquainted with Traditinalism in a circle of intellectuals which meets today at the New University.
Duginâs identification of America as the chief representative of modernity, and so as Russiaâs chief enemy, is a continuation of Cold War perceptions. Likewise, his Eurasian bloc is an essentially continuation of the Old Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact, with the addition of Iran and Turkey. His positive view of the Soviet Union, however, does not stem from his conviction that Soviet Union was good, but from that of âWestern Democracy is worse.â
1) His staunchly defense of anti-Americanism seems to resonate with a significant number of Russians, especially the youthâ¦ I realized this when I was watching a debate on You-tube (in Russian) between Dugin and Viktor Erofeev, a well-known Russian author. During this debate, people were able to vote for their favorite discussant through text-messages which could be seen on the TV screen. As a result he received about 50.000 votes, whereas Erofeev received about 30.000. In addition, the audience that was present at the debate applauded stronger when Dugin bashed America and American policies, and when he used a âpatrioticâ tone. Given the Russian imperial legacy which is said to have resurrected recently in Russia, it can be said that Duginâs ideas will most likely appeal to many people in the years to come.
2) In the Evrazia.org (Duginâs website), I have read an interview given by Mehmet Perincek in which he was asked questions about the Ergenekon operation. Given his fatherâs involvement, Mehmet, not surprisingly, downplayed the operation and ridiculed it. He said that the real patriots are being tried, and eventually they will be exonerated. He also said that there is need for a revolution in Turkey based on the ideas of Ataturk.
The fact that this interview was conducted by Duginâs followers can be important in regards to the alleged ties between Dogu Perincek and Aleksandr Dugin.
3) Anti-Americanism and Anti-EUism of Ergenekon and its link to Eurasianism should be thought of together.
RUSSIAN HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP FACES BOGUS CHARGES OF EXTREMISM
Krasnodar Prosecutors Cite as Evidence a Cold War Hoax
Bigotry Monitor-UCSJâs weekly newsletter, Volume 9, Number 35, September 18, 2009
Vadim Karastelyov and his wife Tamara have long advocated inter-ethnic tolerance in Russiaâs ethnically diverse, deeply conflicted Krasnodar Region. At one time the couple served as monitors for UCSJ and the Moscow Helsinki Group under a European Commission project. They have also worked with troubled youths in their town, and they have been characterized as exactly the kind of warm-hearted and wise mentors that any youth would benefit from having in his/her life. They earned the ire of local officials when they spoke up on behalf of the beleaguered Meskhetian Turk minority who faced such intense persecution at the hands of the regional government that they were eventually given mass refugee status in the United States.
In a statement protesting the Karastelyovsâ prosecution, UCSJ recalled that this is not the first time that the Karastelyovs faced official persecution: âEarlier this decade, prosecutors brought extremism charges against the organization that they then headed, which had the decidedly non-threatening name, âThe School for Peace.â The local government's action led to that organization being disbanded. We fear that if that is allowed to happen again, it will have negative consequences not just in Novorossiysk, but could also spread into a more widespread attack onthe NGO sector in Russia.â
This time Karastelyovs may be in serious trouble. âNovorossiysk prosecutors have embraced a fictitious CIA document to justify their case to close a small human rights group on extremism charges,â âThe St. Petersburg Timesâ reported on September 15. Prosecutors have asked a Novorossiysk court to outlaw the Committee for Human Rights as âextremistâ because one of its supporters held up a poster reading âFreedom isnât granted, itâs takenâ at an April 4 rally, Vadim Karastelyov told the newspaper.
The slogan was declared âextremistâ by two linguistic experts, one a historian and the other a child psychologist, who are cited in the prosecutorsâ lawsuit.
The historian, Vladimir Rybnikov, identified as an associate professor at the Gelendzhik branch of Kuban State University, wrote in his findings for the court that Vadim Karastelyov was âserving the interests of those who want to shatter the socio-political order of modern Russia.â Rybnikov contended that the slogan was in line with the Dulles Plan, the central document of a conspiracy theory under which CIA chief Allen Dulles in the 1950s wanted to destroy the Soviet Union by secretly corrupting its cultural heritage and moral values. According to research by âThe St. Petersburg Times,â the text of the plan, which has been cited by Russian nationalists such as Vladimir Zhirinovsky, is widely believed to have originated in the 1971 novel âThe Eternal Callâ by Anatoly Ivanov, and it was first attributed to Dulles in 1993 by a Russian Orthodox leader.
The other Novorossiysk court expert, Svetlana Guzeva--identified as the head of the Dialogue Center, âa municipal body providing psychological, educational, and medical support for childrenâ--said in her findings that the slogan âcan be understoodâ by teenagers to be âan invitation to actively oppose the activities of state bodies.â
The April 4 rally where the slogan was used sought to call attention to the illegality of a Krasnodar Region law introducing a curfew for minors, Vadim Karastelyov told âThe St. Petersburg Times.â The local law was illegal for nine months, until a federal law was passed in May, he explained.
His group, which is comprised of just two members, Vadim and Tamara Karastelyov, was registered by local authorities in 2001.
A spokeswoman for the Novorossiysk Prosecutorâs Office referred requests for comment to the Regional Prosecutorâs Office, the newspaper noted, and the spokesman for that office refused to comment, saying the case was ongoing. An inquiry submitted by fax to the Oktyabrsky District Court, where the lawsuit was filed, went unanswered on September 11.
Filing the lawsuit, prosecutors sent three warnings to the group in May, accusing it of provoking minors to anti-social behavior, a phrase used by prosecutors to describe extremist activity, Karastelyov told âThe Times.â The warnings have not come into force because the group is appealing them in court, he added.
Rybnikovâs findings were dated May 29. On September 11, a spokeswoman at the Gelendzhik branch of Kuban State University said Rybnikov no longer worked there, the newspaper noted. Rybnikov did not reply to an e-mailed request for comment. Nor did Guzeva respond to a request for comment left with a spokeswoman at her office.
âCourt rulings on what constitute extremist materials came under fire after they were compiled into a vague and controversial list by the Justice Ministry last month,â âThe St. Petersburg Timesâ pointed out.
Besides UCSJ, protesters on the Karastelyovs behalf have included the Moscow Helsinki Group, Memorial, the International Youth Human Rights Movement, the Sova Center, and the Sakharov Center.
Ukraine Debates the Russian Threat
By: Taras Kuzio
Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 6 Issue: 171, September 18, 2009
The poor state of Ukrainian-Russian relations, as vividly noted in Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's August letter to President Viktor Yushchenko, the expulsion of two Russian spies from Ukraine and Russia's newly adopted law giving its military the right to intervene abroad is intensifying the debate in Ukraine over the Russian threat. On September 18 three journalists from the Rossiya channel were banned for five years from entering Ukraine for conducting "falsified information propaganda against Ukraine" (www.pravda.com.ua, September 18). Earlier, Medvedev told the Valdai Club that his letter had fulfilled its purpose (Ukrayinska Pravda, September 15).
Acting Foreign Minister Yuriy Kostenko explained that the expulsion of the two spies was seen by Moscow as an "aggressive attack against Russia, and a provocation" (Ukrayinsky Tyzhden, August 28-September 3). Russia did not attempt to understand Ukraine's argument that the spies were acting in a manner "contrary to their diplomatic status."
Medvedev's staunch and unprecedented criticism of Ukrainian domestic and foreign policies was worsened by the fact that two of the three leading presidential candidates -Party of Regions leader Viktor Yanukovych and Front for Change leader Arseniy Yatseniuk- supported the Russian side. On August 26 Yanukovych told a phone-in to Segodnya: "Never before have we had such unpleasant relations with Russia as at present."
Yanukovych promised that relations would improve if he is elected. Such promises echo the 1994 presidential elections when Leonid Kuchma claimed that he -rather than the incumbent Leonid Kravchuk- would be in a position to improve such relations. Both Kuchma and Yanukovych failed to see the deeper issue involved; namely, Moscow's "refusal to recognize the existence of the Ukrainian nation," explained Volodymyr Horbulin, the former National Security and Defense Council (NRBO) Secretary and the security expert Valentyn Badrak (Zerkalo Nedeli, September 12-18). "In the last 18 years since the disintegration of the USSR the Kremlin elite has not come to terms with the existence of an independent Ukraine,' as another Ukrainian newspaper noted (Ukrayinsky Tyzhden, August 28-September 3).
These experts suggested that the situation in Ukraine resembled Austria in the 1930's before its anschluss with Germany (Ukrayinsky Tyzhden, August 28-September 3). Various political experts provided pessimistic answers as to why they did not believe that the quarreling Ukrainian elites could mobilize Ukrainians against a foreign aggressor.
Russia is held back from direct military intervention in Ukraine, Ukrainian experts believe, due to two factors. Firstly, it would destroy any hope of CIS integration. Secondly, "a war with Ukraine could destroy Russia as a state" (Ukrayinsky Tyzhden, August 28-September 3). If Russia successfully took the Crimea, "Moscow would forever lose Ukraine," Horbulin and Badrak asserted (Zerkalo Nedeli, September 12).
Although any Russian invasion into Eastern Ukraine or the Crimea might at first be successful, it would eventually be met by fierce resistance from guerrilla and loyal Ukrainian units. Interestingly, no Ukrainian experts believe that Russian aggression would be prevented by Moscow taking Western responses into consideration; this itself reflects the E.U. and NATO's ineffectual response to the Russian invasion of Georgia.
Anatoliy Grytsenko, the former Ukrainian Defense Minister and the head of the parliamentary committee on defense and national security has advised the military to develop additional spetsnaz units capable of taking conflict deep into enemy territory (Profil, August 20). Horbulin, the director of the National Institute on the Problems of International Security, affiliated to the NRBO, and Badrak, a senior expert at the Kyiv think tank the Center for Research into the Army, Conversion and Disarmament, advised the NRBO to relocate spetsnaz units Special Forces, Security Service (SBU) and interior ministry units to southern and eastern Ukraine. Grytsenko also warned the E.U. and NATO to not continue to ignore the Russian threat, as any conflict in Ukraine might risk damaging the gas pipelines crossing Ukraine. Europe could not stand aside from such a conflict, as it could severely undermine European energy security.
Critical, but diplomatic, responses to Medvedev were given by Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Tymoshenko, who is running second in the polls and is likely to face Yanukovych in the second round of the presidential election, has adopted a pragmatic nationalist position that has permitted her to court western and central Ukrainian voters while continuing a dialogue on energy and economic issues with Russia. Yushchenko, in contrast, has moved towards a more nationalistic position that has narrowed his support to only Galicia, giving him just 3 percent in opinion polls -making him the sixth most "popular" candidate.
Horbulin and Badrak concluded that following the 2008 Georgian-Russian war "international law" no longer works in dealing with Russia. Moscow wants to alter "the Ukrainian foreign policy trajectory, split the country and annex portions of its territory and indefinitely extend the basing of the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol. Russia seeks a âpolitically loyal, pro-Russian Ukraine'" (Ukrayinsky Tyzhden, August 28-September 3). In the January 2010 elections, Moscow also wants to see the election of a "Kremlin vassal who would lead the country as a Little Russia" (Zerkalo Nedeli, September 12).
Two conclusions can be drawn from this discussion. Firstly, Ukraine is being given an impossible task by western E.U. and NATO members: to pursue good relations with Russia at a time when it seeks to undermine Ukraine's sovereignty and assassinate its pro-Western leaders (Ukrainian investigators reached the conclusion earlier this month that the Russian authorities were behind Yushchenko's 2004 poisoning). Moreover, Ukrainian-Russian relations might deteriorate further in the next eight years as the deadline approaches for Russia to withdraw the Black Sea Fleet from Sevastopol.
The recent adoption of the Russian law on military intervention abroad provides for "the ability for a direct military threat from the Black Sea Fleet" (Zerkalo Nedeli, September 12). Horbulin and Badrak advised the SBU to ensure "control over extremist and radically oriented Ukrainian groups in the south and southeast of the country" (Zerkalo Nedeli, September 12).
Secondly, the West's reputation is at stake in dealing with countries such as Iran and North Korea. Ukraine gave up the third largest nuclear weapons stockpile in 1994-1996 in return for "security assurances" from the five nuclear powers, one of whom -Russia- constitutes its main threat. In 2003, less than a decade after the "Budapest Memorandum," Russia sought to annex the Tuzla Island off the Crimean coast.
As Horbulin and Badrak argued, the nuclear powers are "de facto demonstrating a rejection of their responsibilities" and "those who are not speaking of a repetition of Munich in 1938 today in Europe and Ukraine are only ignoring the facts' (Zerkalo Nedeli, September 12-18). If Tehran interprets Western policy towards Kyiv as weak, then it is less likely to halt its nuclear weapon ambitions.
Russiaâs Trajectory Reflects âShock of Lossâ of Stalinist Empire, Moscow Analyst Says
By: Paul Goble
Window on Eurasia, September 18, 2009
Vienna, September 18 â" Vladimir Putin was wrong to say that âthe greatest geopolitical catastrophe from Russiaâs point of view was the collapse of the USSR,â the Levada Centerâs Aleksey Levinson argues. In fact, it was the falling away âof the entire Stalinist empire,â one that embraced the non-Russian republics, the socialist bloc, and part of the third world
âThis was a utopia realized as an empire,â Levinson argues in an essay posted online today, âand an empire realized as a utopia.â And âthe shock of [its] lossâ many Russians feel and their sense of being âdefenselessâ against the rest of the world, he says, explains both their search for a new utopia and their political configurations (www.politcom.ru/8824.html).
The Gorbachevian elite, the Levada Center analyst suggests, âattempted to realize a utopia of openness, while the early Yeltsin one pursued one of encapsulation and paralysis.â And that in turn opened the way to âthe current form of utopia [in Russia] â" [one based on] a neurotic-aggressive expression of resentment.â
This latest utopia is being used by the new elite âwhich is carrying out a policy of the symbolic punishment of former colonies,â an attempt, Levinson suggests, âto realize now an anti-empire as an anti-utopia.â But that is far from the only thing that is going on as a result of this shock of loss.
âLeft in a position of one-on-one with the rest of the world, Russia is at the same time living through the phantom of the imagined reconstruction of t
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