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Bulletin 4:34 (2010)

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  • Andreas Umland
    THE RUSSIAN NATIONALISM BULLETIN A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs Vol. 4, No. 34(115), 17 October 2010 Compilers: Scott Littlefield & Andreas Umland I
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 17, 2010
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      A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs
      Vol. 4, No. 34(115), 17 October 2010
      Compilers: Scott Littlefield & Andreas Umland

      I NEWS: 1 - 15 October 2010

      [NOTE: When viewing an RNB issue in the Messages archive of the homepage and the end of the text is truncated, scroll to the end of the message and click "Expand Messages." Only then, the whole text of the - otherwise truncated - issue will appear.]

      I NEWS: 1 - 15 October 2010

      Patriarch Kirill believes Russia will become rich country: He believes religiosity is a condition of modern civilization survival
      Interfax-Religion, October 4, 2010

      Kaliningrad, October 4, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia hopes Russians' welfare will grow.
      "May the Lord help us to grow from power to power, to develop materially, to become richer - these tasks are rather simple," the Patriarch said on Sunday at a reception given by the Kaliningrad Diocesan Administration.
      According to him, these tasks seem difficult to those "who don't understand how rich our country is and how easy is to be rich in Russia."
      "Certainly, we will be rich and we will develop as far as an outer side of our life is concerned. But may the Lord make us preserve the most important thing - our inner life and improve it," the Primate said.
      He expressed concerns with "permanent fight" that is taking place in Europe when "falsely interpreted freedom without moral responsibility becomes a prevailing idea which subordinates religious and spiritual life of people."
      "We should keep our faith as I hope our close neighbors will keep the Christian faith too in order to remain a nation and never become just population," Patriarch Kirill stressed.
      According to him, religiosity today is "one of the conditions of modern civilization survival and the sooner people understand it - the better."


      Orthodox youth of Moscow launched real cocks in rows of gay picket participants
      Interfax-Religion, October 4, 2010

      Moscow, October 4, Interfax - Orthodox youth from the Georgiyevtsy movement in protest against gay picket near the office of Swiss Airlines in Moscow launched real roosters in rows of action participants.
      "Today representatives of sexual minorities don't strive for any rights, they just want to attract public attention one more time, but their actions lack fantasy and we decided to bring them truly blusterous and lively cocks," the movement coordinator Igor Mangusov was quoted as commenting idea of the performance by the press service of the synodal Youth Department last Friday.
      The first action coordinated with authorities and organized by gay-activist Nikolay Alexeyev, who tries to hold a gay pride in the capital every year, took place on Friday near Swiss Airlines office in Moscow as Alexeyev has claims to the company. The action aimed at boycotting the company.


      September 2010. Monthly Summary
      SOVA Center, October 4, 2010

      In September 2010, one was dead and at least 14 people were injured in racist and neo-Nazi attacks (in September 2009, 9 people were dead and 36 injured). In all, from the beginning of 2010, 23 people in Russia were dead and at least 241 injured in such attacks.
      In September, incidents of violence were recorded in Moscow region (1 dead, 7 injured), Rostov-on-Don (at least 5 injured), and the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic (2 injured). In all, from the beginning of the year incidents of violence have been recorded in 39 of Russian regions.
      Still, Moscow and the region (11 dead, 94 injured), St. Petersburg (1 dead, 35 injured) and Leningrad region, and Nizhny Novgorod (2 dead, 14 injured) face the highest level of violence. The number of victims in other regions is no more than 10.
      We would remind you that this statistics does not include victims of mass fights or incidents happened in the regions of the Northern Caucasus.
      After the surge of persecution for racist violence in August 2010 when 13 guilty verdicts had been issued, only one trial ended with guilty verdict in September. This was the case of two policemen from Kaluga who had beaten two people from Central Asia on racist grounds. During the proceedings on assault and battery of a citizen of India in Arkhangelsk reconciliation of the parties was reached.
      In all, from the beginning of the year, 63 guilty verdicts have been issued for racist violence. 217 people were convicted, 76 of them escaped punishment on different grounds or received suspended sentences without any supplementary sanctions.
      Two guilty verdicts were issued against propagandists of racism and xenophobia; in Chelyabinsk region Alexander Lozovsky received suspended sentence for creating an extremist organization and hate propaganda (articles 282-1 and 282) and in Krasnodar Territory an activist of the Russian National Unity (RNE) was fined a large sum.
      In all, from the beginning of the year 39 guilty verdicts have been issued under article 282, 5 under article 280, and 5 under both of the articles. 59 people were convicted, 27 of them received suspended sentences without any supplementary sanctions.
      In September 2010, two bans on extremist organizations were issued; on September 15 an Islamist group Takfir wal-Hijra was deemed extremist by the Supreme Court of Russia and on September 22 Nizhny Novgorod regional court banned the activity of National Socialist Workers Party of Russia.
      The federal lists of extremist materials and organizations were not updated in September 2010.
      In the field of inappropriate enforcement of anti-extremist legislation persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses and certain Muslim groups is still the main trend.
      Two court rulings of September seem to be symbolic.
      On September 3, 2010 Khabarovsk regional court cancelled the scandalous decision of Komsomolsk-on-Amur court on closing access to several of most prominent Web resources not excepting the YouTube portal on the grounds that there could be found some of the materials included in the federal list as extremist ones.
      On September 7, 2010 the Supreme Court of the Republic of Dagestan turned down the request of the republican department of the Federal Supervision Agency for Information Technologies and Communications (`Roskomnadzor') on closing the `Chernovik' newspaper. The newspaper was nearly closed for publishing a series of problem essays on terrorism.


      Picket against plans to organize gay parade in Belgrade to be held in Moscow
      Interfax-Religion, October 7, 2010

      Moscow, October 7, Interfax - On Sunday, Orthodox young believers will voice their protest at the Serbian embassy in Moscow against the permission to hold the gay parade in Belgrade on that day.
      "Demonstrations and rallies of perverts with no other aim but public propaganda of impudence and "alternative morals" have become a customary symptom of the Western society disease," the picket organizers' statement reported Thursday to Interfax-Religion says.
      The statement notes that Belgrade has been so far one of the few European capitals "unaffected with this plague: any attempts to hold gay parades failed due to spontaneous protest of the whole Serbian community."
      "The government of President Tadic, however, seeking to join the European Community, believes that holding such pervert parades is an essential feature of the "civilized European society" and intends to walk the gay community along the streets of Belgrade by all means," the statement says.
      The opponents of the gay parade said that the average Serbian citizens brought up within traditional Orthodox ethics were not going to accept that - "indignant people ready to prevent such abominable indecency in the streets of the capital" come to Belgrade from across the country and Serbian territories of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
      The Moscow picket will be held under the slogans "Say No to Gay Parade" and "Russia and Serbia against Pervert Parades", "Belgrade is no Sodom" and "Belgrade and Moscow - Last Bastions on the Way of Gay Parades".


      Patriarch Kirill thanks Putin for recovery of Orthodox heritage and assistance in spiritual education of Russians
      Interfax-Religion, October 7, 2010

      Moscow, October 7, Interfax - Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin successfully meets the challenges faced by Russia, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill believes.
      "Assuming such heavy burden of responsibility which may seem unbearable to other people, you successfully tackle many complicated challenges faced by this country with your inherent skills and your ability in strategic thinking and critical assessment of the current situation," Patriarch's greeting address sent to Vladimir Putin on his birthday says.
      According to Patriarch, the period during which Vladimir Putting serves his country occupying the highest government offices is characterized with "strengthening the unity of the country, implementing many important projects aimed at enhancing the quality of life," Patriarch's press service reports Thursday.
      Patriarch Kirill emphasized that personal involvement and active support by Vladimir Putin had facilitated "good relations of trust" between the Church and the government. Patriarch expressed his appreciation of "full assistance rendered by the government to recover cultural heritage of Orthodox Russia and its contribution in spiritual education and development of citizens."
      Patriarch wished Vladimir Putin and his family "spiritual and physical strength, courage, well-being and abiding help of God" in his responsible service for the benefit of Russia and its citizens.


      Russia: Majority of parents opt out of religious education at school
      Ekho Moskvy, BBC Monitoring, October 8, 2010

      Moscow, 8 October: The majority of parents in Russian schools which conducted an experiment for studying the fundamentals of religious culture have opted out of religious education studies for their children in favour of secular ethics studies. Ekho Moskvy radio has obtained a copy of a report on the experiment which was conducted during the last school year.
      Parents in different regions made markedly different choices. On the whole, less than one-third of school students studied the fundamentals of Orthodox Christianity in Russia. In Stavropol, 70 per cent of students study Orthodox Christian culture. The figure for Chechnya is less than 0.5 per cent. Almost everyone in Chechnya subscribed to courses on the fundamentals of Islamic culture, with hardly anyone choosing secular ethics courses. In another region of the North Caucasus, Karachay-Cherkessia, the total number of those attending Islamic culture lessons was less than the combined number of those who chose other religious culture studies. The situation in Siberia is similar to that in Karachay-Cherkessia. In Siberia most wanted to study secular ethics, then world faiths and then Orthodox Christianity.
      In central Russia, more than one-half chose Orthodox Christianity. The figure was two-thirds for Kostroma and slightly less in Tver Region. It is noteworthy that specific religious customs and traditions did not interest school students in Penza. One-third of them wanted to know about all faiths in our country. The rest opted for courses on human values in general.
      Nevertheless, the poll shows that the majority of parents welcomed the teaching of fundamentals of faith at school.

      Moscow atheists urge to deprive Russian Church of buildings transferred by Luzhkov
      Interfax-Religion, October 8, 2010
      Moscow, October 8, Interfax - The Moscow Atheistic Society intends to ask city prosecutor to check the capital government to see if they observed the Constitution stating that religion is separated from the state.
      "We have written a draft letter to the Prosecutor's Office where we accurately listed all buildings transferred to the Russian Church, as we believe, illegally. I think that these buildings should be taken back from the Church, returned to people and those who are guilty should be punished," the Society chairman Alexander Nikonov said at a press conference in Moscow.
      According to him, under Luzhkov's "reign" his government transferred to the Church significant pieces of Moscow property and gave the Church numerous privileges, which contradicts the Constitution and other legislative acts and inflicted substantial losses to Moscow budget."
      "Each church should have a cash register that with its merry buzzing will remind parishioners that they still live in a state, not in the church," Nikonov said meaning that thus it is possible to control sums of church donations.
      He believes "the quality of services provided by the ROC is lowest of the low," nevertheless Nikonov being "not indifferent citizen" hopes to improve "the quality of church services" and develop competitiveness of the Russian Church with other religious organizations.
      The Atheistic Society Chairman regrets there are few atheists united in organizations. "We are fewer than homosexuals. They are more consolidated," he said.


      Council of Muftis demand explanation for blocking access to Moscow Cathedral Mosque
      Interfax-Religion, October 11, 2010

      Moscow, October 11, Interfax - The Russian Council of Muftis intends to file a claim with the Moscow prosecutor's office on Monday requesting a probe into the blocking of access to Moscow Cathedral Mosque by the OMON special task police, the Council's press secretary Gulnur Gaziyeva told Interfax-Religion.
      On Friday, the OMON special task police blocked all major roads leading to the mosque, pushing worshippers on to tramlines, the Council of Muftis reported on its website. Worshippers, who lost access to their usual prayer spaces on the sidewalks near the mosque, had to go on to the part of the street intended for transport.
      Muslims started expressing their dissatisfaction with the situation, which, according to Gaziyeva, could have potentially led to riots.
      "It was a dangerous situation when a crowd came for the Friday prayer and saw police cordons in their way," Gaziyeva said.
      The riots were prevented with help from imams and the prayers proceeded calmly. The meeting participants also collected signatures in support of the construction of a mosque in the Moscow district of Tekstilschiki.
      "The cordons were removed after the prayer and the police and the administration of the sports palace did not make any apologies. The Muslims who come to Cathedral Mosque said they are confident that they will not only receive explanations, but will not be faced with such violations in the future," the Council of Muftis said.
      The Moscow police declined to comment on the police actions.
      Zhanna Ozhimina, press officer for the Moscow OMON special task police, told Interfax that some twenty OMON policemen were on duty near the mosque. "The OMON policemen were in reserve," she said.
      Ozhimina said security in the mosque area was ensured by officials from the interior affairs department of the Moscow Central Administrative District.
      In the meantime, it was reported last month that some 55,000 Muslims had come to Cathedral Mosque on September 9 to celebrate Uraza-Bairam, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
      Worshippers then flooded the streets leading to the mosque, placing down carpets they had brought from home, an Interfax correspondent reported. The sermon and prayer by Council of Muftis head Ravil Gainutdin was broadcast via loudspeakers installed inside the mosque.


      Russia must overcome lag in economic development to become great power - poll
      Interfax, October 12, 2010

      Moscow, 12 October: The level of Russians' prosperity must increase and the power of the Armed Forces must get stronger so that Russia can be considered a great power, Russians polled on 14-15 August by VTsIOM (All-Russia Public Opinion Research Centre) sociologists believe.
      Answering a question as to what Russia is lacking in order to reach the status of a great power, a third of respondents (31 per cent) said that a higher level of prosperity for citizens is necessary.
      Twenty-six per cent (against 35 per cent in 2008) advocated the creation of powerful Armed Forces and 22 per cent (18 per cent) the development of science and high technologies.
      One in 10 respondents (10 per cent) point to the need to revive national spirit, 9 per cent to the observance of democratic norms; 7 per cent to receiving control over the territories of the former USSR. A further 7 per cent believe that Russia will be a great power if it becomes a world centre of influence, capable of settling international conflicts.
      Those who believe that Russia needs to become the leading state in the energy sphere or a civilizational bridge between Europe and Asia (4 per cent each) are in the minority.
      Russians believe that main obstacle on the path to achieving the status of a great power is the lag behind leading countries in economic development. This factor has increased its role in the eyes of those surveyed in the last two years - from 44 to 49 per cent.
      The lack of national unity (17 per cent), the instability of the political situation (15 per cent), opposition by Western countries and Russians' humanity (14 per cent each), the lag behind leading countries in the level of democracy (13 per cent) and international conflicts (10 per cent) are mentioned considerably less frequently.
      In the opinion of those polled, territorial and climatic factors have the least significance (5 per cent each).
      As before, Russians consider the USA the main world power (61 per cent against 55 per cent in 2008). China is in second place (32 per cent). Next there are: Japan (23 per cent), Germany (20 per cent), the UK (18 per cent) and other European countries (16 per cent).

      New Russian human rights adviser aims to 'de-Stalinize' social consciousness
      Interfax, October 12, 2010

      Moscow, 12 October: The immediate tasks of the human rights council under the Russian president will be the de-Stalinization of social consciousness, as well as judicial and police reform, the new chairman of the Council under the Russian president for Promoting the Development of the Institutions of Civil Society and Human Rights, Mikhail Fedotov, has told Interfax on Tuesday (12 October).
      "There are three priority issues: the de-Stalinization of social consciousness, judicial and police reform, as well as protecting the rights of children and the family," Fedotov stressed.
      He said that practically all the material on these problems "has largely been prepared". "I hope and expect that it will be presented to the president by the end of the year," Fedotov added.
      He said that the first session of the Council was expected to take place next week.
      (Ekho Moskvy news agency quoted Fedotov as saying that his council "should become a collective adviser to the president". He said that his main task was "to be an intermediary between the Council and the president". He noted that the customary pattern had been replicated with his appointment, as he, a lawyer by profession, followed on from Ella Pamfilova, "a major public and political figure and human rights activist", just as lawyer Vladimir Kartashkin took over from Sergey Kovalev, a human rights activist, as head of the then Human Rights Commission under the president. He said that the Council should "continue the traditions which were laid down by its previous heads".)

      Russia to spend $26 million on patriotic propaganda - paper
      RIA Novosti, October 12, 2010

      MOSCOW, October 12 (RIA Novosti)-The Russian government will invest 777 million rubles ($26 mln) in propagating patriotism in the next 15 years in line with a state program aimed at increasing patriotic consciousness, a Russian business daily said on Tuesday.
      As the Culture Ministry and Youth Federal Agency are responsible for publishing patriotic books and promoting museums, Russian law enforcement bodies will also contribute to boosting patriotism, Vedomosti daily said.
      Russia's Federal Drug Control Service will receive 4 million rubles (about $133,000) for promoting an anti-drug campaign among the youth, Vedomosti said
      The federal penitentiary service will also create a museum of the Russian penitentiary system. Young service workers will become familiar with both positive and negative cases in history about prisons and corrective labor camps, Vedomosti cited the spokesman of the federal penitentiary service as saying.
      In May, the Russian Communications Ministry asked the government to allocate 500 million rubles (about $16 million) for a $24-million project to produce computer games aimed at boosting patriotism among the youth and promoting Moscow's vision of the "historic truth."
      However, Russian presidential aide Arkady Dvorkovich then told Vedomosti though the project was interesting, he was not sure whether it needed government support.
      The Kremlin views encouraging patriotism and preventing attempts to distort history, especially about World War Two, as a key element in its efforts to consolidate the nation.

      There's no trace of mass Muslim unrests in Moscow - source: According to him, blocking of usual road to mosque outraged only several elderly men
      Interfax-Religion, October 12, 2010

      Moscow, October 12, Interfax - Rumors about possible mass unrests of Moscow Muslims unhappy with blocked road to the Cathedral Mosque are exaggerated, a source in Russia's Mufti Council told an Interfax-Religion correspondent.
      "The facts that Muslims had to go in roundabout way because of the parking set on their usual way outraged only several elderly men, all other people quietly followed the roundabout way," the interviewee of the agency said.
      As was reported, the Mufti Council blamed the Special Police Force as according to reports on the Council's website, the police detachments blocked all usual ways to the mosque and pushed believers aside to street railways.
      Meanwhile, according to the source, "there was no large-scale conflict at all and the incident doesn't deserve attention even of city authorities leaving alone the federal ones."
      Analytics well-informed on the situation with the Moscow Cathedral mosque point out to "apparently planned character" of the publication on Muslim unrests posted on the Mufti Council website.
      "First of all, there a dispute developing between Moscow muftis and the Olympiysky sport complex concerning a land lot where the Mufti Council wants to set up a modern prayer room and Olympiysky plans to organize a parking and it's probable that the publication about alleged unrests had an objective to increase pressure on Moscow authorities," one of the experts who did not want to be identifies told the correspondent.
      He believes the other reason for "exaggerating tensions" is the Mufti Council's wish to build a mosque in Tekstilschiki in spite of the local residents' protests and prefecture's decision to meet the request of the opposing residents.
      The expert believes that this version is also backed up with the phrase "in the Mufti Council report saying that believers who came to prayer in the Cathedral Mosque started collecting signatures for building mosque in Tekstilschiki."
      "All these things suggest certain premeditation in the Mufti Council publication. However they haven't taken into account that this light pressure on authorities will be used in connection with elections planned for Sunday," the interviewee of the agency said.
      He believes it is noteworthy that "the news was spread by oppositional media early in the morning" while Islamic net resources that use to publish reports on prosecutions against Muslims immediately did not refer to the events mentioned by the Mufti Council the whole day through. The expert believes it "proves that "unrests" were just invented."


      Russian govt will help promote interfaith dialogue - Medvedev
      Interfax-Religion, October 12, 2010

      Moscow, October 12, Interfax - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said he supports steps to promote strong interfaith dialogue, including in the North Caucasus.
      "The state will assist this process in every way. Naturally, it will not interfere in religious work, but will create all of the necessary conditions enabling people of any faith to worship freely," Medvedev said at a news conference after talks with German President Christian Wulff in Moscow on Tuesday.
      "Like any other country, our country has encountered acts of religious extremism using pseudo-religious equilibristics to achieve political goals," the Russian president said.
      "We cannot stay indifferent to it, and we have been closely watching all of the processes in this sphere. The situation in the North Caucasus certainly poses the greatest problem for us," he said.
      "Due to various reasons, contradictions emerged in the North Caucasus at a certain moment. Various methods were used to appease the sides and to restore normal interfaith dialogue," Medvedev said.
      Both Muslims and Christians live in the North Caucasus, the president said.
      "Naturally, their dialogue should be normal and productive, especially as representatives of different confessions have lived side-by-side for centuries and have achieved very good results," he said.


      Russian Jews actively return to Russia from Germany where they emigrated in 1990s - rabbi
      Interfax-Religion, October 13, 2010

      Moscow, October 13, Interfax - Today Jews actively return from Germany to Russia, the country they left in 1990s, Russia's chief rabbi Berel Lazar said on Wednesday at his meeting with German President Christian Wulff.
      "Today Jews who earlier left Russia for Germany have a tendency to return. It proves that religious life is dynamically develops in the country," the rabbi was cited by his press service as saying.
      Lazar notes that many positive changes in the field of religion are taking place in Russia today, state authorities at the highest level back up development of religious communities and help interreligious dialogue.
      The rabbi paid attention to the fact that such comfortable climate is created in Russia not only for the Jewish community, but for representatives of all religions. The Interreligious Council of Russia can be a model of positive co-existence among religious communities as it is actively supported by Patriarch Kirill and leaders of all traditional religions of the country.



      Why does Moscow care about Bandera? The 1945 victory became a new public religion
      By Andrii OKARA, Moscow
      The Day (Kyiv), 22 June 2010

      In Russia, the formula of "Ukrainian betrayal" - being disloyal to Moscow - boils down to three names: Mazepa, Petliura, and Bandera, almost like those good old slogans: Peace, Labor, May!, Orthodoxy, Autocracy and Nationality!, or Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite! All these names are functional necessities for the Russian historical myth, although they refer to absolute traitors rather than absolute foes. Mazepa appears to have betrayed the man who created the Russian empire (even though Mazepa's own contribution to its creation remains to be properly assessed). Petliura is also supposed to have betrayed the (a) enemies or (b) defenders of the Russian empire (these items remain to be ascertained). Bandera failed to appreciate the joy of living in the Soviet empire.
      There has appeared a new post-Soviet propaganda cliche approach to WW II. Kremlin ideologues now regard the Allied victory of 1945 not only as a major historic event - a victory won by tens of millions of Soviet nationals who fought and died for it and a feat performed by members of all the "brotherly peoples of the invincible Soviet Union" - but also as a basis for what is best described as a new public/civic religion. Remarkably, the spin doctors in question think nothing of using this semantic combination. In fact, some of them use "memory policy" (suffice it to recall Viktor Yushchenko's concept of the Holodomor, Armenian Genocide, and Holocaust as public religions).
      After WW II the [Soviet] state preferred to ignore war veterans. They were known as frontovik [literally, front-line soldier, an affectionate popular appellation that eventually became a semiformal one. - Ed.] and most were, generally speaking, young healthy individuals. As it was, Stalin's government canceled combat decoration bonuses back in the 1940s, and May 9 was no longer a red-letter day, what with several battle-hardened generals hauled in and executed by the NKVD, among them General Grigorii Kulik in 1950. Nikita Khrushchev tried to update the notion of Victory Day [still known and officially celebrated as The Day of Victory of the Soviet Union in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, albeit reasonably refuted by unbiased domestic and foreign historians as running counter to historical truth. - Ed.] by exposing and condemning Stalin's personality cult and making public the USSR's actual manpower losses during the war: 20 million (current updated death toll findings point to 26.5 million, at least).
      May 9 was reinstated as a red-letter day in 1965, precisely when the world public learned about the incredible military prowess [later made laughingstock] of Comrade Leonid Brezhnev while fighting the Nazis at Malaya Zemlya. As General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), Brezhnev tried to wage his policy with support from the masses, among them WW II veterans in the first place. Lots of books and movies were made about the war [strictly in accordance with Soviet propaganda, whereby Nazi Germany was destroyed by the Soviet Union, single-handedly, with the Allies largely throwing monkey wrenches into the works. - Ed.], along with heartwarming veterans' songs (among them the notorious Malaya Zemlya), and reminiscences broadcast live, producing the presence effect. In a word, the Second World War was fed to the Soviet masses as a Soviet version thereof, meant to be perceived emotionally rather than logically, let alone knowingly, as a recent past, an ethic absolute.
      Sixty-five years later, this war is generally analyzed on a rational basis, as a component of an ideological structure. Naturally, in this context everyone is trying to take advantage of the Victory Jubilee to serve their own interests. What we have is another attempt to privatize this war: Once you recognize the Great Victory Day, back in 1945, you and your country are loyal to the Kremlin and its current policy.
      Cultural interpretations of WW II have become noticeably glamorous. Over the twenty years since the USSR's collapse, it is hard to mention a single motion picture that reflects past realities with a reasonable degree of objectivity, August 1944 being perhaps the only exception.
      This year's red-letter day [i.e., June 22, 1941, when Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union, known ever since in the post-Soviet countries as the beginning of the Great Patriotic War. - Ed.] will be celebrated in accordance with a special youth entertainment program, including Dima Bilan, other dubious singers with wartime songs, and a "uniting space bridge" involving the pro-Kremlin [rock bands] Nashi, Molodaya gvardiya, etc., and of course the anti-Bandera motion picture We're from the Future-2. The latter is complete with Russian cliches like St. George Order's ribbons and lines like "My grandfather's cause is now mine!" or "I thank my granddad for this victory!".
      This year's 65th anniversary of Victory Day was meant to lift the Kremlin to an [ideological] altitude no one else could reach, making the Medvedev-Putin regime flawless in the eyes of the international community. However, the big event was ignored by Barack Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy, Silvio Berlusconi, and Gordon Brown, lending the whole affair a marketplace show touch.
      I'm not versed in WW II history, so I will cautiously and gradually formulate my attitude to the OUN, UPA, Bandera, Shukhevych, Stetsko, Bulba-Borovets, Smersh, all those zagradotriad barrier troops [a.k.a. blocking units and anti-retreat forces deployed to cut down Red Army men retreating in the first months of the Third Reich's triumphant blitzkrieg on Soviet territory. - Ed.] or Viktor Suvorov's concept of Stalin as the aggressor. I'm in no position to offer the reader a detailed account of the Soviet-German confrontation or that of the insurgent movement.
      My family history has nothing to do with the UPA or [postwar anti-Soviet] guerrilla warfare in Western Ukraine, except that my grandfather, on his way home from Prague after the 1945 Victory Day, got in harm's way at the hand of people my relatives later described as Banderites, although I still don't know who they were. As it was, my granddad was aboard a train when it was attacked during the night, somewhere in western Ukraine. They wanted to throw him off the train, but my granddad was a tall hefty man (183 cm in height), so the scuffle ended with him throwing the attackers off the train. He returned home with a record of contusions sustained in the line of duty and he died in 1999.
      Therefore, it is easier for me to give you a breakdown of the current information-cognitive [sic] war being waged with respect to WW II.
      This new quasi-religion badly needs more than a main deity, Joseph Stalin (replaced in the current [Russian] propaganda with "the people of Russia, subsequently joined by other peoples of the USSR"), and the antihero-cum-Satan, Adolf Hitler. It needs its Judas, in this case Stepan Bandera. Interestingly, no one in Russia has given a hoot about him as a historic personality, save for historians specializing in WW II, but he came in handy as a political brand, as high treason incarnate.
      This brand is especially needed in the east of Ukraine, as a manifestation of loyalty to Russia in general and the Kremlin in particular. In fact, this is precisely what the Shot In The Back memorial of victims of Banderite atrocities in Simferopol is all about.
      I'm not going to answer questions, like "Whom did Bandera, being an Austro-Hungarian national with Polish citizenship, turn traitor to?", "Why did the populace of western Ukraine greet Red Army troops with bouquets in 1939 and then support the UPA guerillas fighting the Soviets until the mid-1950s?", "How many Banderites fought to liberate Central Russia from the Nazi aggressor and why are they hated so much there?", "Why did Bandera spend the better half of WW II in a Nazi concentration camp?". I won't answer any of these simply because an attempt to rationalize personality cult inevitably leads to the weakening of the faith, including a "public religion."
      Russia's current ideology badly needs Bandera and all the Banderite topics and myths because this greatly benefits Russian self-consciousness: now they can rightfully assume that Russia isn't just a participant in some geopolitical confrontation, but a warrior in a cosmic battle between Good and Evil - between God and Satan, if you will. In other words, this topic, originally on a small historical-political scope, suddenly appears on a worldwide, even galactic scale.
      The "truth" about Bandera and Banderites that the [Russian] media conveyed on the eve of the 65th anniversary of the "Victory Day" (which included TV series and talk shows) boils down to the following:
      (a) The Banderites mainly slaughtered their own men, peaceful western Ukrainians, rather than regular NKVD units;
      (b) The Banderites were collaborators; they never fought the Wehrmacht, only the Soviet army and Soviet partisans; Russians, Poles, and Jews were their sworn enemies;
      (c) NKVD details dressed as Banderites [who invaded Western Ukrainian villages, torturing and massacring the residents] is a myth created by the [Ukrainian] nationalists; the reverse was true, with Banderites posing as NKVD men and committing all these atrocities;
      (d) Stepan Bandera's personality cult was even greater than that of Joseph Stalin;
      (e) Viktor Yushchenko, Yulia Tymoshenko, and other Orange Revolution leaders are Bandera's direct inheritors.
      In fact, Bandera is often compared with Stalin, not only because of public attitude they attract (rather, to their propaganda brands), which splits the Ukrainian and other post-Soviet societies. The fact remains that the social conditions in the first half of the 20th century produced the phenomenon of a totalitarian state and its totalitarian leader.
      The biggest difference between Bandera, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Antonescu, and Pilsudski is that Bandera could only dream of building a totalitarian state, so no monuments to Hitler and Mussolini are erected (there were more than enough at the time), but those to Bandera are.
      It is also true, however, that a monument to Stalin was unveiled in Zaporizhia, not so long ago. The latter-day Stalinist cult coincided with the process of turning Ukraine into a Little Russia colony. No one in the Russian metropolis could have produced this scenario, with both President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin repeatedly stating that no achievements made under Stalin can refute Uncle Joe's bloodthirsty character. In Ukraine one can expect the Stalinist cult to flourish, considering that several years ago all those controversial monuments to Catherine II were unveiled.
      By and large, all these 20th-century totalitarian "apostles" are very much alike, and the pattern is the same: the Leader, being portrayed as a Superman, will bring back their country's past glory, assisted by an Uebermensch cohort, with them serving as construction material when building a happy future for one and all. The utmost important end justifies the means. Terror, whether brought to bear by the state or by guerrilla units (as was the case with western Ukraine) appears to be the most effective means of governance.
      One can figure out two polarized messages in the latter-day politicized interpretations of the Second World War - the Great Patriotic War, if you will - along with all those St. George combat decorations.
      The first one is ontological, addressing the younger generation, telling them to give vent to their emotions, to stop watching all that TV crap or enjoying virtual realities, for there are true values in this world, other than Internet, gadgets, ads, commercials, glamorous club get-togethers, and drugs.
      The second one has to do with spin doctors who use all these [Russian] patriotic cliches, including St. George's ribbons, to get the younger generation under control so their young and strong potential can be directed against the enemies and rivals of the powers that be. Back in 2005, these [Russian] patriotic sentiments served as an adequate response to the Orange threat. Any modern society is hard put to work out an objective view of recent history. There is the everlasting struggle of history, with ontological and spin doctors' interpretations of historical events trying to get the better of each other. Assuming that the past is being turned into major construction material these days, the logical question is, "Do such countries and peoples have a future?"


      A religious war is brewing in Russia
      By: Anton Razmakhnin, with brief interview of sociologist Aleksey Levinson
      Svobodnaya Pressa, September 23, 2010

      They are consciously aggravating the problem of building mosques in order to heat up the situation.
      In recent months new sore points have appeared in several regions of Russia at once. It is the construction of mosques, against which many local inhabitants are protesting, as are activists of Russian and Orthodox organizations. In September such actions took place in two places at a minimum - in Moscow and in the Komi Republic. Moreover, in regions where ethnic and religious problems have traditionally been acute, for example Stavropol, such conflicts (in particular, over construction of a mosque in Pyatigorsk) have been going on for several years now.
      In Moscow the protest action on 11 September against the construction of a mosque and medrasah in Kuzminki Rayon drew about 300 people, and some 800 put their signatures on a petition against the mosque.
      The action was organized by representatives of Orthodox public associations and the Russian Social Movement (ROD) together with activists of the rayon. In Syktyvkar, where about 70 people assembled on 19 September in Lesovod Rayon, the organizers were more radical nationalists, the Northern Frontier ("Rubezh Severa") group and others. The rally resulted in a petition to Russian Premier Vladimir Putin that the organizers plan to hand to him during his visit to Komi, which should take place in late September.
      It should be noted that in both cases the rallies were very small relative to the size of the populated points, but in addition to those who came to the rally there were quite a few people who shared the views of the protesters about building the mosque. The fears about the solidarity of the Muslim diasporas (above all the Azeris, Central Asians, and Chechens) were heated up further in September by the publication of photographs of Muslims at prayer in Moscow mosques for the Uraza-Bairam holiday. Considering that construction of the "problem" mosques in both Moscow and Syktyvkar has been planned for many years now, one must conclude that the aggravation of this problem at this particular time, in 2010, is to some extent occurring artificially.
      The Svobodnaya Pressa observer inquired of Aleksey Levinson, director of the department of socio-cultural studies of the Levada Centre, about how natural the conflicts over mosques in Russia are. The sociologist is sure that there is little basis for conflicts at this point, but escalation of the conflict might be dangerous for the country.
      (Razmakhnin) Is there a basis today for such tense conflicts over construction of mosques?
      (Levinson) At this point, as far as I see, there is no real tension here. The protest groups are small; construction of the mosques disturbs only the activists and residents of the neighbouring buildings.
      (Razmakhnin) In other words, does it come out that this is a specially activated conflict? In that case, what can it grow into?
      (Levinson) The people who decided to play the anti-Islamic card are taking a great risk. The situation with Islam is taking shape in such a way that after such protests, after such aggression in response to the construction of mosques, we may get not a war in the North Caucasus, but something much worse - a full-scale jihad in every city where there is such a conflict.
      (Razmakhnin) Why are you so sure that the Islamists will win?
      (Levinson) Because fundamentalist Islam, which is precisely the tendency that is activated today and will grow even stronger after the protests, is a very powerful organizing and cementing thing. They have all the signs of a young, active, militant religion. At this point there are few people in the world who have anything to juxtapose to it.
      (Razmakhnin) But say the Orthodox church today is also trying to bolster its social activism and build a militant wing. Maybe, will it become a worthy opponent of Islam?
      (Levinson) There are indeed such tendencies. But it seems to me that the mobilization potential of Christianity today is far weaker than Islam. And it is not just a matter of the RPTs (Russian Orthodox Church), but the Christian world as such. To begin a new crusade would be insanity - given the current state of Christian civilization, such a confrontation would be equivalent to a crowd of peasant men and women facing an organized army. No, contemporary Christianity would most likely lose such a war.
      (Razmakhnin) All the same, is there a chance to avoid such a defeat on a global scale?
      (Levinson) Of course there is. In my view, it could have a great impact if we used the tactics of soft assimilation of Islam, integrating it into the secular, ecumenical civilization. Such a course of events would make it possible to avoid an escalation of violence and new religious wars. To rise above religions and raise the Muslims to this level - that is our chance.
      (Razmakhnin) How probable is that?
      (Levinson) Unfortunately, at this point the world is moving towards confrontation. And Russia is no exception. I see that a confrontation is very probable, but we are unlikely to win it. But with the help of ecumenism we could achieve a good peace - at this point, however, that variant of the development of events is improbable.
      Valeriya Porokhova, specialist in Islam and translator of the Quran, is convinced that "people of low spiritual culture" from the Orthodox milieu should be accused of fanning the flames of conflict over the mosques. "Of course, the Holy One Himself, the Synod, and the hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church have a friendlier attitude towards Islam - after all, they are two traditional religions that have common interests and common challenges," the expert comments. "At the lower level, however, especially among the Orthodox activists of the laity, elementary envy of Islam is strong: why are there more of them? Why are they more united? This is what causes the tension - and after all, such a posture seriously threatens Russia's peace."
      At the same time, if we throw out the emotional component, the protesters' demands against construction of the mosques are not only lawful, but appropriate. In both Kuzminki and Syktyvkar it is not a question of prohibiting construction as such, but rather a real discussion of this issue with the inhabitants of the particular areas. "This question was not discussed at all; there were no public hearings. Everything is being done backwards," says Aleksey Kolegov of Northern Frontier. "Our government allows itself to be like feudal princes, but according to the law there should be local self-government." Similar demands - to take account of public opinion - were advanced in both Moscow and Syktyvkar.
      In other words, the problem that really threatens the peace in Russia is not about mosques as such, but rather the authoritarian adoption of city planning decisions, including very sensitive ones. No matter what decision is reached in the end, under the present system it will not have enough legitimacy to be accepted by the "losing" side in the conflict. This is the radical difference between the Russian fight against mosques and similar situations in the European countries. There if the matter reaches the point of a decision to prohibit or permit construction of mosques in the given region, this decision is made by democratically elected municipal authorities, and the degree of trust in this decision is far greater.
      However, if such referendums or municipal hearings were held in Moscow and Syktyvkar, victory might not go to either the Muslims or the Orthodox. In Moscow the decision "none of the above" would have a good chance because there are not that many religious people among the population of the megalopolis. And in Syktyvkar, the capital of the Komi people's national republic, it would be entirely possible for them to decide to give priority to local beliefs, which among the Finno-Ugric peoples are often more ancient and peaceful than the world religions.
      But this main question - about the participation of the community in decision-making - is not being raised by any of the key players. Instead of democratization practically all forces with any real power are pushing Russia towards a new civil - now already religious - war.

      Russian talk show discusses interethnic relations in the country
      Center TV , BBC Monitoring, September 29, 2010

      The 29 September edition of the "Matter of Principle" talk show on the Moscow city government-owned Centre TV discussed interethnic relations and crime committed on ethnic grounds in Russia.
      At the start of the programme, its regular presenter, the governing One Russia party's MP Konstantin Zatulin, offered the studio audience, a panel of experts and viewers to watch a report enumerating conflicts - some of which have resulted in deaths - between people of different ethnic groups in Russia. He called the subject of the programme "extremely acute, very painful for many people" and added that it was "impossible to avoid this discussion".
      Asked to comment on the current state of interethnic relations in Russia, the programme's first guest, a member of the Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee, Aslambek Aslakhanov, said: "As a psychologically normal person, I believe that it is extremely alarming and extremely important so that it should be considered more than once and in various formats. It is not normal that mass fights, which end in fatalities for some, severe injuries for others, are organized. And law-enforcement bodies should deal (with this), but I would like to say one thing. I am not always satisfied with the results of investigation. It is very difficult to be a Chechen in the Russian Federation. When law is violated somewhere, a Chechen is a priori guilty in advance, because he is a Chechen. Being a Chechen is an aggravating circumstance when a crime is investigated because during the two military campaigns all the law-enforcement system of the Russian Federation from every region went through Chechnya."
      The panel of experts, consisting of a member of the coordination council of the Russian Interior Ministry's public-order department, Sergey Dikiy; the leader of the Movement Against Illegal Immigration, Aleksandr Belov; the director of the Sova (Owl) centre for monitoring the situation with xenophobia and extremism in Russia, Aleksandr Verkhovskiy; and the head of the Caucasus division of the centre for civilization-wide and regional studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Enver Kisriyev, then discussed interethnic crime and prevention of it.
      The programme's second guest, the chairman of the committee for interregional relations and national policies of the city of Moscow, Mikhail Solomentsev, played down ethnic problems in Moscow. He said that "the situation in this regard is stable in Moscow" and added that only "about 5 per cent" of conflicts in Moscow were "based on aggressive xenophobia".
      The programme's host Zatulin, guest Solomentsev and the four members of the panel of experts then discussed plans to draft a "code of a resident of Moscow", which would contain rules of behaviour for people living in Moscow.
      The programme's third guest, the director of the institute of ethnology and anthropology, Academician Valeriy Tishkov, was invited to talk about interethnic relations from the scientific point of view. Tishkov said that "no biological grounds for people to hate one another or reject one another on the grounds of their racial or ethnic origin have been found", but he added that there were situations, for example, involving "access to power or resources" in which conflicts arose on the basis of ethnic origin.
      Later in the programme, Zatulin directly challenged the leader of the Movement Against Illegal Immigration, Aleksandr Belov, to explain whether the movement divided residents of Russia into categories. Belov said that at some stage conflicts started emerging between people who had come from one Russian region to another and mentioned "North Caucasus regions" in particular.
      To Zatulin's question whether Belov considered the North Caucasus to be a Russian region, Belov said: "I consider the North Caucasus to be the territory of the Russian Federation. However, events are unfolding in such a way that every day I believe in this less and less." Belov further said that "if the situation is such and develops further in the way that can currently be seen in Dagestan and Chechnya, then sooner or later Russia will lose these territories." He said that this was because "there is no main link" and explained that the presence of ethnic Russians on those territories was such a link. "If there are no Russians (there), then those territories will be lost altogether," Belov said.
      Zatulin then said that it was only possible to bring people back to the North Caucasus by gradual improvement of the situation in the region.
      One of the three guests, Senator Aslambek Aslakhanov, intervened at this stage and said: "I would like to say one thing. The overwhelming majority of peoples of the North Caucasus are simply predestined to be (part of) Russia. Residents now clearly understand that creating any kind of an independent state there is a utopia because neither Turkey, nor Iran, nor Iraq needs us. They have lots of their own problems.
      "For us to live in peace we must together do everything to ensure that Russia is a prosperous, flourishing, democratic state, where there is no division according to nationalities, faiths, the social situation and so on and so forth. And it is for the sake of my children that I shall do everything for it to flourish. And if we don't do this, we'll lose the North Caucasus. We have already lost South Caucasus."
      At the end of the programme, Zatulin asked the members of the panel and the guests to say what needs to be done to ensure that no conflicts emerge between members of different ethnic groups.
      Instead of answering the question, Dikiy provided an example from his career, by saying that when he was in charge of a unit in 1989 he appointed people of different ethnic groups as commanders of subunits and then there were no problems in the unit.
      Aleksandr Belov said that for residents of the North Caucasus there should be "propaganda that there has not been any genocide on the part of Russians, that you are also Russians after all, you can profess Islam, but you are like all the others and there is no difference and then there will be fewer conflicts".
      Kisrieyev said that "one should stop seeing in conflicts, a conflict between ethnic groups. All the serious problems, that is those that really have a painful effect on society, they have quite clear grounds which are far from ethnic origin."
      Verkhovskiy's answer was that "the state should not give bad examples" by way of "ethnic discrimination" such as police predominantly checking documents of members of certain ethnic groups.
      Tishkov said that "the perception of, support for and determination of Russian civil identity, our common loyalty and solidarity together with the preservation of all our diversity is a formula on which Russia has existed, exists and can exist at all".
      Solomentsev said that "to start with, serious documents should be adopted, ideological and directional, if you wish, serious documents with the involvement of scientists, which have already been done in Moscow".
      He added that this should be followed by work in the economic area by "developing backward regions", the personnel area by "mixing people within one country", "sending people from the Caucasus to Siberia, people from Siberia to other regions" and, finally, this involves "the repressive bodies, which should also work. Anyone who has committed a crime on ethnic grounds should be severely punished according to law".
      Aslakhanov's answer was: "You know, I like children very much. And for the sake of children we (must) stop looking for enemies, divide (people) into our own and strangers, understand that we are sailing in one boat, so that we are together, so that we jointly create an excellent future for our children and not watch how all national wealth is being plundered, taken away from our children and grandchildren and their plunging into debt."
      In conclusion, the programme's host, State Duma MP Konstantin Zatulin, said: "Attempts to divide (people) into our own and strangers, intolerance to traditions and customs of other nations threaten the existence of Russia as one state. Times are rarely worse than people. Look again at people, at the way they live, what they want, make them interested in a common goal and times will change for the better following people."

      Mosques in Moscow become a flash point as city's diversity swells
      By: Kathy Lally
      Washington Post, October 2, 2010

      IN MOSCOW On Sept. 11 this year, the day protesters were challenging the construction of a mosque two blocks from New York's World Trade Center site, residents of an old industrial neighborhood were on the march in Moscow.
      They, too, were opposing construction of a mosque.
      New mosques are so contentious here that none has been built in over a decade. This is a city with perhaps 2 million Muslims, unless you believe it's 500,000, out of a population of 14 million - or 10 million. There are only six mosques, but with one at the Iranian Embassy and two in one place, for Shia and Sunni, maybe there are only four.
      On this volatile issue in Russia today, every point of view arrives in the company of the opposite. If someone believes more mosques are needed to prevent the swelling numbers of Central Asia immigrants from going astray, someone else believes their construction will nurture terrorism.
      Into this treacherous landscape march the people of Tekstilshchiki, who live near the city limits where cotton mills long ago gave way to auto factories, with towering apartment buildings arriving over the past few years.
      Jeans-clad young people, track-suited middle-aged men and carrot-haired pensioners gathered Sept. 11 to defend a ribbon of grass the length of a city block. Volvo bulldozers digging cable lines have left ruts in the grass. Huge slabs of pre-cast reinforced concrete, the Soviet-era building blocks, lay in an untidy pile as if forgotten along with some unfinished five-year plan.
      "It's the only green place here," says Margarita Khetvani, 29, strolling as her 6-year-old son, Kevin - a Costner-inspired name - collects fallen chestnuts. "A mosque should be somewhere far away."
      Khetvani, who circulated a petition against the mosque, says she has Muslim neighbors who also oppose it. They don't want the traffic. They don't want the noise.
      "My son will have to listen to their shouts," she said, walking along the grass earlier this week and describing the call from minarets. "They'll be killing sheep here."
      Two days before the demonstration, Moscow Muslims set off for the Central Mosque, built in 1904, to observe the end of Ramadan. There were many hundreds - perhaps many thousands - and they made an astonishing sight, throngs as far as the eye could see stretching along Schepkina Street near the 1980 Olympic Hall, prostrate on the broad pavement in prayer, street car tracks covered with rugs, or strips of old wallpaper for those without.
      Moscow looked like an Islamic city, and the photos were all over the Internet. The anti-mosque demonstrators carried printouts with the words "Do we need this?"
      This exasperates the imam of the Central Mosque, Ildar Alyautdinov.
      "Let us build a mosque," he said. "It doesn't have to be there. Any place is fine with us. We need a mosque. We should have 10 at least." And yet, he says, city officials promise one location after another, and nothing ever works out.
      The Central Mosque was founded by Tatars, Muslims who have lived in Russia for centuries. That most Russian of all symbols, St. Basil's Cathedral, was built to commemorate their subjugation at the hand of Ivan the Terrible in the 1500s. Muscovites are used to the Tatars.
      They are not so used to the darker-skinned immigrants from Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and they fear the violence in Chechnya and Dagestan that has spilled over into Moscow - suicide bombers attacked the Moscow metro March 29.
      The photos of some many Muslims made the imam uneasy, too.
      "Such a crowd is not manageable," says Alyautdinov, a soft-spoken 32-year-old Tatar and native of Moscow. "We want this load off our shoulders."
      Many of the new immigrants are rural folk, he says. "We have lots and lots of people coming from a different world," he says. "We have to support them spiritually. We have to teach them, or we will lose them."
      That makes Roman Silantyev nervous. He is a professor of religious history and Orthodox believer who says such a large gathering of Muslims occurs only once a year, hardly justifying a new mosque. "At Christmas I have to spend two hours outside my church," he says.
      "People want to have guarantees that a new mosque will be a place of prayer and not a place for accumulating terrorists," he says. "Will every Muslim leader be able to give guarantees?"
      Guarantees? says Nikolai Mitrokhin, a researcher with the Research Center for East European Studies at the University of Bremen in Germany. Nothing happens at a Moscow mosque, he says, without the FSB, successor to the KGB, knowing about it.
      The Orthodox Church, which has 400 parish churches and 200 new ones on the drawing board in Moscow, agrees that more mosques are needed but says that Muslim leaders failed to discuss plans with local communities first.
      "I am absolutely sure there is enough land in the city to build new mosques," says Vsevolod Chaplin, head of the church's department of external relations. "And if we have more mosques, people won't have to stand in the street making other people nervous."

      A report on racism: Moscow continues to lead in the number of crimes motivated by xenophobia
      By: Mikhail Moshkin
      Vremya Novosti, October 4, 2010

      Moscow continues to hold the lead in the number of crimes motivated by xenophobia, racism and radical nationalism. This conclusion follows from a monthly report which was published late last week by the SOVA Center for Information and Analysis, which specializes in research on racism and xenophobia.
      "On September, one person was killed and at least 14 injured as a result of violent crime motivated by racism and neo-Nazism," said Aleksandr Verkhovsky, director of SOVA. "An incident which resulted in one person dead and seven injured took place in the capital."
      According to him, in September, inter-racial clashes were observed in Rostov-on-Don (five people were injured), and Yakutia (two people were injured).
      In total, since the beginning of the year, racially motivated attacks have been recorded in 39 regions of Russia, notes the SOVA report. While citing the previous months, human rights activists are again noting the "leading positions" of Moscow and the Moscow region in the number of crimes motivated by xenophobia, with 11 dead and 94 injured. St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region come in second place: one dead and 35 injured; and in third, Nizhny Novgorod, where two people died at the hands of extremists and 14 were injured.
      The authors of the report noted that the victims of mass fights and incidents which happened in the regions of the North Caucasus are not included in these tragic statistics. The main targets of xenophobic attacks continue to be natives of Central Asia and the Caucasus.
      The SOVA human rights activists note that in September, compared to August, the number of verdicts for hate crimes declined markedly. If the last month of the summer showed a sharp rise in legal persecution for hate crimes (13 sentences were issued), then in September, only one case ended with a guilty verdict in which two Kaluga policemen beat natives of Central Asia.
      "Another case of the beating of an Indian citizen in Arkhangelsk ended with reconciliation between the parties," noted the report. Moreover, in mid-September, an investigation on the case of a group of Nazi skinheads, "Lincoln 88," was completed in St. Petersburg and the case was transferred to court. Twenty-five members of that group are suspected of committing 12 hate crimes.
      The beginning of October was marked with the end of a loud trial in Tyumen. On Friday, the Tyumen Regional Court issued a verdict in the case of a group of neo-Nazis headed by 23-year-old Aleksandr Khodyrev. According to SOVA's human rights activists, nine of Khodyrev's 14 accomplices were minors. The court found the defendants guilty in committing attacks, as a result of which 14 people were injured (six of the victims sustained severe injuries) and two were killed. It is noted that the investigators were able to prove only 15 crimes committed by the group. As a result, Khodyrev was sentenced to 20 years in prison, and his accomplices got from five years in a juvenile correctional facility to 12 years in "an adult" high-security colony.

      Geopolitical commodity: Why does all talk about the "Russian world" begins with toasting Holy Rus' and ends with mourning Ukraine and Belarus
      By Andrei OKARA
      The Day (Kyiv), 5 October 2010

      Last summer in a southern Ukrainian city near the Sea of Azov, I took an active part in debates, friendly conversations, and roundtables on Kyivan Rus', the revival of Orthodoxy, and the prospects of the Russian World in present-day Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.
      In Ukraine, the latter subject is usually discussed by fanatics, th<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
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