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Bulletin 4:36 (2010)

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  • Andreas Umland
    THE RUSSIAN NATIONALISM BULLETIN A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs Vol. 4, No. 36(117), 5 November 2010 Compilers: Scott Littlefield & Andreas Umland I
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 5, 2010
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      THE RUSSIAN NATIONALISM BULLETIN
      A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs
      Vol. 4, No. 36(117), 5 November 2010
      Compilers: Scott Littlefield & Andreas Umland

      I NEWS: 15 - 31 October 2010
      II SURVEYS, ANALYSES, COMMENTS
      III ANNOTATIONS OF RECENT PUBLICATIONS

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


      I NEWS: 15 - 31 October 2010

      Russia should make its civilizational choice today, renowned Russian writer believes
      Interfax-Religion, October 19, 2010

      Moscow, October 19, Interfax - Problem of preserving national and religious identity of state-forming majority of Russia should be settled today, or it will be too late, renowned writer Mikhail Veller believes. "We should once and for all answer the question: are we for tolerance, multiculturalism and universal equality or are we for preserving our culture as it is?" he said in his interview to the Express-Gazeta paper. The writer further said that in case "we proclaim fidelity to current liberal democratic values, to much talked about tolerance, multiculturalism, universal equality and other xenophobia, then there is no question of mosques, or even pagan temples. As any person and any group of people has the equal right to build their churches and conduct their rites as any other."
      Thus, Veller believes, if there are more Muslims than Christians in a city and there are more mosques than Christian churches in it "it is nothing but normal." If they wear their national dress, demonstrate their national customs and celebrate their national feasts, while Christians celebrate theirs, it is "nothing but normal."
      But, according to Veller, we should remember that culture created on Christian culture, culture created by Europeans "would inevitably change for the other, Islamic, eastern, it won't happen otherwise."
      "If we want to give birth to few children, but to have a lot of sex, if we don't want to carry out much hard and dirty work, but we want someone else to do it, if we don't want to multiply, but we want to have inflow of cheap workers, we should be aware that we are getting ready to be substituted by another nation," the writer warns.
      According to him, permission on unisex marriages, proclaiming priority of personal rights over rights of society and other such kind of values are "values of crossed-up world."
      "If we want to preserve our nation, our culture and our country, we should with cynical sigh admit that our values - historical, European, Russian, Christian are not equal with others, but stand above them, prevail over them, are dominating, are system and state forming, and all others should adapt to them. But it is very politically incorrect," the wrier accepted.
      "Make your choice and answer for its consequences. Or you will have to say good bye to wonderful dreams of universal equality and multiculturalism and your grandchildren will live in an alien country as this country won't exist anymore, or otherwise you shouldn't protest (against building mosques - IF) as everything goes in its natural way," Veller sums up.

      http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=7823
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      Today tolerance is equal to indifference and turned to idol of civilized society - Vladimir Legoyda
      Interfax-Religion, October 19, 2010

      Moscow, October 19, Interfax - Tolerance in modern world is equal to indifference and turned to an idol of civilized society, head of the Synodal Information Department Vladimir Legoyda said.
      "Tolerance is one of the modern society's idols. More and more often tolerance means indifferent attitude to the other," Legoyda said on air the Komsomolskaya Pravda radio station.
      According to him, accusation of intolerance is one of the most terrific accusations in the modern world. Meanwhile, Legoyda recalled the phrase said by Polish film director Krzysztof Zanussi, "tolerance without love is indifference."
      Legoyda believes that problems of the multicultural European society arise because Europe "gradually refuses its Christian roots."
      "Spots of tension emerge not among believers of various religions, but rather between secular, non-religious society and representatives of various religions," head of the Information Department said.
      He pointed out to the unique character of Russian experience that demonstrates how Orthodoxy and Islam can peacefully coexist for the centuries. Legoyda said that when at a session of the Council of Europe working group in Macedonia he suggested, as far as it is possible, to exclude insulting of religious feelings from life, he received an answer that it is very difficult to do: "You should tolerate and get used to it!"
      According to the church official, developers of modern provisions on human rights and freedoms did not even think that "every personality is not a creature without traditions and emotion."

      http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=7821
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      Aggressive religious war is led against Muslims of Russia
      Interfax-Religion, October 19, 2010

      Saransk, October 19, Interfax - Mufti of Mordovia Fagim Shafiyev is concerned with arabization of Russian Muslims.
      "By all possible means mosques are occupied, new orders are set in them, orders of "new believers." Their morals differ from centuries-old norms, morals and traditions of Russians and, first of all, Muslim part of Russians," the mufti said in his interview to Interfax-Religion.
      According to him, Russian Muslims are attracted with the fact that these preachers sometimes come from Medina and Mecca, where main Islamic shrines are located.
      "New Muslims" say they are guided by spiritual values of sacred for Muslims places and first cradle of Islam, but in fact using the slogan "For the purity of faith!" they enhance arabization of Muslims," Shafiyev said.
      According to him, Muslims of the country "consider every Arab or natives of the East a true Muslim though there are Christians, representatives of various sects and trends of Islam among them, there are non-believers, absolutely secular people."
      "It is a result of intended propaganda that was launched to destabilize spiritual life of Muslims, to divide them. Aggressive religious war is led against Muslims of Russia. Discussions that we have never had are imposed on us and they lead to schism and division," the interviewee of the agency stressed.
      According to him, Muslims can't even "coordinate and celebrate together" great religious feasts Uraza Bairam and Kurban Bairam.
      "Divided and separated Muslims ardently argue and insist on various attitudes to setting up the dates of Ramadan and the feast crowning the month of fast: some natives of the Middle Asia prefer to stick to the opinions adopted in their country, others follow authorities of the Saudi Arabia," the mufti said.
      See more under the Exclusive heading.

      http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=7819
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      Court condemns Moscow gay pride bans
      AP, October 21, 2010

      STRASBOURG, France -- The European Court of Human Rights condemned Russia on Thursday for letting Moscow ban gay pride marches simply because the city's then-mayor - who famously compared gays to the devil - and other officials disapproved of them.
      The binding ruling means that Russia must ensure gay parades are freely held in its cities, and requires the country to pay organizers of gay pride events euro29,510 ($41,300) for damages and court costs stemming from bans from 2006 to 2008.
      The court is an arm of the Council of Europe, the continent's premier human rights watchdog and Russia is a member.
      The case was launched by Nikolay Alekseyev, an organizer of several Moscow marches, to highlight discrimination against gays and lesbians. Moscow's mayor at the time, Yuri Luzhkov, ensured that gay pride parades, which never got official permission to go ahead, were brutally quashed by police.
      The European Court of Human Rights said those marches were formally banned "to protect public order, health, morals and the rights and freedoms of others, as well as to prevent riots," but that the real reason was a dislike of gays and lesbians.
      "The Moscow mayor had on many occasions expressed his determination to prevent gay parades, as he found them inappropriate," said the court.
      It added the mayor "considered it necessary to confine every mention of homosexuality to the private sphere and to force gay men and lesbians out of the public eye, implying that homosexuality was a result of a conscious, and antisocial, choice."
      It added, "there is no scientific evidence that the mere mention of homosexuality, or open public debate about sexual minorities' social status, would adversely affect children or 'vulnerable adults'."
      In support of Moscow's gay parade bans, the Russian government argued that "gay propaganda was incompatible with religious doctrines and public morals," the court added.
      It ruled that that these attitudes violate Article 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which says "everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly." It added the "mere risk of a demonstration creating a disturbance" was no good reason to ban a parade.
      The court's action came the same day that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's chief of staff, Sergei Sobyanin, was named the new mayor of Moscow. He replaces Luzhkov, who was fired by President Dmitry Medvedev last month after 18 years in office.
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      Remains Of Victims Of Stalinist Repressions To Be Re-buried
      Itar-Tass, October 21, 2010

      VLADIVOSTOK, October 21 (Itar-Tass) -- The remains of victims of Stalinist repressions, found in a massive burial place near Vladivostok, will be re-buried with honours in a common grave at the city cemetery. The Vladivostok administration has adopted a corresponding resolution.
      Preparations for the re-burial ceremony are under way. The ceremony will take place before the end of the year, a representative of the press service of the Vladivostok administration told Itar-Tass on Thursday. The burial place was discovered in December 2009 by builders of the highway connecting the Novy village - De Frieze - the Patroclus Bay. The excavation was completed only by May 2010. The remains of 495 people were found.
      Some objects of everyday life, found in the burial place, indicated that the people, who were buried there, were victims of political repressions of the 1930-s. The forensic examination confirmed that the people had been shot in the head, and this had taken place more than 50 and less than 100 years before. The archive documents helped to establish that the territory had been a waste plot of land in the 1930-s, and the people, arrested during the repressions, had been shot there.
      Several years ago, when no one knew about the burial place, the Memorial Society installed a cross nearby to commemorate the victims of Stalinist repressions.
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      Orthodox youth starts ambitious campaign against decision of the Strasbourg Court on gay prides in Moscow
      Interfax-Religion, October 22, 2010

      Moscow, October 22, Interfax - Orthodox Youth Movement Georgiyevtsy! supported by a number of public organizations starts ambitious campaign against decision of the European Human Rights Court that said gay prides were banned in Moscow illegally.
      The movement press service told an Interfax-Religion correspondent that Orthodox youth will conduct a series of pickets, meetings and actions near the building of the Council of Europe in Moscow and start collecting signatures under an address to the State Duma asking to adopt judicial ban on such parades.
      "The fact that Strasbourg decision came out on the day when the new Moscow mayor took his office deserves attention. We are sure it is not a coincidence, but intended pressing on the new city head," the Georgiyevtsy! coordinator Vladimir Mikhalyov said.
      According to him, decision of the Strasbourg Court is "certainly politicized and its final objective of pressing on Moscow government is not to allow gay prides, but to support certain marginal political groups in Russia that every now and then try to hold their unsanctioned meetings, pickets and marches in the Triumphalnaya Ploschad, near the mayor office and in other downtown places."
      Mikhalyov stressed that Orthodox youth will use all legal methods to oppose "marginal actions in Moscow."

      http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=7838
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      Patriarch Kirill believes cooperation between Church and new Moscow authorities will bring "good fruit"
      Interfax-Religion, October 22, 2010

      Moscow, October 22, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia hopes that systematical partnership between the Church and city authorities under the new mayor will develop.
      In his greeting address to Sergey Sobyanin on his election as Moscow mayor the Patriarch noted that new city head had already worked for the Motherland on different posts "and spared no effort for the welfare of our country."
      "You are by right considered one of the most successful chiefs of the highest management echelon. The high trust extended to you by the Russian President and the Moscow City Duma has become a visible proof to it," the Patriarch writes as cited by his press service.
      The Church Primate is sure that Sobyanin's experience of state official can bring a lot of benefits to residents of the capital.
      "You are known as a person, who is not indifferent to questions of society's morality, caring for spiritual health of the nation," the Patriarch said hoping "for development of systematic partnership of the Moscow Patriarchate and Moscow governmental bodies in the field of education and upbringing youth, preserving cultural heritage of the First capital city, reviving of full-fledged parochial life of Muscovites."
      "I am sure that our active interaction and cooperation can bring good fruit," Patriarch Kirill writes.

      http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=7836
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      Strasbourg court finds Moscow authorities' ban on gay pride parades illegal
      Interfax-Religion, October 22, 2010

      Moscow, October 22, Interfax - The European Court of Human Rights has found the Moscow authorities' refusals to allow gay pride parades to be illegal, Nikolay Alexeyev, leader of the Russian gay movement, said.
      "On Thursday, October 21, the European Court of Human Rights handed out its historical verdict on Russia, ruling the bans on three public gay pride parades in Moscow (in 2006, 2007, and 2008) to be in breach of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms," Alexeyev said.
      Alexeyev said the European Court has ordered Russia to pay the organizers of the gay rallies 17,000 euros in compensation for legal costs and 12,000 euros in moral damages.
      "The Strasbourg court has ruled that by declining to allow 164 marches and pickets planned by gay activists on May 27, 2006, May 27, 2007, and May 27, 2008 Russia violated Article 11 (right to freedom of assembly) and Article 14 (ban on discrimination), and Article 13 (right to effective legal defense) of the European Convention," Alexeyev said.
      Alexeyev said the European Court ruling is expected to become effective in three months, a period of time given to the parties to contest the ruling in the Grand Chamber. "Decisions made by the European Court are binding on the territory of the Russian Federation, which is a member of the Council of Europe," he said.
      "We, gay activists, have become the first human rights activists in Russia to get their right to freedom of assembly protected in the European Court. In addition, we have won a victory for all organizers of public events because now the Russian authorities will have to reconsider their entire procedures associated with allowing public events," he said.

      http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=7835
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      Russian Leadership Never Doubted Whether Russia Needs N. Caucasus - Kremlin Official
      Interfax, October 23, 2010

      GROZNY. Oct 23 (Interfax) - The Russian leadership has never had any doubts that the North Caucasus is an inseparable part of Russia, a high-ranking Kremlin official has said.
      "The Caucasus is Russia's pillar and foundation, not only in a metaphorical but also in a literal sense. This is a cornerstone on which all of Russia rests. This is the country's pillar," Vladislav Surkov, a first deputy presidential chief of staff, said at a meeting with members of youth organizations in Grozny on Friday.
      He admitted that there are people in Russia who question whether Russia needs the Caucasus.
      "Such opinions do exist, and it would be wrong to pretend that they don't. But I am telling you with all responsibility that President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have never had a shadow of doubt about the Russian state's unity and integrity," Surkov said.
      "Everybody should know that the Caucasus has been and will always be an inseparable part of Russia," he said.
      Surkov called on young Chechens not to be too annoyed when they face "some prejudice toward themselves" in other parts of Russia. "All the Chechen people's ill-wishers should know that no one shed more of their own blood for Russia's unity and integrity in modern history" than Chechens, he said.
      "It is in the best interests of any ethnic group to be together with a larger ethnic group, preserving at the same time its culture and traditions," Surkov said. "However, it would be wrong to confine yourself to them. One should adopt all the best that exists in the culture of their country's peoples and in the world culture," he said.
      "Keep together. There are 140 millions of us. Together we are strong, and together we will make Russia a strong, powerful, and prospering country," Surkov said.
      -----

      Number Of Nationalities On The Rise In Russia - Expert
      Itar-Tass, October 24, 2010

      MOSCOW, October 24 (Itar-Tass) -- The number of nationalities is on the rise in Russia, and the population census will confirm that, Deputy Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Ethnology and Anthropology Institute Vladimir Zorin said.
      In his words, the growth started in 2000.
      "The growth has two reasons. Firstly, many people stopped fearing identification by nationality. Secondly, migration will cause the appearance of new ethnic groups in Russia. In fact, this country has the world's third largest migration," Zorin said.
      Meanwhile, the number of believers stabilizes, he said. "A religious renaissance occurred in the 1990s, and the number of believers stabilized in 2000. The growth is minor," the expert said.
      He stressed the academic significance of population censuses. "In all, a population census provides a unique opportunity of full sociological research. It resembles a 3D photograph, as we can assess not only the current situation but also dynamics and scale of changes and emerging trends," Zorin said.
      The willingness of people to answer questions about their nationality and religion is very important, he said. "An analysis of the number of believers in a particular country does not present any technical problems, but some people may be unwilling to answer the question and there is no way to force them do that," the expert said.
      Russian citizens willingly take part in the population census, and there are no massive refusals to answer questions of census takers, head of the Federal State Statistic Service Alexander Surinov told a press conference in Pyatigorsk on October 22.
      "I have not heard about massive refusals to take part in the population census. We have no such statistics, but I know that refusals are scarce," he said.
      Refusals may have religious or personal reasons. In such cases, census takers indicate nothing but age and gender, which is necessary for counting the number of citizens. "About 1.5 million people, mostly in cities, refused to take part in the previous population census," he said.
      Surinov thinks that the current census will have a lesser error than the pervious one (1%). "General statistic information will be more precise. There are no reasons for big errors because latent processes have been on decline. It is possible to have some error in regions because of migration. We are cooperating with demographers and local administrations," he said.
      As for funny answers given to census takers, Surinov recalled the reply of a Tajik builder in Stavropol who defined his nationality as a 'tile setter.' The census taker accepted the answer.
      The general statistics will not be distorted because nationalities indicated by less than 1,000 people are attributed to 'others' category and studied by experts in the future.
      "On the whole, we receive adequate answers and mostly register Homo Sapience," Surinov said.
      More than 650,000 census takers are participating in the Russian population census of October 14-25. The population census started in areas difficult of access on April 1. Census takers arrived in four areas of the Yamal-Nenets autonomous district. In all, Russia has 126 districts difficult of access in 26 regions, with the population of 500,000.
      Every population census taker in Russia is carrying a blue briefcase containing a whistle, a notebook and a flashlight, and wearing a scarf with the census logo. The taker will show passport and id to every visited family, Surinov said earlier.
      Citizens who do not want to receive census takers at home may visit census stations, he added.
      Asked whether police officers are accompanying census takers, Surinov said, "This is not a police operation. There is no need for the police presence. District police inspectors accompany census takers only in 'problem' homes or residencies of mentally ill people."
      As for personal information, "all the questionnaires will be anonymous," he said. "The census taker will record the respondent's name only in the notebook in order not to visit the same family twice," Surov said.
      All the census takers in Russia are insured against accidents and ailments, he said. Insurance of census takers became compulsory in 2002. The maximum insurance payout had grown four times to 20,000 rubles.
      There were 500 accidents in the population census of 2002, 70% of them dog bites.
      "We will do our best to prevent criminals from entering homes of our citizens under the disguise of census takers," Surinov said. Census takers will have ids with several degrees of protection and carry their passports. Besides, every person will have a right to take part in the population census at a census station. "About 40% of Muscovites preferred that option in the previous population census held in 2002. That was the largest rating in the country," he noted.
      "The population census will draw the country's portrait, and everyone must take part in it to make this portrait complete," Surinov said.
      The census covers more than 830,000 people pending trial or convicted.
      "More than 4,500 employees of the Federal Penitentiary and Prison Service trained at regional statistics offices are taking the census at detention centers and penitentiaries. In all, 122,000 people in detention centers and prisons, over 700,000 inmates of penitentiaries and 4,000 minors in adolescent correctional institutions answer questions of the census questionnaire," service spokesman Alexander Kromin told Itar-Tass.
      He also said that the census involved 869 children living in orphanages at women's penitentiaries.
      Preliminary results of the population census will be posted by April 2011. The data will be updated later on.....
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      Putin: Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago essential
      AP, October 26, 2010

      MOSCOW (AP) "The Gulag Archipelago" is essential reading for Russian students, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Tuesday unusual words of praise from a former KGB agent for Alexander Solzhenitsyn's explosive book on the crimes of the Soviet regime.
      Putin spoke at a meeting with Solzhenitsyn's widow, Natalya, to discuss a new edition of "The Gulag Archipelago" that was made part of required reading for Russian high schools. The inclusion of the book in the school curriculum, and the words of praise from Putin, contrasts with his previous efforts to inculcate pride in the country's Soviet past.
      The move could be an attempt by Putin to deflect claims by critics who have accused him of whitewashing history and encouraging a more positive view of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin during his eight-year presidency.
      "Without the knowledge of that book, we would lack a full understanding of our country and it would be difficult for us to think about the future," Putin told Natalya Solzhenitsyn, who prepared an abridged edition of the massive three-volume work.
      Putin hailed the school edition's publication as a "landmark event," adding that it comes shortly before Russia marks a day commemorating victims of Soviet political repression this weekend.
      Putin, a former officer in the secret service, has avoided open praise or criticism of Stalin. Three years ago, however, he joined public commemorations for victims of Stalin's purges, warning against political ideas that are "placed above basic values."
      Putin's opponents dismissed that as a public relations stunt and accused the government of burnishing Stalin's image by sponsoring textbooks painting the murderous ruler in a largely positive light. To the outrage of critics of the Communist past, old Soviet national anthem lyrics praising Stalin were restored to a Moscow subway station in 2009.
      Historians estimate that more than 700,000 people were executed during the purges that peaked during the Great Terror in the late 1930s, and tens of millions of people were sent to prison camps where millions of them died of harsh labor and cruel treatment.
      Solzhenitsyn, who had won the 1970 Nobel Prize for Literature, drew on his own experiences as a prisoner and on the testimony of hundreds of other Gulag inmates to chronicle the horrors of the sprawling Soviet prison camps system, known under its Russian acronym, Gulag.
      First published in the West in 1973, "The Gulag Archipelago" prompted furious Soviet leaders to expel Solzhenitsyn from the Soviet Union in 1974.
      Following his expulsion, Solzhenitsyn and his wife led a secluded life in Vermont and the author surprised many by becoming harshly critical of the West's permissive ways.
      After returning from exile in 1994, he expressed disappointment that most Russians hadn't read his books. Solzhenitsyn's met with Putin and praised him despite Putin's KGB background. Solzhenitsyn died in August 2008 of a chronic heart condition at the age of 89.
      ----

      Lost generation: Russia tops youth crime table
      www.russiatoday.com, October 27, 2010

      Ranked by the World Health Organization as having the highest rate of youth crime in Europe, Russia is faced with the tough task of rehabilitating its young people and improving the statistics.
      "Please show us on this doll where exactly you stabbed him with the knife," a police officer asks a teenager in a crime reconstruction video.
      The boy points to the head of the dummy and says he stabbed the victim "roughly seven or ten times." Along with his gang, he carried out a brutal murder, and is now heading to one of Russia's 62 young offenders' institutions.
      Already being held in one such institution is Oleg Rozanov. He has so far served more than half of his sentence for committing a racial murder. He was a 15-year-old skinhead when he and his friends attacked a foreign looking youth.
      "I saw the guy's knife lying next to him," Oleg recalls. "I suddenly thought: 'he must have been using this knife to kill Russians.' I stabbed him twice and then passed it to my three friends who each knifed him."
      Stabbings account for almost half of the homicides carried out by youngsters in the European and Central Asian region, according to the report by the World Health Organization. It is the first comprehensive study published in Europe on the subject. It puts Russia top of the table, with the highest rate of violence among the surveyed age group of 10 to 29-year-olds.
      Those who deal with young offenders in Russia, say they are not surprised by the country's ranking.
      "A change in psychology, morale and moral values all this contributes to an extremely high crime rate whipped up by the activities of religious sects," says Mikhail Vinogradov, head of the Center for Legal and Psychological Assistance in Emergency Situations.
      He adds that media and "its stories full of blood" are also to blame for the violence.
      Young people become both the victims and perpetrators of the violence, often caused by reasons rooted in childhood.
      Sergey Popkov, head of a juvenile correctional facility in Mozhaisk, says a lack of parental love and attention eventually lead to the problem.
      "We, grown-ups, parents, are often too busy earning our living. Maybe we should simply love our children," Mr. Popkov suggests. "The main reason behind those crimes is the absence of parental love. We remember our kids when they are already behind bars, and that is the last place they should be."
      Approximately 5,700 minors are currently serving prison terms in Russia. The majority of them come from a one-parent family or children's homes.
      Police say about 80 per cent of serious juvenile crimes take place in the evening or at night when children are supposed to be looked after by their parents. However, in reality many often end up on the streets searching for their own entertainment, which often includes drinking alcohol a factor that has been fueling youth crime in Russia.
      Russian authorities, however, claim the situation among minors is now slowly improving.
      "We should be careful when talking of youth crimes," said Colonel Elena Novolitseva, from the Public Safety Department. "There are minors or those who have not reached the age of 18, and youths, who are up to 30 years old. [The latter] entails a whole different spectrum of crimes. I am dealing with the underage crowd. And in the past five years I have seen a considerable drop in the crime rate."
      Meanwhile, as many young people who are serving sentences hope to be able to remain crime-free in the future, it may be down to those on the other side of the barbed wire to ensure they do not become another lost generation.
      -----

      Tekstilschiki residents gather around 7,000 signatures against mosque construction
      Interfax-Religion, October 27, 2010

      Moscow, October 27, Interfax - A group of activists from the Moscow district of Tekstilschiki, campaigning against the construction of a mosque in this part of the capital, have said that their protest was officially supported by over 6,500 local residents. "We gathered about 450 sheets with a total of 6,536 signatures. Very soon we will send the signatures to an appeal addressed directly to President Dmitry Medvedev," group coordinator Mikhail Butrimov told a press conference in Moscow on Wednesday. Signatures were collected only among resident of the areas adjacent to the Volzhsky Boulevard where the mosque was to be built, he said. It was reported that the mosque of the Council of Muftis was expected to be built in the Volzhsky Boulevard, the green zone of the Tekstilschiki District. Construction plans were opposed by many local residents. The authorities of Moscow's Southeast Administrative District have already suggested choosing another construction site for the mosque.

      http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=7853
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      Extremism, neo-Nazi crimes on the rise in Russia - police source
      Interfax, October 28, 2010

      Moscow, 28 October: The number of neo-fascist organizations and the number of extremist crimes in Russia is growing each year, Sergey Girko, head of the All-Russian Research Institute of the Russian Interior Ministry, has said.
      "The number of radical groups, with an ideology of national, racial and religious intolerance at their foundation, is on the rise," he told a news conference in Moscow on Thursday (28 October). He said that, according to information from the department for countering extremism, there are more than 150 radical neo-fascist groups in Russia that put their ideologoy in practice by means of violence, including homicide motivated by nationality, race and religion.
      "Furthermore, according to official statistics, the extremist crime rate is also growing annually," Girko said. The rate stood at 356 crimes in 2007, rising to 460 crimes in 2008 and reaching 548 crimes in 2009, he added. "The year 2010 was no exception. Some 370 crimes were already registered in the first half of the year, up 39 per cent from the same period of last year," he said.
      Law-enforcement practice has shown that extremist crimes are sometimes classified in a completely different way in their early stages, "because extremist groups have a tendency to blend in with the criminal environment", he added.
      At the same time, Girko said that work to counter extremism was not conducted in some regions, or yielded little results. "For example, target programmes have been set up in Russian regions to counter extremism, yet there is no task-specific work going on here, there is disunity between the various agencies, and the programmes themselves are declaratory in nature," he said.
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      Neo-Nazi Criminals In Russia Get Harsher Prison Terms
      Itar-Tass, October 30, 2010

      MOSCOW, October 30 (Itar-Tass) -- Neo-Nazi criminals in Russia are getting harsher sentences these days, and the police have been more active in fighting the extremists, analysts say.
      The Moscow City Court on Thursday sentenced a 22-year-old former Moscow student, member of the National-Socialist Society (NSS) Vasily Krivets to life imprisonment. He was found guilty by the jury of committing fifteen hate murders. The second convict in the case, 23-year-old Dmitry Ufimtsev, confessed to five killings and was sentenced to 22 years in a tight security penitentiary.
      The court also upheld civil claims filed by the victims' relatives and ordered the convicts to pay the affected 13.5 million rubles in compensation.
      In St. Petersburg, an investigation is underway into the activities of a group of 25 suspects who, according to detectives, carried out twelve attacks on Caucasus-born victims, and also on Asians and Africans. Two are known to have died at their hands.
      The lifetime convict, Vasily Krivets, was known in the nationalist circles of Moscow by the nickname Tim. He was a leader of a faction of skinheads who called themselves the White Wolves. Nine members of that group were sentenced to long terms last February. Among them there were two juveniles and also the leader of the Wolves - Alexei Dzhavakhishvili. He eventually got the shortest term - six years, while the rest - 15 years to 23 years in jail.
      It is noteworthy that the sentence to those convicts was pronounced by judge Eduard Chuvashov, who would be subsequently killed, as investigators suspect, in retaliation by supporters of the accused.
      From October 2007 to May 2008 Krivets killed fifteen citizens of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Russia. Of these murders five were committed jointly with Ufimtsev and other members of the gang.
      Krivets and his men used knives, hammers and iron rods. As a rule, they committed murders near metro stations in Moscow, beating victims and inflicting multiple stab wounds.
      The sentence was read out amid tight security measures: in the hall there were six crack police on duty, all armed with automatic rifles. Outside the court building reinforced police patrols were on guard. This measure had to be taken following calls for violence against the participants in the trial, placed on several nationalist websites.
      Krivets and Ufimtsev were members of the National-Socialist Society, eliminated by the law enforcement authorities two years ago. Their other associates are currently standing trial at the Moscow District Military Court. The members of that organization are charged with 30 murders, several terrorist attacks in the Moscow Region and other serious crimes, including an attempt to blow up the Zagorsk Hydro.
      Established in 2004, that organization, despite its original intention to become a legal nationalist party, over three years turned into a gang, detectives say. As it turned out during the investigation, the leader of the national-socialist society, Maxim Bazylev (Adolf), picked his future gang-mates on nationalist websites. In this way he recruited Vasily Krivets and Dmitry Ufimtsev, who first participated in meetings and placed stickers, but then became involved in violent attacks. Krivets promptly became one of the organization's ideologists, while his accomplice remained an ordinary soldier.
      The NSS, according to detectives, observed an iron discipline. It is known that one member was killed and dismembered by his own gang-mates, who accused him of stealing cash. By the autumn of 2007 the members of the NSS actually went into hiding.
      As the media have said, this sentence has become one of the very few cases in which members of a pro-Nazi group have been punished as strictly as the law requires. As a rule, most defendants in such cases are minors, at least they still were under age at the time of the offense. And irrespective of how many fiendish murders they have really committed, or been proven guilty of, the maximum sentence they can get is ten years. In this case, however, the defendants were already past the threshold of adulthood.
      In Russia, according to the Interior Ministry's department for resistance to extremism, there are more than 150 radical groups of neo-Nazi orientation, the head of the national research institute under the Russian Interior Ministry, Major-General Sergei Girko said.
      According to the official, ever more Nazi groups crop up in Russia every year. As a result, the number of extremist crimes fuelled with ethnic, racial or religious hatred is growing.
      In particular, he said that over the first half of 2010 there were recorded 370 such crimes - a 39-percent increase from the same period last year. In the whole of 2007 the police recorded 356 such crimes, in 2008, 460, and in 2009, 548.
      According to the analytical center Sova, which tracks crimes related to nationalism and xenophobia, in the first half of 2010 at least 167 people fell victim to racist and neo-Nazi violence, and 19 of them died. In January-June 2009, 52 were killed and 242 injured.
      Odd as it may seem, while the Interior Ministry says there has been an increase in the number of "extremist" crimes, human rights activists believe their number is falling. Experts explain the conflicting statements in this way. Since 2008 the police have become much more willing to register extremist crimes and far more active in prosecuting neo-Nazis. As a result, the number of recorded crimes is increasing, but most of them are relatively minor incidents. Moreover, since the elimination of major group murders of foreigners have been far rarer, analysts said.
      An expert at the Moscow Bureau for Human Rights, Semyon Charny, is quoted by the Russian Service of the BBC as saying that in the autumn of 2008 the Interior Ministry created a special department for fighting extremism.
      "Before, extremism was one of the many duties of the very same police staff and investigators who had no end of things to attend - from murders to minor abuse. Now, inside the Interior Ministry there is a group of people who have realized that their careers, promotions and awards depend on how well they crack down on extremism," the expert said.
      The deputy director of the analytical center Sova, Galina Kozhevnikova, says that the center's experts still register more ethnic hatred-related crimes than the Interior Ministry, but at the same time she remarks that police are now more willing to recognize and investigate such crimes.
      "This is a political signal to society and a signal from the law enforcement bodies. It is unmistakable evidence of changing attitudes towards such crimes," Kozhevnikova said.
      ------

      Russian Orthodox Church condemns European Court decision on gay pride
      Interfax-Religion, November 1, 2010

      Strasbourg, November 1, Interfax - Hegumen Filaret, a representative of the Russian Church in Strasbourg, believes the decision made by the European Court, which ordered the authorities to pay compensation for refusing to authorize several gay pride parades, insults the feelings of the majority of Russians.
      "The decision made in Strasbourg essentially constitutes violence against the feelings and morals of the majority of [Russian] society. That will hardly help achieve the stated purpose to cultivate tolerance and achieve accord, mutual understanding and peaceful co-existence," Father Filaret said in an interview with Interfax-Religion.
      He said that "the Russian Orthodox Church may follow its social doctrine and back the increasingly load calls on the Russian state to reconsider the forms of participation in international treaties related to human rights" if such processes continue to accelerate.
      Fr. Filaret said the problem with this court decision is much broader and serious than just the organization or denial to authorize gay pride parades.
      "Human rights norms were created for protection of individuals from discrimination. At the same time, over the past few years we have seen formal use of human rights norms for groups and communities, primarily minorities, without regard for societal traditions in general, history, and culture," the priest said.

      http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=7862
      ============================

      II SURVEYS, ANALYSES, COMMENTS

      Xenophobic Nationalists Threaten to Make Russia into a Post-1918 Austria, Moscow Analyst Says
      By: Paul Goble
      Window on Eurasia, October 19, 2010

      Staunton, October 19 – Russian imperial and xenophobic nationalists, a leading Moscow human rights analysts, are conducting the kind of "political experiments" that threaten their country with "yet another `greatest catastrophe,'" albeit one "not of the 20th century but of the 21st," one that would leave it in a position much like Austria found itself after 1918
      In an article on Grani.ru portal today, Yevgeny Ikhlov, the head of the analytic center of the For Human Rights Movement, draws that conclusion on the basis of his reading of the meaning of the efforts by Stavropol residents to leave the North Caucasus Federal District and of Muscovites to block the construction of new mosques (grani.ru/blogs/free/entries/182759.html).
      Ikhlov says that from his point of view, "the Stavropol residents are profoundly right" in what they are trying to do. While the southern part of their kray is "geo-economically" part of the North Caucasus, "'everyone understands' that the North Caucasus Federal District is a governorship general for the control as people said the century before last of unruly natives."
      "The Slavs of Stavropol do not want to be included among the natives," he continues, because it is obvious that in that case, Stavropol kray "will always be forgotten" compared to hotspots like Daghestan. If they can secure a place in the Southern Federal District, the residents of the kray have good reason to think they can get "more proportionate" attention."
      The people of Stavropol thus find themselves in an awkward position now that "the former larger Southern FD is historically and civilizationally split into two absolutely different segments – a citadel of the south Russian sub-ethnos and the lands of the Caucasian peoples, annexed by the tsarist empire in its centuries-long drive toward the Middle East."
      But if the Stavropol residents succeed in being shifted from the North Caucasus to the Southern FD, then, this "will make the border [one] between the imperial metropolis and imperial acquisitions, between what everyone understands as Russia and that which should be called `the Federation'" on the basis with the analogous division in the Roman empire of antiquity.
      "The price of preserving the official illusion that the Russian Federation is not an empire but a cleverly devised in 1993 `United States of Northern Eurasia' became the unification of the Stavropol residents to the North Caucasus Federal District which was set up for the struggle with the already 11-year-old North Caucasus guerilla war."
      Ikhlov suggests that "this bureaucratic solution is only a small part of the bill for the ambitions of the Russian tsars" and Soviet leaders, a bill that many Russians complain about when despite everything their ancestors did, they are forced to "pay" for it by getting visas in order to travel to Kaliningrad, the former German land.
      "For the conquest and annexation of the countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia and for the Westernization of these territories with fire and sword by the communists, it is also necessary to pay," he argues, just as France, Britain and Germany have had to pay for their past imperial ambitions by being forced to deal with "millions" of culturally distinct immigrants."
      "For its Eurasian empire, Moscow must cope with millions of Muslims in the capital and surrounding territories," Ikhlov says. "the capital of a universal empire – and the Third Rome by definition is a universal empire – is always a cosmopolitan megalopolis, i.e., a Babylon." Thus, "Moscow never will be `a Russian Orthodox' metropolis," whatever the nationalists think.
      The huge Muslim community of Moscow "must have a sufficient number of mosques," he argues, saying that "it is time to get rid of the illusion that if Muslims are left without a mosque, they will first become ethnically and religiously colorless [non-ethnic] Russians and then eventually become [ethnic] Russians and even Orthodox Christians."
      If the communists couldn't achieve that goal with "two million Soviet Jews," then the current Russian powers that be won't be able to achieve such a transformation among "the 20 million people whose ancestors professed Islam."
      Of course, "in principle," Ikhlov says, "it would be possible to free Moscow and all of central Russia from Muslims by setting up an Orthodox-fascist Muscovite Rus, the territory of which would be somewhat smaller than the current Russian Federation." But those who think that would be a good idea should remember what happened to Austria after the empire.
      Such a prospect for Russia, the human rights analyst argues, "ought to convince angriest Moscow chauvinists and Islamophobes that the flourishing of the capital [of their country] is worth 20 mosques." But unfortunately, as recent developments in France and Germany with regard to the Roma suggest, they may not recognize that danger.
      According to Ikhlov, "the problem is that neither the Russian nor the West European elites have been able to create a universal super-ethnic model which has been so notably established in North America." And consequently, "our proud imperialists of the Kipplingesque type will continue their political experiments."
      That is until, the For Human Rights expert concludes, they succeed in bringing about "yet another `greatest catastrophe,'" a reference to Vladimir Putin's description of the disintegration of the USSR. "Only this will not be in the 20th century" as that event was but rather sometime "in the 21st."

      http://windowoneurasia.blogspot.com/2010/10/window-on-eurasia-xenophobic.html
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      Russia Can Avoid Second Generation Immigrant Problem, Moscow Demographer Suggests
      By: Paul Goble
      Window on Eurasia, October 24, 2010

      Staunton, October 24 – Much of the unrest among immigrants in France in recent times has come not from the first generation of immigrants who often feel compelled to accept discrimination as a price for improved economic circumstances rather from the second whose members demand that they be treated equally.
      Anatoly Vishnevsky, director of the Moscow Institute of Demography of the Higher School of Economics, argues that in Russia, the situation is different and that despite the problems that country is experiencing with the first migrant generation, it is in a position to "make a bet on the children of migrants" (www.novayagazeta.ru/data/2010/118/10.html).
      But if that is the upside of Vishnevsky's analysis, his suggestion that immigrants will change the face of Russia over the next several generations is likely to anger many Russian nationalists and frighten a larger number of ordinary Russians who may be drawn to xenophobic causes.
      Few of the adults in the first generation of immigrants will fully integrate into Russian society, he says. "but if they have children or if such children appear already in emigration, their prospects for emigration are entirely different." If these children learn Russian, "study together with [Russian] children, live together with [Russians], then they will fit into our society."
      As the experience of other countries shows, however, that outcome is not a given. "For this," Vishnevsky says, "a special long-term policy directed at their integration must be conducted." But unless Russia adopts such a policy, the decline in the country's population will not stop.
      As his interviewers noted, Vishnevsky recently pointed out that "in 2100, the current population of Russia and its descendents will be converted into a minority; that is, in essence, this will be a different and new population of the country." Consequently, they suggested, he was talking about the formation of a new and different nation altogether.
      Vishnevsky said that such a prospect was not utopian and pointed to the experience of the United States where WASPS are rapidly losing their preponderant position, and he said that "besides that, this is the only possible path for Russia," however different it is from that country's past and however much some Russians may object.
      In the decade ahead, the problem will become even more acute than it is now, he points out. The number of young mothers will "sharply fall" and as a result, so too will the number of births." Moreover, there will be "fewer young men," which means fewer draftees, something the military will oppose but only with a negative impact on the economy.
      Russians are not about to become a minority in their own country, Vishnevsky says, "but in the distant perspective, it is impossible to exclude that." And because that is a possibility, Russians need to think now about how they will integrate the migrants and thereby create a new combined nationality.
      What that will look like should be the subject of discussion. What is it that Russians want to preserve: "The preservation of racial identity? Or linguistic and cultural?" These are "different" things. "The racial composition of the population could be changed but the language and culture could remain Russian," albeit "enriched" by the contributions of the arrivals.
      What will happen depends to a very large extent on what Russian politicians decide to do, Vishnevsky argues, and he suggests that the outcome will depend not only on how the Russian powers that be treat immigrants but also what immigrants they encourage and accept, given that migrants is "a collective term."
      There are both permanent immigrants who will have an effect on the country's demographic future and temporary ones who will play a major role in the economy but who won't affect, at least not profoundly, the ethnic face of the country. Unfortunately, for policy makers, "there is no clear border" between these two groups.
      As far as migration within the Russian Federation is concerned, Vishnevsky points out that "the Caucasus is the only region of Russia where there has been a demographic explosion," and he argues that this underlies both the political and military dimension of the problem there. In sum, he says, in the North Caucasus, "there are a lot of people and only a little land."
      Vishnevsky said he had profound doubts about the possibility of promoting the return of ethnic Russians to that region as some officials have proposed. There simply are not the kind of jobs Russians want there. And of course, it will be extremely difficult to get predominantly ethnic Russian regions to accept more people from the Caucasus.
      At the most global level, Moscow must permit, even encourage, more immigration if it wants to keep the population from falling. The post-1945 babies are now aging, and the number of young mothers is contracting As a result, now Russia needs about 200,000-300,000 immigrants every year. In five years, Vishnevsky says, it will need 500 to 800,000.

      http://windowoneurasia.blogspot.com/2010/10/window-on-eurasia-russia-can-avoid.html
      -------

      Moscow's Unwillingness to Support Russian Nation Reflects Its Own Imperial Agenda, Kazan Scholar Says
      By: Paul Goble
      Window on Eurasia, October 25, 2010

      Staunton, October 25 – Like their Soviet predecessors, the current powers that be in the Russian Federation are quite prepared to sacrifice the national interests of the ethnic Russian people in the pursuit of an imperialist agenda, but this sacrifice will not serve either Russian national interests or Moscow's imperial goals, according to a Kazan sociologist.
      Aleksandr Salagayev further argues that "the legal vacuum which characterizes the situation of ethnic Russians in the Russian Federation and the position of the powers that be who are ignoring this contradiction is the source of inter-ethnic conflicts with migrants, the extremism of Russian organizations in Russia and the weakness of Russian diasporas abroad.
      In a 3200-word essay posted on the Regnum.ru news agency, Salagayev, a specialist on social and political conflicts at the Kazan State Technological University, traces the long and complicated history of the relations between the ethnic Russian nation and the states within which it has existed (www.regnum.ru/news/1337042.html).
      Prior to 1917, he notes, "Russians were an imperial nation." The state's slogan, "Orthodoxy, Autocracy, Nationality," applied only to them, but the Russian nation included the Great Russians, the Little Russians (Ukrainians), and the Belarusians, as one might expect an imperial people, as opposed to a nation, to do.
      The country's nationality policy changed dramatically with the coming to power of the Bolsheviks. Their ideas about "proletarian internationalism," Salagayev argues, instituted "a double standard" with the rights of the non-Russians being protected and the rights of the ethnic Russians as a community being ignored or at least slighted.
      While that balance shifted over time, the Kazan scholar says, many now believe that "the main cause of the destruction of the USSR was the weakening of the Russian ethnos and the loss of its role in economic and state-political life which took place after the October 1917 coup" that brought the Bolsheviks to power.
      In the first years of Soviet power, the communist tilt toward the non-Russians was most pronounced, with the non-Russians being given republics and the ethnic Russians, routinely denounced for "great power chauvinism," being denied one repeatedly. Salagayev notes that efforts to form a Russian republic were blocked by Soviet leaders in 1922, 1923, 1925, and 1926.
      After Stalin declared "the final solution of the nationality question in the USSR" in 1934, the Russian nation was redefined. No longer was it "the former oppressor nation" with a historic "debt" to the others, but rather the Russian nation became the elder brother – or as "Leningradskaya Pravda" put it in 1937, "the eldest among equals."
      But despite the rhetorical change, Russians were still expected to provide funding for the non-Russians to help them catch up with modernity, a policy that continued throughout the rest of the Soviet period and one that by "ignoring the interests of the Russian people [was] inevitably accompanied by Russophobia" on the part of the regime.
      That is because this attitude "was expressed not so much in the denial of the `positive features of the Russian nation and its positive contribution to world history' as in a fear of the Russian national factor … and the possible resistance from the side of the most numerous people of the communist reconstruction of the country and the world."
      Indeed, KGB and then CPSU leader Yuri Andropov famously observed, Salagayev recalls, that "the chief concern for us is Russian nationalism; as to the dissidents, we would take them all in one night."
      In short, "self-determination of the Russian people was assessed as chauvinism but the self-determination of other peoples was considered as a necessary condition of their national development," Salagayev says. And as a result, "the national interests and the interests of Russians in autonomous formations were simply ignored."
      With the collapse of the Soviet Union, this policy continued. "Ethnic mobilization" seized "all the ethnic groups" of the country except the ethnic Russians "who despite the actual loss of their imperial status preserve the illusions about their imperial destiny, responsibility for the fate of Russia and other such myths."
      Ethnic mobilization among ethnic Russians thus has been dominated by marginal groups like the RNE and Primorsky partisans and by "the spontaneous ethnic mobilization of Russians" in relatively small cities such as Kondopoga. In his article, Salagayev lists 22 such cases of the latter since 1999.
      None of these efforts can be called successful, he says, largely because Moscow opposed all of them. The 1996 law on national-cultural autonomy did not apply to Russians and efforts beginning in 2001 to adopt "a law on the Russian people" were blocked by the powers that be and have come to nothing.
      "In thus preserving the imperial ambitions of Russians," Salagayev continues, "the powers that be are not showing any interest in the fate of the Russian people and in fact are struggling against those who recognize the real situation, calling such people Russian extremists or Russian fascists."
      Moscow continues to subsidize the non-Russian republics at far greater rates than the predominantly Russian areas, but its failure to support the Russian nation is undercutting its own imperial strategy because it is leading ever more ethnic Russians to flee non-Russian areas back to the center of the country.
      In Salagayev's opinion, "the situation is very similar to the policy of support of the national borderlands of the Soviet Union at the expense of the central oblasts which are populated primarily by Russians, a policy which in the final analysis led to the collapse of the USSR. It is obvious that such a policy will preserve the territorial integrity of Russia."
      The Kazan scholar suggests that there are two possible solutions to this situation, a "radical" one in which ethnic Russian oblasts would be formed and non-Russian republics liquidated, and a "moderate" one in which ethnic Russians would gain the same right to form national cultural autonomies that other nations now have.
      Salagayev adds that some combination is likely, and he concludes by suggesting that Moscow must address the Russian question at home if it is to have any hope of protecting compatriots abroad, many of whom have been reduced to the status of "second class citizens" there in a way paralleling that of ethnic Russians in the Russian Federation itself.

      http://windowoneurasia.blogspot.com/2010/10/window-on-eurasia-moscows-unwillingness.html
      --------

      The Death of the Dissident: Russian nationalism is surging, and now even one-time liberals are turning away from the West
      By Owen Matthews
      Newsweek, October 25, 2008

      For centuries, a good majority of Russia's young and well-educated elite have looked westward for inspiration and role models—some of them revolutionary like Karl Marx, or more recently free marketers like Margaret Thatcher. Even during the years of Boris Yeltsin's chaotic reforms, most educated Russians still believed on some level that Russia's best hope for becoming a "normal" country was to follow the West's course of democracy and capitalism. A significant core of liberal democrats remained well into the eight-year rule of Vladimir Putin,and his relentless campaign to restore Russia's position as a great power.
      But the August war in Georgia and the ongoing economic and financial collapse mark a tipping point. For the first time in generations, a mood of patriotism, jingoism and staunch Russian nationalism have become pervasive among even educated Russians who once considered themselves pro-Western liberals. Yes, most Russians have been reflexively patriotic all along. But Russia has seldom in living memory been more nationalistic—and seldom have Russia's brightest and best found themselves more in agreement with the people—as well as the Kremlin—on their country's greatness. In the spring of 2008, 65 percent of Russians felt "generally positive" about the United States, according to the Yuri Levada opinion polls center in Moscow. But after the war in Georgia, that indicator dropped to just 7 percent. At the same time, Putin's approval ratings have climbed eight points between July and September to 88 percent; Dmitry Medvedev's increased 13 points, to 83 percent.
      The sharp increase underscores the "quick evolution of Russian empire complex," says Levada expert Natalya Zorkaya. "After the war the general feeling in society was, Hurrah! Russia, get up off your knees!" she says. Alexei Venediktov, editor-in-chief of Ekho Mozkvy, the last liberal national radio station still broadcasting opposition voices, says the patriotic mood has pervaded the elite to a remarkable degree. "I do not know a single Russian who would like to see his country dependent or weak—we all want Russia to be strong, wealthy and happy." Even the Union of Right Forces, once a radical free-market liberal party, last week split into pro- and anti-Kremlin factions, with the pro-Kremlin wing keeping the lion's share of the party members and offices.
      The reasons for the change run deep. Rich or poor, a whole generation of Russians has gone from naive infatuation with the West's ideals in the 1990s to a deep disappointment and resentment fueled by perceived Western hypocrisy in ignoring Russian objections over the bombing of Serbia and the Iraq War—plus the widely held belief that Western economic advice during the 1990s was deliberately designed to weaken and dismember Russia. Now, for the first time in a generation, Russians have a short, victorious war to crow about, after defeats in Afghanistan and Chechyna. The financial crisis, even though it is hitting Russian markets hard, has given the Kremlin fodder for gloating that the West had finally received its comeuppance, and that finally, America will have to share the pedestal with other countries. "Putin inspired a kind of state-nationalism—he gave people hope that Russia can become a big player again," says Alexei Makarkin, vice-president of the Moscow-based Center for Political Technologies.
      Among those who have turned: former Duma deputy Vyacheslav Igrunov, a founder of Memorial, a civic association devoted to the victims of Stalinism, as well as the liberal Yabloko Party. Jailed in the '80s for anti-Soviet activity, he was a classic dissident, a liberal and, in the jargon of the day, a "progressive intellectual." But like many of his fellow travelers, he experienced a disenchantment with the West, which crystallized, he says, after NATO supported Georgian "aggression" in Ossetia. Similarly, Sergei Markov, a one-time liberal dissident who "fought for freedom" in the 1980s by trying to overthrow communism and bring Russia's democrats to power, is now a Duma member for the Kremlin-created United Russia Party. He says the West "has lost all its authority for Russian intellectuals," by supporting Kosovo's independence but not Ossetia's, and because of the financial crisis, which undermines the Western free-market ideal. Now he advocates that "Russia should be preaching its own nationalistic and patriotic ideas in defense of the West's anti-Russian aggression," and the Kremlin has charged him with the task of organizing a series of initiatives to help, in Markov's words, "clean up the morals of the Russian elite" and create an ultrapatriotic breed of leaders who will help make Russia "a Christian, conservative European country, with genuine human and moral values."
      Russia's leaders have done their utmost to promote a passionate nationalism. Putin promised this summer that the state would fund a new generation of patriotic films and television programs. News of this plan was rapturously received by an audience of academics and journalists at St. Petersburg State University. "The state should be taking a lead in forming the intellectual and spiritual life of Russians," says Alexander Zapesotsky, president of St. Petersburg's Trade Union Humanitarian University. The Kremlin has also continued to promote the ideologically motivated youth gangs it hatched in the aftermath of Ukraine's Orange Revolution in 2004. Their intent at the time had been to prevent the same kind of movement that had helped bring down Ukraine's government. Now these movements have spawned a network of ideologically correct organizations to organize—or, in their own terms, "modernize"—Russian business and society. The focus is on attracting young professionals and embryonic think tanks, which have proved effective in attracting ideas if only because of the promise of<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
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