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Bulletin 4:38 (2010)

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  • Andreas Umland
    THE RUSSIAN NATIONALISM BULLETIN A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs Vol. 4, No. 38(119), 1 December 2010 Compilers: Scott Littlefield & Andreas Umland I
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 1, 2010
      A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs
      Vol. 4, No. 38(119), 1 December 2010
      Compilers: Scott Littlefield & Andreas Umland

      I NEWS: 15 - 30 November 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: 15 - 30 November 2010

      Russians fear inflation more than extremism - poll
      Interfax, November 15, 2010

      Moscow, 15 November: Russian citizens consider inflation (56 per cent) and alcoholism (53 per cent) to be the most important problems facing the country, according to an all-Russian poll conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VTsIOM) on 9-10 October in 46 regions.
      Among the most important issues facing Russia, respondents mentioned unemployment (46 per cent), corruption and bureaucracy (44 per cent), and living standards of the population (43 per cent).
      People are slightly less worried about the housing and utilities sector (34 per cent), pension benefits (33 per cent), crime (31 per cent) and health care (30 per cent).
      These are followed by problems of young people and terrorism (26 per cent each), the state of morals and morality (23 per cent), the situation in the sphere of education (19 per cent), tycoons' influence on the life in the country (18 per cent), the environmental and demographic situations (16 per cent each), the economic crisis (15 per cent), late payment of wages (13 per cent) and the situation in the army (11 per cent).
      Russians are least worried about the following issues: democracy and human rights, as well as national security (8 per cent each); interethnic and interconfessional relations, relations with the CIS countries and Russia's position in the world (7 per cent each); extremism and fascism (5 per cent).
      The results of another poll, conducted by the Levada Centre on 22-25 October in 44 regions of Russia, suggest that 70 per cent of Russians consider themselves to be patriots (as compared to 78 per cent in 2007). A big number of respondents (59 per cent) think that patriotism consists in love for their country. One-third of Russians (27 per cent) say that patriotism means working for the sake of the prosperity of one's country.
      Other answers include "striving to change the situation in the country in order to secure a bright future for it" and "defending one's country from any attacks or accusations".

      Patriarch Kirill challenges Church to "reset" people's minds
      Interfax-Religion, November 16, 2010

      Moscow, November 16, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia urged believers to establish a consistent and efficient Church mission which will produce a revolution in the mind of Russian people.
      "What is happening in the Church now may be called the "second Christianization." This country with a thousand years of Christian tradition, which gave birth to many saints and deserved the name of Holy Rus, has denied its historic heritage and ruined the tradition," the Patriarch said Tuesday at an opening ceremony of the Fourth All-Church Congress of Diocesan Missionaries in Moscow.
      According to him, "a new generation has grown on the spiritual ruins of the Orthodoxy" and it's impossible today "to preach Christ just by appealing to the tradition and inherited memory, we need to make specific missionary efforts."
      He emphasized that the Church's goal is to make an impact on people; this goal is comparable to the one pursued by the revolutionaries (with the opposite sign); the goal is to "restructure the Orthodox tradition."
      "What huge resources were spent, what kind of organization was established! Today, we need even more powerful organization with a greater potential, challenge, courage and sacrifice," the Patriarch said.
      At the same time, he continued, "even a monk is unwilling to go to Chukotka, i.e., a person who has made a vow - you ask him to come and start talking to him, but he just makes faces and says there is not enough oxygen in Chukotka.


      Russian World countries will lead mankind out of deadlock - Patriarch Kirill
      Interfax-Religion, November 19, 2010

      Moscow, November 19, Interfax - Russia, Ukraine and Byelorussia have a special mission on the global arena, said Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.
      "We [the countries of the Russian world: Russia, Ukraine and Byelorussia] must make our own unique contribution to the development of the human civilization," the Patriarch said at a meeting with the alumni of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Academy and diplomats in Moscow.
      There have been statements lately about the relativism of moral principles, "leading in a number of countries to the fall of family values, legalization of immoral models of behavior such as drug addiction, prostitution and homosexualism," he said. "It is the mission of the Russian world to thwart this destructive trend leading humankind into a deadlock," Patriarch Kirill said.
      Today the deficit of moral values "is being felt in international relations like never before, with many countries succeeding in building effective economies, coherently advancing their national interests and strengthening of the technological potential," he said.
      However, all these achievements "remain a 'colossus on clay feet' unless they are propped by moral values, by the integrity of human personality, as the recent global crisis has shown well," the Primate said.
      Russia has "both spiritual and intellectual potential to face up to the super-challenges, one of which is to change the spiritual and, intellectual paradigm, including in the international relations," he said.
      In the modern world, no country "can declare itself a serious global player without an articulate moral position and a vision of the humankind's ideology," and "the great power is characterized by the ability to defend the traditions of its people, its religious, cultural values and the moral backbone of society," the Patriarch said.


      Eid al-Adha in Moscow should do without bloody spectacles - Sobyanin
      Interfax-Religion, November 22, 2010

      Moscow, November 22, Interfax - Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin stated there shouldn't be "provocative spectacles" on Eid al-Adha in the capital.
      "I think that Muslims themselves don't need them: such provoking, bloody spectacles, no one needs them. It's a question of organization. It should be organized without provoking shows, without blood," Sobyanin said in an interview with the program Saturday News with Sergey Brilev on Rossiya TV.
      "It's elementary organization that needs to be regulated. I think that it'll be settled in Moscow," the mayor stressed.
      Last week a group of renowned figures of culture turned to Sobyanin with an open letter urging him to make practice of Eid al-Adha sacrifice more civilized.
      "We are extremely depressed with the situation that is taking place in Moscow in recent years. On the days of celebrations dedicated to religious Muslim feast Kurban Bairam (Eid al-Adha - IF) animals are publicly slaughtered in various places of Moscow and many Muscovites including children have to watch it," celebrities told the mayor in their letter as its text was conveyed to Interfax-Religion.
      According to them, sights at the unsanctioned slaughters "cause shock of people not accustomed to cruelty." Alive sheep with tied legs "are put into luggage of passenger cars, killed and carved near the trucks in presence of live animals, at the same places blood-covered corps are weighted."
      Raids of animal protection organizations called by Muscovites disclosed dozens of sites where animals were massively slaughtered near apartment buildings, shops and schools.
      "Such situation cannot but cause serious concerns. It is well-known that accepting screens of violence and cruelty as a norm makes people more hardhearted and extremely negative influence social prosperity," the stars stress.
      Besides, they believe that public slaughter of animals cause "condemnation and protest of the capital's residents and it constantly leads to conflict situations."
      Authors of the address say they respect religious feelings of Muslims, but believe that "bloody public sacrifices of animals is alien tradition for Russia where great humanists Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Yesenin, Leskov, Chekhov, Gorky and many others spared no effort to strengthen norms of compassionate attitude to any life."
      Celebrities ask the new Moscow mayor to sign instructions to ban holding the rite in public and strictly limit its sites as it was done in 2006.


      Participants in the first sanctioned gay picket in St. Petersburg were egged and almost beaten
      Interfax-religion, November 22, 2010

      St. Petersburg, November 22, Interfax - The first ever authorized gay rights rally in Russia was held in St. Petersburg on Saturday, organizer Maria Yefremenkova told Interfax.
      The protest lasted about 40 minutes, with demonstrators forced to end it early after clashes with anti-gay protesters broke out, she said.
      "There were about a hundred of them, they were insulting us and making intolerant remarks," Yefremenkova said.
      "They pelted us with eggs, shouted, broke our banners and tore our rainbow flag," she said.
      "After that, we decided to end the picket," she said.
      She did however add that she was "very happy and inspired" following the decision by the authorities to allow the demonstration to be held.
      Ten people took part in the protest on Bolshaya Moskovskaya Street, according to the police. The venue and time of the event had been agreed upon with the Central District administration.
      St. Petersburg police arrested ten anti-gay protesters.
      "A group of ten people attempted to obstruct the sanctioned event by using thuggish methods. They were detained and taken to a police station," a police source said.
      These people have been held administratively liable for disorderly conduct, he said.


      Foreign Ministry Recommends US To Turn To Russian Scholars For Consultations
      Itar-Tass, November 23, 2010

      MOSCOW, November 23 (Itar-Tass) - Russian Foreign Ministry has issued a recommendation to experts from the U.S. Department of State to turn to authoritative Russian scholars for consultations so as to improve their knowledge of the situation around religion in this country.
      The recommendation is specified in the answers the Foreign Ministry's official spokesman issued Monday night in connection with reporters' questions after the publication of a report on the religious situation in different countries by the U.S. Department of State.
      "We'd like to say we didn't find anything basically knew for ourselves and we know the situation in this sphere here much better than foreign experts do," the comments issued by the spokesman said.
      "Quite naturally, it would be unwise to think that an extrapolation of America's own experience of 200 years old to the millennium-long history of Russia with its unique multi-confessionary composition might make it possible for the U.S. experts to figure out the details of the system and character of our inter-religious relations," the document said.
      "We believe assistance from authoritative Russian scholars - historians, philosophers, theologians, and clerics - might help bring about an understanding of the situations here sooner of later," the spokesman said.
      "The authors of the report published by the Department of State couldn't leave the encouraging tendencies in this country unnoticed, although they tried to wash down this impression with the mouth-drawing claims over the alleged persecution of totalitarian sects and the privileged position of the Russian Orthodox Church," the spokesman said.
      "In this situation, one could also talk about the privileged position of the Roman Catholics in Italy and Poland, the Moslem religion in Turkey and Jordan, or Buddhism in India or Japan," the spokesman said.
      "Inter-confessionary peace and concord are part of Russia's invaluable heritage, which we treasure highly and keep up whatever the costs might be," the statement said.
      It stressed at the same time Russia's openness for this dialogue.

      Well-known Islam expert urges using Russian Empire's experience to establish multicultural society
      Interfax-Religion, November 23, 2010

      Moscow, November 23, Interfax - A well-known Islam expert Roman Silantyev believes that Russia's experience in relations with Muslims before 1917 may be applied to establish a modern multicultural society.
      "I think we better return to the principles that Russia's government applied before 1917: those who do not want to live with the Orthodox in peace, cease to live next to them. This approach will guarantee a real peaceful multiculturalism," Silantyev is quoted as saying by Izvestia daily.
      According to him, this allowed Russia to establish a multicultural society where Muslims had maintained their ethnic and religious identity but lived in enclaves - in the Caucuses, Middle Asia and along the Volga river.
      "There is a difference when a Muslim kills a lamb to celebrate Eid al-Adha, either in his ancestral village or in the mosque yard, or at the landing of a unit building mostly populated by non-Muslim tenants," Silantyev said.
      According to him, the Russian multicultural society of 18-19th centuries was supported by a strong state, which "used both encouraging words and rifles to maintain inter-religious peace."
      "For example, the friendly Muslim society was formed by continuous targeted efforts of the government which not only encouraged its loyal leaders, but also put down any attempts to turn Muslims into a "fifth column"," Silantyev said.


      Kaliningrad's Orthodox Christians accuse Catholics of proselytizing plot
      Interfax-Religion, November 23, 2010

      Kaliningrad, November 23, Interfax - More than 600 Orthodox Christians in Kaliningrad issued a statement accusing the city's Roman Catholic community of a scheme to proselytize Orthodox believers.
      The statement followed a heated debate over an order by the city administration to hand over 15 buildings to the Orthodox community including the former Catholic Church of the Holy Family.
      Angered Catholics and members of opposition parties have held several street demonstrations and have written an open letter to the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, and the Russian government.
      The Orthodox statement, which came as a response to those protests, said the Catholic community's letter represented "not as much the voice of citizens who are seeking ministry for their religious needs as a desire on the part of the Catholic community to enlarge what is already a noticeable local presence of their faith, for some reason citing the historical truth."
      Catholics were a religious minority in East Prussia, the former German province that is today's Kaliningrad Region, and are a religious minority in Russia today, the statement said.


      Moscow rejects U.S. allegations about religious inequality
      Interfax-Religion, November 23, 2010

      Moscow, November 23, Interfax - Russia's Foreign Ministry rejected allegations by the U.S. State Department that there exists inequality between religious communities representing different faiths in Russia.
      The State Department made its allegations in the 2010 Report on International Religious Freedom.
      "The authors of the State Department report were unable to ignore positive trends in our country relating to religious freedoms," the ministry spokesman said in a statement.
      However, "the American experts tried to dilute this impression by listing hackneyed complaints about the 'persecution' of totalitarian religious sects and the allegedly privileged status of the Russian Orthodox Church," he said.
      If the Orthodox Church enjoys a privileged status in Russia, "one should speak about the same status of the Catholic Church in Italy or Poland, the Muslim [community] in Turkey or Jordan, or the Buddhist [community] in India or Japan," the spokesman said.
      "The crux of the matter is apparently not privileges but social status. Such status above all depends on what proportion of the population wants to join a specific church. The Orthodox Church in Russia has traditionally commanded the largest flock, and the State Department report mentions it, by the way," he said.
      "The Muslim denomination is second in our country in terms of the number of believers, etc.," the spokesman said.
      "Consequently, different denominations and religions may have different representation in civil society institutions. But that is a human factor," he said.
      "Legally, the various denominations are equal in status in our country. The growth of the number of registered religious communities, of which there already are 23,500 in Russia, is evidence of this," the spokesman said.
      "Interdenominational peace and harmony is an invaluable asset of Russia, something that we treat very carefully, making all necessary efforts to preserve it," he said.


      Only Russia can save Europe from Islamisation, Zhirinovsky believes
      Interfax-Religion, November 24, 2010

      Moscow, November 24, Interfax - The leader of the Liberal Democratic Party Vladimir Zhirinovsky believes Russia can help Western countries to meet the challenge of Islamisation.
      "If the threat of Africa, Asia and Islamisation aggravates, only Russia will be able to save those countries, and this is going to be still another "Suvorov's march" crossing the Alps, but not by the soldiers and the army, but by some joint projects aimed at restraining Europe's conquest by the Asians and the Africans," he said in a TV show Main Subject (3rd Channel).
      According to Zhirinovsky, Arabs will soon account for the majority of Paris population. He also emphasized the challenges of assimilating Turks in Germany and Albanians and Kurds in Europe.
      A well-known writer Yelena Chudinova, speaking of tolerance, said "virtue without reason is a sin" and "tolerance has long been a sin."
      "All our tolerance has been a one-way street. If the situation were different, there would be a dialog. As any reasonable person, I would prefer a dialog, but our tolerance has been viewed as our weakness, and this is where the two mentalities clash," she said.
      Head of the Permanent Mission of Russia to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said "tolerance will kill" the Western countries.
      "We are not turning a blind eye on these problems, that is, when we see any evil or naked aggression, we are not blinking at it. But they are trying to be unaware, that is, not trying to assimilate or make these new developments their own and digest them," Rogozin said.


      Russian human rights body receives threatening email
      Interfax, November 29, 2010

      Moscow, 29 November: Activists from the Moscow human rights bureau intend to appeal to the law-enforcement bodies over a threatening email.
      "It is difficult to say who is behind this letter - a movement or an individual madman. However, that the letter is aimed against the antifascist organization is clear," Aleksandr Brod, director of the Moscow human rights bureau and member of the Public Chamber, told Interfax on Monday (29 November).
      In his words, the letter arrived at the Moscow human rights bureau office on Monday by electronic mail.
      The Moscow human rights bureau and other human rights organizations have in recent times received letters with extremist content on more than one occasion. Lists of enemies of the people featuring well-known public figures have been posted on radical nationalists' Internet sites.
      Human rights centre Sova, which like the Moscow human rights bureau specializes on monitoring xenophobia in Russia, has received letters containing threats in the past.
      "We have approached the prosecutor's office in connection with this on more than one occasion - measures are not being taken," said Brod.
      "The number of attacks motivated by xenophobia and radical nationalism has gone down in Russia in recent times. However, radically nationalistic organizations are still active; they continue to recruit young people.
      The holding of the Russian march in Moscow and other Russian cities on 4 November proves this," said Brod.
      He said that human rights organizations are seeking a meeting with the leadership of the Office of the Prosecutor-General to get prosecutors to react to the threats aimed at public activists.
      Brod told Interfax on 16 November that almost 40 people had died in Russia this year as a result of attacks motivated by xenophobia and ethnic intolerance.
      "Between January and 15 November 2010 the Moscow human rights bureau registered 170 attacks motivated by xenophobia which resulted in 39 deaths and injuries to 213 people," he said.
      Broad said that in 2010 the largest number of incidents motivated by radical xenophobia took place in Moscow and Moscow Region (17 people killed, 75 injured), Dagestan (6 killed, 7 injured), Nizhniy Novgorod Region (2 killed, 4 injured).

      Medvedev informs Patriarch Kirill about signing the law on religious property return
      Interfax-Religion, November 30, 2010

      Moscow, November 30, Interfax - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a law on religious property return to religious organizations.
      The head of state told Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia about it in the Church of Nativity of the Mother of God in the Grand Kremlin Palace that, according to the law, should be transferred to the Russian Orthodox Church.
      "Here is a special place. Taking this opportunity I would like to inform you that today I have a signed a law on religious property return to religious organizations. It is a serious law that was long discussed and coordinated," Medvedev said addressing the Patriarch.
      The President noted that the law is adopted in optimal version. According to him, this document settles a number of topical problems that the Russian Orthodox Church and other religious organizations are facing.
      On his turn, the Patriarch thanked the President and the parliament for adopting the law.
      "The document proves that our country overcomes hard aftereffects and restores justice. Only the state that bases on justice can have the future... The law is the result of certain compromises, but that's what it should be," Patriarch Kirill said.


      Patriarch Kirill's influence stably grows - experts
      Interfax-Religion, December 1, 2010

      Moscow, December 1, Interfax - According to the regular monthly rating of leading Russian politicians compiled by the Agency of Political and Economic Communications, influence of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has grown in November.
      The rating table published by the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily on Wednesday gives the Patriarch the sixth place among hundred leading country's figures, whose influence the agency estimated as very powerful. In October, the Primate held the seventh place in this list, in September he was the eighth and in August - the ninth.
      The rating of hundred most influential Russian politicians is based on an expert pall held as secret questionnaire. In September 2010, 23 experts participated in it including politicians, political consultants, media experts, representatives of political parties.



      Russian TV Channel Pushes 'Patriot' Conspiracy Theories
      By Sonia Scherr
      Southern Poverty Law Center Intelligence Report, 2010, Issue 139

      Five years ago, Russia Today made its debut as a news network aimed at enhancing Russia's image in the West.
      Recently, however, the Kremlin-financed television channel has devoted considerable airtime not only to coverage that makes Russia look good, but to coverage that makes the United States look bad. Over the past year and a half, Russia Today has reported with boosterish zeal on conspiracy theories popular in the resurgent "Patriot" movement, whose adherents typically advocate extreme antigovernment doctrines. Its slickly packaged stories suggest that a legitimate debate is under way in the United States about who perpetrated the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, for instance, and about President Obama's eligibility for high office.
      Russia Today's vision of the U.S. - a Byzantine nation animated by all kinds of dark conspiracies - is beamed out to as many as 200 million people.
      It also frequently quotes U.S. extremists as authorities on world events or interviews them at length without asking anything more than softball questions. One British journalist called Russia Today "a strange propaganda outfit" after appearing on a show in which the host injected Sept. 11 revisionism.
      Unlike most U.S.-based Patriot radio shows that do the same, the Moscow-headquartered Russia Today has a large global audience tuning in via cable, satellite and the Internet. In North America, Europe and South Africa, some 200 million paying viewers — including a growing number in the United States — have access to the network. Last year, more Washington, D.C.-area viewers told Nielsen Media Research they preferred to watch primetime news on Russia Today than on such other English-language foreign networks as Deutsche Welle (Germany), France 24, Euronews (France), CCTV News (China) and Al Jazeera English (Qatar). On YouTube, Russia Today ranks among the top 10 most-viewed news and political channels of all time. It employs some 2,000 staff worldwide, including about 100 in its recently opened Washington, D.C., office. (That makes its staff larger than Fox News, which reports a worldwide staff of 1,200, and about half the size of that of cable news pioneer CNN.) Russia Today has launched sister networks in Arabic and Spanish in addition to its flagship English broadcasting service.
      Though a spokeswoman for Russia Today declined to give the amount of its annual budget, the Russian government has pumped millions into the network since its inception in 2005.
      Kathryn Stoner-Weiss, deputy director of the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, said the network's target audience appears to be second- and third-generation members of the Russian diaspora in the United States and abroad, along with foreign investors and international media. "It's clearly a pro-Russian perspective; that's the purpose of Russia Today," she said. "Sometimes, a pro-Russia perspective involves an anti-somebody-else perspective — and we're the most useful target at certain times."
      Plugging 9/11 Plots
      Russia Today's officials, who have long insisted that they operate without government influence despite multimillion-dollar subsidies, contend that the network is simply presenting a fresh take on the news. (Full disclosure: Intelligence Report Editor Mark Potok appeared on the April 26 edition of Russia Today's "CrossTalk" program to discuss the rise of militias. The network also aired an interview with a militia leader who criticized the Southern Poverty Law Center's characterization of militia groups.) In a statement to the Intelligence Report, Russia Today Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan called the network's editorial policy "open and balanced" and dismissed criticism that the channel gives undue airtime to fringe ideas. "We don't talk about 9/11 any more than U.S. media discusses who was behind the 1999 explosions in Moscow," she wrote, referring to a series of deadly apartment bombings that helped spark the Second Chechen War. "Moreover, our own journalists have never claimed or even as much as hinted that the U.S. government may have been behind the tragedy of 9/11."
      That last claim is debatable at best. Russia Today has churned out dozens of stories that focus solely on the perspective of "9/11 truthers" — the small minority that, despite overwhelming evidence, rejects the government's finding that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were perpetrated by al-Qaeda terrorists flying planes into buildings. Last year, for instance, independent producer Lori Harfenist, whose program "The Resident" is carried regularly on Russia Today, interviewed New Yorkers on the street about whether they thought Sept. 11 was "an inside job." "Eight years after the attacks on U.S. soil on Sept. 11, 2001, questions still loom as to whether there were more people involved or if the U.S. government had anything to do with it," she said in her introduction to that program. "Do you think the events were purely terrorist attacks or do you think there were conspiratorial forces behind them?" The following statement appeared on the television screen throughout the segment: "New Yorkers unsure whether 9/11 was terrorist attack or inside job."
      Russia Today also appears to give credence to the Sept. 11 truthers in its news and commentary. For instance, the network reported on Oct. 13, 2009, that a judge would not let New Yorkers vote on whether to launch a new investigation into Sept. 11. "If a government by the people ignores the people, many wonder if here democracy is becoming a hypocrisy," the reporter concluded. The channel also spoke extensively with Luke Rudkowski, the founder of We Are Change, a group that not only seeks "the truth" behind the Sept. 11 attacks but also frets about a looming "one world order," a classic Patriot fear. "We go up to members … we shake their hands and we ask them what happens when you meet with the world's elites and banking media corporations and governments all around the world in secret," Rudkowski said in the April 13, 2009, interview. The Russia Today host did not challenge Rudkowski's suggestion of international conspiracies by world elites, a common theme on the U.S. radical right. On Feb. 11, Russia Today interviewed another We Are Change activist. Manny Badillo claimed that newly released Sept. 11 photos prove that explosives, not planes, brought down the buildings.
      At the time of the last anniversary of Sept. 11, the channel published a four-part series on its website titled "911 Reasons why 9/11 was (probably) an inside job." The articles, by Russia Today commentator Robert Bridge, report uncritically on discredited notions about Sept. 11, including the possibility that a bomb inside the towers contributed to their collapse and that the CIA had advance knowledge of the attack. On March 10, one of Russia Today's top stories was headlined "Americans continue to fight for 9/11 truth." That story, about a Pennsylvania gathering of Sept. 11 truthers, reported incorrectly that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) listed Rudkowski's We Are Change as a hate group along with the Ku Klux Klan. (In fact, this year the SPLC added We Are Change to its Patriot group listing, which is distinct from the hate group listing and includes hard-line antigovernment organizations that engage in groundless conspiracy theorizing.)
      Russia Today's focus on Sept. 11 "truth" hasn't gone unnoticed. Douglas Murray, a British journalist and conservative political commentator, posted a withering blog item earlier this year about his "CrossTalk" appearance. "You can probably imagine," he wrote on Feb. 15, "indeed can see, the look of astonishment that I and my fellow guest felt when the presenter declared to us, in the middle of a discussion about a totally different subject, that `the people that perpetrated 9/11 were not even fundamentalists at all.'" (The show's host, Peter Lavelle, told The Moscow Times that show had been a "fiasco" because bad weather had prevented him from lining up guests to argue both sides of the issue under discussion.)
      Russia Today editor-in-chief Simonyan told the Intelligence Report that "the last time we talked about it [the Sept. 11 truthers movement] was in March." On May 20, however, the channel published another article by Bridge on its website that again questioned the 9/11 Commission Report. The article asserted that the official report "has only served to fuel suspicions about that watershed moment that will dominate U.S. foreign and domestic policy for many years to come."
      Simonyan is by no means a seasoned veteran of the practice of objective journalsim. Born in Russia of Armenian parents, Simonyan was only 25 when the Kremlin named her editor-in-chief of the new network five years ago. Washington Post Moscow correspondent Peter Finn, quoted in a September 2008 article on the website Russia Beyond the Headlines, called the network a "breathless cheerleader" for the Kremlin, one which carefully avoided topics deemed too critical of then-President Vladimir Putin. The article continued: "During the [2008] conflict in South Ossetia, one of Russia Today's foreign journalists resigned, claiming that his reports were being censored to meet the official line. Even longtime Kremlin adviser Vyacheslav Nikonov at first referred to Russia Today as `too amateurish.'"
      Birthers, Militiamen and Racists
      It's not just conspiracy theories about Sept. 11 that preoccupy Russia Today. The channel has also reported on the false notion that Obama was born outside the United States and therefore is ineligible for the presidency. The channel in March interviewed Dr. Orly Taitz, an émigré from the former Soviet republic of Moldova and a chief proponent of the "birther" movement who gained notoriety in August 2009 by unveiling Obama's supposed Kenyan birth certificate — a document quickly exposed as a laughable forgery — and also has made a whole raft of other completely unsupported claims. Though the host noted that major American media outlets have refuted birther claims, he did not state that Obama has made public his birth certificate, even when Taitz asserted that "Obama himself owed allegiance to three other nations." Taitz has made other appearances on Russia Today.
      Sometimes Russia Today seems to want to have it two ways. A July 31, 2009, article on its website reported that Hawaii officials had confirmed that Obama was born there. It went on to state, however, that Obama was "being asked a lot of questions," including the "particularly embarrassing" one about his birthplace. It quoted a correspondent for the far-right website World Net Daily who suggested that, if the birth certificate exists, Obama should display it. The article didn't mention that White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told World Net Daily that the birth certificate is posted on the Internet.
      In addition, a Nov. 25, 2009, Russia Today story reported that James David Manning, the black pastor of a Harlem church, not only sees "pure evil" in Obama — but also contends he's not a U.S. citizen. The story noted Manning's views are controversial, but concluded, "Pastor Manning remains undeterred in his rhetoric, despite the criticism of his community." (Manning is apparently a friend of Taitz, joining her for a tiny 2009 protest in front of Fox News' offices in New York after Fox's Bill O'Reilly called Taitz "a nut.")
      Manning isn't the only fringe figure to whom Russia Today has given exposure. Conspiracy-minded radio host Alex Jones makes frequent appearances. In a softball interview last year, Jones rehashed a signature Patriot conspiracy theory when he described the United States as a tool of the "New World Order" and asserted that the world is "controlled by the Bilderberg Group." (The Bilderberg Group is an international, invitation-only group of influential business and government figures that meets privately every year. Many on the American radical right, including a number of anti-Semites, have long seen the Bilderberg group as being behind all kinds of nefarious plots.) "The New World Order," Jones said in his April 7, 2009, show, "is just a super-rich international mafia of oligarchs that are playing God, who want to abolish and bankrupt nation states so they can set up an international order, where the planet is owned by a private bank." The host, Anastasia Churkina, did not challenge any of Jones' claims. In fact, Russia Today has sought Jones' opinion on topics ranging from Internet security to a Philadelphia school district's webcam spying scandal to the BP oil spill response. (He sees a federal conspiracy in all these cases.) An April 16 story headlined "Alex Jones reacts to news of potential oil shortages" gives odd weight to the opinion of the self-described truth teller. Consider the story's opening paragraph: "In a new report, U.S. military officials are warning of a drop in oil production as early as 2012, but Alex Jones says that this may be true, and if so, it is the result of a conspiracy."
      Longtime militia organizer Jim Stachowiak — a controversial figure even in Patriot circles — also is a regular guest on Russia Today. Earlier this year, the Georgia-based radio host appeared on the network to defend Charles Dyer, a prominent associate of the Patriot group Oath Keepers until Dyer was charged with child sex abuse in January. "We're standing by Dyer," said Stachowiak, who wore a "Don't Tread on Me" hat and referred to the ATF (the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) as the "American Terrorism Force."
      Even white nationalist Jared Taylor has found a platform on Russia Today. On Feb. 8 of this year, when Taylor participated in a "CrossTalk" discussion of whether Obama is a post-racial president, host Lavelle introduced him as an author and editor of American Renaissance journal but made no mention of his blatantly racist views. (In 2005, for instance, Taylor wrote in his journal: "Blacks and whites are different. When blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western civilization — any kind of civilization — disappears.") Russia Today was also the only major media outlet to interview Taylor after multiple hotels cancelled his magazine's biannual conference in February. It did not seek comment from the activists behind the campaign to shut down the conference, which brings together prominent white supremacists and academic racists from the United States and abroad.
      But editor-in-chief Simonyan denied the channel is providing a forum for extremists. "We don't give airtime to public figures who you call extremist any more than CNN and other channels give airtime to people who many in Russia consider extremists," she said.
      Yet Russia Today is clearly serving the interests of those who promote the ideas that animate the burgeoning Patriot movement. The channel gets rave reviews on Patriot websites, including Jones' Prison Planet Forum. "This is what mainstream news should be like," one forum poster declared on May 7 — ironically overlooking that his ideal media outlet is heavily subsidized by and very likely beholden to a government. "Russia Today," he said, "gets many kudos from me."


      Attempted Patriotic Boost in Russia Falls Flat
      By: Pavel K. Baev
      Eurasia Daily Monitor, Volume: 7 Issue: 202, November 8, 2010

      Last Sunday marked the 93rd anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution, which used to be the major official holiday in the Soviet Union and remains a date about which the Russians have mixed feelings, but only 9 percent see it as a catastrophe (www.levada.ru, November 2). The Communist Party held their traditional rallies, but they looked rather boring as the old-style party fails to connect with the discontent in the working classes caused by sharp social inequality and stagnant income (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, November 3). Not much more convincing were the official efforts to celebrate the Day of National Unity -a new holiday established five years ago as an attempt to transform old habits into a carefully orchestrated demonstration of loyalty to "Putin's course." Only some 14 percent of Russians celebrated this holiday, which is in fact hijacked by right-wing nationalists, who held a series of predictably ugly but not numerous marches (www.polit.ru, Ezhednevny Zhurnal, November 5).
      President Dmitry Medvedev presided over the ceremony in the Kremlin and used this opportunity for boosting his "patriotic" credentials, which were slightly compromised by his agreement to attend the NATO summit in Lisbon. German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, convinced him to make this "goodwill gesture," and he had to confirm it by greeting last week the Alliance's Secretary-General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen (RIA Novosti, November 3; Rossiyskaya Gazeta, November 2). This Atlantic "reset" answers the thrust of Medvedev's "modernization" course, ambivalent as it is, towards closer ties with Russia's Western partners. Suspecting that such "Westernization" exposes him to attacks from the conservative camp, Medvedev tries to compensate with assertive steps, like the visit to the disputed island of Kunashir. The predictable and absolutely unnecessary diplomatic row with Japan could jeopardize Russia's tangible economic interests, but this appears to be a small price to pay for the photo-op next to a rusty tank (Kommersant, November 3; Ekho Moskvy, November 6).
      Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, plays a more subtle "patriotic" game, for instance visiting the village that was rebuilt after the August fires under his personal control, or supervising the special edition of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's "GULAG Archipelago" for school curricular (Rossiyskaya Gazeta, October 27). Nor is Putin that keen to condemn Stalin's crimes, but Solzhenitsyn's pronounced Russian nationalism provides a useful ideological platform on which a greedy bureaucrat might look like a respectable conservative (Vedomosti, November 3). This positioning is transparently clear for the insiders in the Russian political class, and the famous film-maker Nikita Mikhalkov -always attuned to signals from the top- published last week a manifesto of "enlightened conservatism" lashing out against innovations influenced by pro-Western liberalism (www.gazeta.ru, November 1). The passion of this anti-modernization appeal was perhaps slightly embarrassing for Putin, but his political agenda is very much about "taking Russia back" from those who try to reduce the privileges of state bureaucracy.
      What overshadowed the half-hearted attempts to invent a holiday and revealed the vanity of petty political games was the sad news about Viktor Chernomyrdin, Yeltsin's loyal prime minister and Putin's envoy to Ukraine, who passed away last Wednesday. He was famous for his talent for political wit, such as: "We wanted to do better, and it has turned out as usual." The funeral was organized with all due official pomp; Putin and Medvedev stood together and said properly respectful words, as if illustrating the fact that it had indeed turned out as usual (www.grani.ru, November 3). Chernomyrdin, however, is remembered because he really wanted to do better. He was a statesman of high integrity and low pretence, and possessed solid common sense that guided him through the political turmoil of the 1990's. The thought that Russia would have been in safer hands and on a straighter track had Boris Yeltsin opted for the obvious successor overcoming jealous worries that Chernomyrdin was ready for the job, was on many minds (Vremya Novostei, November 3; Ekho Moskvy, November 5).
      Many commentators also reflected on the Budennovsk hostage drama when Chernomyrdin took responsibility for negotiating with the terrorists and saved hundreds of lives (Moskovsky Komsomolets, www.gazeta.ru, November 3). Many tragedies happened in the 15 years of civil war that followed, but not once were the authorities prepared to put human lives above their ambitions. These days the North Caucasus is again engulfed by a wave of violent instability and terrorist attacks hit targets of choice every week despite the maximum intensity of counter-insurgency operations (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, November 3). Medvedev is trying to combine tough Putinesque rhetoric with a new development strategy centered on stimulating investment in the region. Medvedev's envoy, Aleksandr Khloponin, tries to open the local economies depressed by severe corruption for normal business, but he has no authority over Ramzan Kadyrov, who struggles to keep Chechnya under his despotic control, and has little leverage to mediate the violent clan struggle in Dagestan. His accusation that instability in the North Caucasus is fuelled by Western special services reveals his helplessness before the gathering storm (RIA Novosti, October 26).
      Rebels keep the initiative in the region, and they know that the federal authorities would be propelled to action, and indeed over-reaction, only when Sochi or Moscow is hit, and consequently the terrorists are able to plan attacks on high-value targets at the moment of their choosing. This creates a high probability that the 2011-2012 election cycle may be heavily influenced by the threat of terrorism, unlike the previous election, when Putin was able to reformat the structure of leadership as he saw fit. It does not mean, however, that the patriotic mobilization of 1999-2000 could be reproduced because the futility of "forceful solutions" and the shameless exploitation of fears by the ruling regime for prolonging its own existence are too obvious (www.gazeta.ru, November 3).
      Bitter words about the degeneration of stability into stagnation and over the hypocrisy of mainstream "patriotism" were heard by many Russians last week far louder than the official declarations of "national unity." Mikhail Khodorkovsky said that he was ashamed of his state in the final word of his grossly falsified trial (Novaya Gazeta, November 3). Khodorkovsky also spoke about his hope for Russia becoming a modern state with a strong civil society. This hope is shared by millions who remain silent in the noise of propaganda fanfare. Their choice will be made in the streets because ballot boxes cannot be trusted.


      Ultra-conservatives, liberals inside Russian Orthodox Church at odds
      By: Lyudmila Alexandrova
      ITAR-TASS, November 16, 2010

      In the Russian Orthodoxy there has developed an ever clearer standoff of the ultra-conservatives and those whom they consider as "liberals" and "modernists." It looks like the Moscow Patriarchate does not have a clear understanding what is to be done about this, and it offers practically no comment on this matter.
      This confrontation, says the daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta, is accompanied by not just verbal exchanges, as before, but mass demonstrations by Orthodox radicals on the brink of a scandal. It has turned out that there is no one capable of stopping the marginal dissenters as long as the law enforcement authorities stay away from the conflict.
      One of the leaders of the Orthodox "ultras" is Archimandrite Pyotr (Kucher), whose views are highly radical. Starting from 1997 he has determined the spiritual atmosphere at the women's monastery in Bogolyubovo, in the Vladimir region. In 2004, an attempt by the diocesan leadership to remove the Archimandrite of the monastery was foiled by a mass street procession in the center of Vladimir and threats of setting fire to the residence of the bishop, who was forced to return to the nuns their spiritual father, recalls the website NEWSru.com.
      On November 7 this year Bogolyubovo people besieged the diocesan school in Suzdal, which earlier gave refuge to juveniles, who had escaped from the convent to complain about cruel treatment. The next day they besieged the residence of the bishop of Vladimir. Now the fugitives are under the protection of Suzdal prosecutors.
      Another radical branch, says Nezavisimaya Gazeta, is the Society of Blessed Matrona of Moscow, led by Archpriest Anatoly (Chibrik), which has operated in Chisinau since 2003.
      In May this year the society opposed Patriarch Kirill, of Moscow and All Russia, to address him with an appeal containing ultimatum-like demands and this message: "You do not represent us." They also called on the head of the Russian Orthodox Church to "repent". The main complaint of the authors of the messages is this. The ROC's participation in the ecumenical movement has considerably intensified. This means that pretty soon there will happen "the emergence of a unified church - in our view, the Church of the Antichrist."
      Archdeacon Andrei Kurayev, a figure close to the Patriarch, was the main target of their next attack. On October 12 tens of Blessed Matrona society followers burst into the room at the Theological University of Chisinau, where Kurayev was delivering a lecture, and upset the event. On November 10, when he arrived at the building of Moldova's archdiocese, Kurayev was blocked by a crowd of aggressive "ultras." After the hours-long siege Kurayev was rescued from the building by reinforced police patrols.
      There are other examples. On November 10 it suddenly turned out that the Pokrovsky Convent, in Udmurtia, according to the local diocese of the ROC, has for about ten years been "in schism with the Russian Orthodox Church and obeyed no authority," and that "its abbot, Vladimir (Naumov) is prohibited from serving, but continues to serve of his own accord." He teaches his flock to reject the new passports and the taxpayer identification number, to refuse to send children to school, and to defy the hierarchy of subordination. Also, he maintains contact with Archimandrite Pyotr (Kucher).
      By the way, as the ROC has said, the priests who call on their spiritual children to refuse to have passports, including Archpriest Anatoly (Chibrik), Archimandrite Pyotr (Kucher) and the former Bishop of Anadyr and Chukotka, Diomid all have the necessary documents of Russian citizens.
      It is impossible not to recall in this connection the monks and believers who boycotted the recent national population census, which they labeled as "the Antichrist list sign-up campaign." This trend has its own influential religious centers, such as the Pochayevo Monastery in Ukraine.
      Archpriest Alexei Lebedev in an article for Portal-Credo.Ru writes that among the existing "religious parties" within the ROC one observes approximately the same alignment as the rest of society. There are the "officials", the "liberals" and the "patriots," who try to influence the largest "party of the majority."
      Today's tide of passions is explained by the fact that inside each of the parties within the church there are enough support groups consisting of church, government and business elites, says Lebedev. "The situation looks abnormal, because the exposed the conflict is being dealt with at the level of "external", secular authorities and the mass media, and as the dispute proceeds, one can hear the voices of everybody but those of the ROC clergy. Neither the Patriarch, nor the heads of the synodal departments, nor the diocesan bishop provide any public comment," he stressed.
      The attitude of the so-called party of "officials" is the clearest of all. That party, Lebedev said, unites the highest ecclesiastical functionaries, who are most interested in the stability of the contemporary social situation.
      The opponents of the ultra-conservatives within the ROC are quite varied. First and foremost, they are newly-baptized intellectuals, concerned about adequate responses by the Church to the questions posed to it by the predominantly post-Christian world. They have confidence in such supporters of the liberalization of Orthodoxy as late Alexander Menh.
      Secondly, there are advocates of the so-called "mission" in modern society, who try to convey their "politicized ecclesiasticism" with modern media tools: rock concerts, internet technologies and social networking. "There is no place for the Church in the spiritual ghetto," says one of the prominent "missionaries," Kirill Frolov.
      Among those on the side of Elder Peter and the other "ultras" there are several groups of people. First of all, the adorers of contemporary "eldership," a phenomenon that began to flourish inside the ROC literally from the moment of its latest rebirth.
      Another group of support for the ultra-conservatives are church "patriots" and "Orthodox Stalinists." Their spiritual father in the 1990s was Metropolitan Ioann (Snychev), of St. Petersburg. This party is a living reflection of the so-called "patriotic forces" existing in the country's political spectrum.
      Apparently, the Moscow Patriarchate does not seem to really understand what is to be done about the ultra-conservatives, says Nezavisimaya Gazeta. "The dismissal of Archimandrite Pyotr (Kucher) and his main opponent Priest Vitaly Rysev from all posts looks like an attempt to escape from making a fundamental decision and to drive the conflict deep inside, until a new outbreak."

      Ultra-Right Laity Creating Serious Problems for Moscow Patriarchate and for Russia, Moscow Paper Warns
      By: Paul Goble
      Window on Eurasia, November 16, 2010

      Vienna, November 16 - Just as at the end of the Imperial period, ultra-right Orthodox lay organizations are creating problems for the Moscow Patriarchate and for the Russian government even though such organizations sometimes enjoy support within the religious and political hierarchies, a Moscow newspaper has warned.
      In an editorial yesterday, "Nezavisimaya gazeta" that the phenomenon of "Orthodox against Orthodox or more precisely of ultra-Orthodox against those whom they consider `liberals' and `modernists' is becoming an ever more pronounced "trend" in Russian religious life over the last few months (www.ng.ru/editorial/2010-11-15/2_red.html).
      And most recently, the paper's editors continue, this conflict has spilled over from verbal exchanges in the religious media and blogosphere into "mass actions of Orthodox radicals who are balancing on the borders of scandal and pogroms" including open insubordination of some in the church hierarchy who believe they can rely on popular support against the Patriarchate.
      Such insubordination and the attacks of lay radicals on representatives of mainstream Orthodox figures undermine the cohesion of the Church hierarchy, as do the other events of recent weeks that "Nezavisimaya" points to in this editorial. But the specifics are less important than the reasons these tensions have arisen and the consequences they have for Russian society.
      Within the clerical hierarchy, there are some who share the views of the lay radicals, opposing such things as ecumenism or greater tolerance toward social diversity, and there are others who do not share those views but see the rise of Orthodox lay activism as a useful ally in their efforts to promote an expanded role for the Church in Russian life.
      Consequently, while the Moscow Patriarchate has taken a hard line against any open insubordination within the clergy, it has been unwilling or perhaps unable to take an equally tough line toward those in the laity who at every point argue that they are acting on behalf of Orthodoxy.
      And at the same time, with rare exceptions, the Russian powers that be have been reluctant to speak out against all but the very most extreme of the ultra-Orthodox lest the regime lose the support it has received in recent years from the Moscow Patriarchate whose relations with these lay groups is at the very least complicated.
      The exact numbers of the ultra-Orthodox are a matter of dispute, but in many areas, they form a significant portion of public activism, if only because they more than others appear quite prepared to try to intimidate their opponents as they tried in the case of Deacon Andrey Kurayev recently in Chisinau where he had to be rescued by the civil authorities.
      And there is a risk, given the hostility of many of the ultra-Orthodox to all minorities including Catholics, Protestants, Muslims and Jews, that some of these ultra-Orthodox movements might act on those feelings, much as before World War I when such people engaged in pogroms and other activities that discredited church and state and undermined public order.
      While many of the ultra-Orthodox may simply be deeply conservative and have no plans to take any such steps, there are some very troubling signs. At least some of their associates look back to the Black Hundreds as a role model, re-issuing its materials and attacking anyone who criticizes such groups for their criminal activities.
      For all these reasons, the problems "Nezavisimaya" points to could soon prove to be far more serious than the editors of that paper suggest, especially if both the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian powers that be fail to denounce such groups and dissociate themselves from them and equally if others concerned with human rights assume there is nothing to worry about.


      The Russian Extreme Right and Its Researchers: Moscow State University's Ideologue of Fascism Goes Scurrilous
      By: Andreas Umland
      Foreign Policy Journal, November 16, 2010

      Over the last 20 years, the small community of researchers of post-Soviet Russian ultra-nationalism has repeatedly become the target of verbal and non-verbal attacks, by their objects of research — Russian fundamentalists and racists. This is not an unusual phenomenon in the contemporary study of international right-wing extremism. Across the world, researchers of ultra-conservative and neo-fascist groups have been commented on in the most derogative ways by their "clients." Sometimes, academics and journalists had to defend themselves in the courts. Such conflicts have become part and parcel of doing research and publishing on extremist political groups.
      Peculiarities of the Russian lunatic fringe
      During the last decade, Russian extreme rightists have become especially fierce, in their assaults against researchers of ultra-nationalist politics and civil society actors with an anti-fascist agenda. The extreme right's behavior has been a reflection of both the generally high aggressiveness of the post-Soviet ultra-nationalist movement and the low development of the rule of law under Vladimir Putin. Numerous researchers, including for instance Galina Kozhevnikova and Aleksandr Verkhovskii, the directors of Moscow's "Sova" Center, a xenophobia monitoring NGO, have been threatened repeatedly and unequivocally by a variety of radically right-wing groups. In 2004, St. Petersburg ethnologist Nikolai Girenko, like a number of other anti-racist activists before and after, was killed. Girenko had been working as an analyst of the rising Russian neo-Nazi movement, and was obviously shot by one of its members. Many other journalists, scholars, and officials involved in the observation, analysis and containment of right-wing extremist activists in Russia have been scolded, defamed and intimidated, over the years.
      Being a researcher of the post-Soviet extreme right, I too have been the object of numerous defamations over the last years. While that was nothing special, more recently, I have become the target of a campaign that is peculiar in terms of its origins and methods. On September 29th, 2009, the Russian news agency Beta-Press.ru reported that I had been arrested the day before in Ukraine in connection with a pedophilia case (in fact, I was in Germany at that time). Beta-Press.ru claimed that I was arrested because, in 2007, I had allegedly attempted to rape a 13-year old girl. Beta-Press.ru also reported that BBC and Associated Press had allegedly found out that, in Germany, I am under scrutiny for child pornography trading. Supposedly, I was and am hiding from both Ukrainian and German law enforcement agencies. Several other Russian patriotic websites, including "Ruska Pravda" (Russian Truth) and "Malorossiia" (Little Russia), have since taken up these allegations and repeated them as well as related stories, a number of times. Every over month, a new report on my various "pedophilic" dealings as well as hiding in various places across Europe appears in the Russian internet. Thus my name was mentioned in connection with the infamous Crimea pedophiles scandal — a particularly filthy part of the generally dirty 2009-2010 presidential elections campaign in Ukraine. By now, "pedofil+Umland," in Cyrillic letters, produces dozens of hits on the Internet.
      Aleksandr Dugin's smear campaign
      There is indeed a link between the website Beta-Press.ru, where the campaign started, and me. According to information provided in 2009 and, in the meantime, changed, by the software developer Robtex.com, the site Beta-Press.ru points to the same IP address as the sites Dugin.ru, Vehi.tv and Eurasia.su. According to current information from Robtex.com, "Evrazia.org shares both name servers and mail servers with [the domain Beta-Press.ru]." All of these websites, including Beta-Press.ru and Evrazia.org, are closely linked to Aleksandr Dugin, leader of the International Eurasian Movement, ideologue of the Eurasian Youth Union administering the "Malorossiia" site, and host of the TV show "Vekhi" (Landmarks) transmitted by the Russian Orthodox cabel channel "Spas" (Savior). The biography, ideology and activities of Dugin were the subject of my second, 2007 Cambridge PhD called "Post-Soviet `Uncivil Society' and the Rise of Aleksandr Dugin: A Case Study of the Extraparliamentary Radical Right in Contemporary Russia." Out of this dissertation project grew a number of academic and journalistic articles in English, German, Russian and Ukrainian published in several academic journals as well as numerous newspapers and websites. My papers and columns analyzed Dugin's political activities and writings of the 1980s-2010s. Among others, they pointed out that Dugin has repeatedly and openly expressed his closeness to fascism, and even to some representatives of the Nazi movement including SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Tristan Heydrich — the main initial organizer of the Holocaust.
      Apparently, Dugin and his entourage noticed and did not like my publications. Dugin's "neo-Eurasians" and other Russian ultra-nationalists started writing about me, calling me a US agent, Russophobe, Orange provocateur, liberal racist, rootless cosmopolitan and various other things. Dugin's main website Evrazia.org wrote in March 2008 that, allegedly, I "was dismissed from Stanford, Harvard and Oxford [where I indeed once studied or/and held PostDocs - A.U.] because of homosexual harassment of colleagues." The "neo-Eurasians" most recent strategy has been to spread - via Beta-Press.ru and some other outlets close, but not immediately recognizable as related to the "neo-Eurasians", as well the through so-called WWW "trolling" - the slander that I am a pedophile and child pornography trader. In an April 2010 interview for the East Ukrainian website "Donetskii informatsionnyi resurs" (Donetsk Information Ressource), Dugin himself commented on the "pedophile Umland" and stated: "Andreas Umland, I would like to underline, spit most of all with hatred on the Russian-Ukrainian relations. Earlier he worked towards a separation of the Baltics from Russia, and was engaged in the rehabilitation of Nazi criminals in Ukraine. He put forward the most unbelievable lies and libels against all Russian patriots. That person was later involved in pedophile scandals in [the Crimean child holiday resort] Artek - this information is absolutely open and accessible to all."
      Aleksandr Dugin and the Russian political elite
      This could be dismissed as the ramblings of a lunatic maniac who should not be granted too much attention. However, Dugin is not a marginal figure. In spite of holding academic degrees from obscure Russian provincial institutions, he recently became a Professor at Russia's most prestigious higher education institution, the Moscow State University named after Lomonosov, where he currently holds the Chair of International Sociology and is the Director of the Sociology Faculty's Center for Conservative Studies. Although Dugin has, because of his affection to fascism, a tainted reputation since the 1990s, he is a frequent commentator in Moscow's mass media including the main TV channels ORT and NTV. During a 2005 visit to Washington, DC, Dugin enjoyed private meetings and being photographed with Zbigniew Brzezinski and Francis Fukuyama.
      Moreover, Dugin is a well-connected political actor with a number of high-ranking unofficial friends as well as some influential official allies in various Russian power branches and social organizations. The so-called Highest Council of Dugin's International Eurasian Movement included, during various periods of time, for instance, the Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council Aleksandr Torshin, the former Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation Aleksandr Sokolov, or the Head of the Federation Council's Foreign Affairs Committee Mikhail Margel<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
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