Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Russian nationalism -- Playing a dangerous game

By Aussiegirl

Here's an article about the increasing numbers of skinhead attacks in Russia against ethnic minorities. More evidence of a virulent form of Russian nationalism on the rise.

Russian nationalism Playing a dangerous game Economist.com
Alarmist rhetoric from President Vladimir Putin; skinhead violence on Russian streets. Is there a connection?

The relationship between this rhetoric, the Kremlin's bid to revive national pride using tsarist and Soviet symbols, and the hate on Russia's streets, is murky. Alexander Verkhovsky of the SOVA Centre, a Moscow think-tank, sees all of them as different manifestations of feelings of imperial nostalgia. Others think Mr Putin is deliberately tolerating, even cultivating, radical nationalism as a political tactic. Vladimir Ryzhkov, an independent member of parliament, says that Mr Putin may see himself as an emperor, but not as a Führer. Grigory Yavlinsky, a liberal politician, argues that the Kremlin is trying to appeal to nationalist instincts but also to portray itself as the country's only defence against them. The security services seem more concerned by leftist groups than rightist ones (some of which profess loyalty to the Kremlin). Meanwhile, liberal politicians are often labelled “fascists.”

From the pogroms of the 19th century to the intermittent racism of the Soviet Union, Russian rulers have tried to manipulate nationalism for their own ends. If that is the Kremlin's game, it is a risky one, and not just for the beleaguered immigrants—as the Kremlin may already have discovered. The Motherland party is widely thought to have been created by the Kremlin in order to drain votes away from the Communists in the parliamentary election of 2003. It was banned from participating in December's local election in Moscow after it ran an anti-immigrant advertisement with the slogan, “Let's rid our city of rubbish.” But Motherland's real crime, many thought, was not being too offensive—but becoming too popular.


At 5:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Is there a connection?"

That's a rhetorical question, right?


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