Category Archives: nationalism

EDITORIAL: There’s Sick, and then there’s Russian Sick

EDITORIAL

There’s Sick, and then there’s Russian Sick

Russia’s ability to surpass itself, week after appalling week, with ever lower levels of vile, nauseating, subhuman conduct is truly breathtaking.

Last week, Echo of Moscow Radio broke the story of how the annual Nashi orgy of xenophobia and aggressive nationalism known as Camp Selinger, a government-funded festival of barbaric outrage, plumbed inconceivable new depths by putting the virtual heads of opposition political leaders on pikes and decorating them as Nazis.

The Kremlin’s youthful thugs did not hesitate to include octogenarian Lyudmila Alexeeva among those so assaulted.

You read that right:  They put an eighty year old woman’s head on a pike and stuck a Nazi hat on her head. She’s a human rights activist. She’s utterly defenseless and frail. And she’s a Nazi.

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Russian Nazis on the Warpath

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Paul Goble reports:

Those taking part in the Russian March in Moscow yesterday – an officially authorized demonstration which organizers claimed attracted 7,000 people but which observers said included only about 700 – were given written instructions on how to acquire guns so that they would be able to defend what nationalist speakers called “the Russian order.”

Such calls in the increasingly overheated atmosphere of the Russian capital given the availability of guns of all kinds there are inherently provocative and could prompt their opponents among non-Russians to arm themselves in response, provide a justification for the authorities to crack down on the nationalists, or, quite possibly, do both.

And while there is as yet no Russian media reporting that Russian nationalist groups who organized similar marches on the Day of National Unity in dozens of places across the Russian Federation handed out the same advice in the same way, it is very probable that the participants received a similar message in one way or another.

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EDITORIAL: Russia’s New Iron Curtain

EDITORIAL

Russia’s New Iron Curtain

Polls appear to illustrate a rise in nationalism in Russia. While only 26 percent of respondents in 1991 said Russia should be for Russians, 54 percent said the same in the recent poll. The two polls also saw a 10 percentage point rise to 47 percent of respondents who said it is natural for Russia to have an empire. Fifty-eight percent of Russians in the new poll agreed that it is a great misfortune that the Soviet Union no longer exists.

The Moscow Times, November 3, 2009

Last week we carried a report from the New York Times that documented the Putin administration’s efforts to choke off the flow of information from Russian research institutions to the West.  No thinking person could fail to appreciate the disturbing echoes of this pathetic country’s Soviet past, especial when remembering that the nation is ruled by a proud KGB spy.

How long , we cannot help but wonder, will it be before the Putin government slaps the same sort of draconian Iron-Curtain controls on Russian citizens that is is now imposing on information? Not long, we think.

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Putin, Dancing with Neo-Nazis

Just say "NO!" to Nazis

Just say "NO!" to Nazis

Writing on the Open Democracy network Russian journalist Vladimir Tupikin says that the Putin regime is dancing to the tune of the country’s neo-Nazi movement:

On Tuesday 4 August 2009 the St. Petersburg City Court examined the appeal in the case of Alexei Bychin, a young anti-fascist arrested in the summer of last year. According to witnesses, the trial lasted around three minutes and upheld Bychin’s sentence: five years in a maximum security prison. From three to five, as people say in jest. But this time the story isn’t funny at all.

At the beginning of the white nights season in the middle of June 2008, a group of young punk rockers were walking around in the centre of Petersburg. Among them was Alexei Bychin, who had the ironic punk nickname Tolsty (Fatty), because he is thin and small (50 kg, 165 cm). There were girls in the group too.

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EDITORIAL: Psycho Russia, Qu’est-ce que c’est?

EDITORIAL

Psycho Russia, Qu’est-ce que c’est?

We simply don’t see how it’s possible to argue that neo-Soviet Russia is governed by anyone except a clan of barbarically ignorant madmen.  Given this reality, it’s impossible to imagine how Russia as we know it can survive.

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Vladimir Putin: acting tough, thinking short-term and keeping his country behind the West

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune Business Forum:

Since he came to power in 2000, Vladimir Putin has launched a campaign to recover Russian pride, prestige and influence lost with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Early on, he decided that Russian’s gas and oil supply would finance both the country’s economic recovery and its return as a global power. Even after stepping aside as president in 2008, Putin continues to make the idea of Russia’s comeback his personal project. His successor, President Dimitry Medvedev, has, by all accounts, identical aims.

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The Horror of Russian Nationalism, Unbound

The New York Times continues its series of articles published in the paper and translated into Russian on a ZheZhe blog, collecting comments in Russian which it then translates back into English. The latest installment exposes the phenomenon of nationalism in Putin’s neo-Soviet Russia, exploding the myth that Putins’ KGB regime lacks ideology.  Some hopeful Russian comments are digested following the text. Perhaps the most telling and typical is this neo-Soviet rationalization:

You gentlemen are interested in “Stalin” secrets. Why so? So many years have passed. If The New York Times was able to dig into the archives of the American secret services and the role of F.B.I. and C.I.A. in the organization of President Kennedy’s assassination, this interest would be understandable. However, there is one guess. A program of active (secret) propagandist operations has been put in motion on the Web. One more “Orange Revolution” is required, this time in Moscow. And human rights in the U.S.S.R. (Russia) and Stalin repressions are nothing but a smoke screen to cover a secret operation. Undoubtedly.

Another poor ignorant soul writes:  “The word ‘nationalism’ is not applicable to Russia at all (at least on the state level, on the level of everyday life, there is no more nationalism than in any other state).” A third claims:  “No matter how much mud they sling at Stalin his accomplishments are so obvious that all this propaganda hullabaloo does not impress anybody.” And so it goes in the wretched quagmire that is neo-Soviet Russia.

TOMSK, RUSSIA. For years, the earth in this Siberian city had been giving up clues: a scrap of clothing, a fragment of bone, a skull with a bullet hole. And so a historian named Boris P. Trenin made a plea to officials. Would they let him examine secret archives to confirm that there was a mass grave here from Stalin’s purges? Would they help him tell the story of the thousands of innocent people who were said to have been carted from a prison to a ravine, shot in the head and tossed over?

The answer was no, and Mr. Trenin understood what many historians in Russia have come to realize: Under Vladimir V. Putin, the attitude toward the past has changed. The archives that Mr. Trenin was seeking, stored on the fourth floor of a building in Tomsk, in boxes stamped “K.G.B. of the U.S.S.R.,” would remain sealed. The Kremlin in the Putin era has often sought to maintain as much sway over the portrayal of history as over the governing of the country. In seeking to restore Russia’s standing, Mr. Putin and other officials have stoked a nationalism that glorifies Soviet triumphs while playing down or even whitewashing the system’s horrors.

As a result, across Russia, many archives detailing killings, persecution and other such acts committed by the Soviet authorities have become increasingly off limits. The role of the security services seems especially delicate, perhaps because Mr. Putin is a former K.G.B. officer who ran the agency’s successor, the F.S.B., in the late 1990s.

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