Russian Civic Nation ‘Already Exists,’ Doesn’t Need to be Declared or Defined, Kremlin Official Says

Kremlin and River

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – March 18, 2017) Staunton, March 18 – Two weeks ago, efforts by the working group Vladimir Putin set up to define the meaning of a civic Russian nation (rossiiskaya natsiya) collapsed when the leaders of that group announced that they were refocusing a draft law on nationality policy more generally (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2017/03/putin-tishkov-push-to-define-civic.html). But yesterday, […]

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Russia Wants Immigrants the World Doesn’t;  While Europe and the U.S. tighten border controls, former Soviet states are encouraged by Moscow to send their workers.

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Ragozin – March 14, 2017) [Text with photos here bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-03-14/russia-s-alternative-universe-immigrants-welcome] On a brutally cold February day, hundreds of laborers from Uzbekistan mill around in the snow and mud of a construction site 10 miles outside Moscow. Surrounding them are a series of unfinished 18-story apartment blocks meant to serve as homes for Russian military officers. […]

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Peoples of Russia have Nothing in Common Except Loyalty to Putin, Kashin Says

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 9, 2017) Historians have often observed that one of the fundamental weaknesses of tsarist Russia was that the country was held together only by personalist ties of loyalty to the tsar and so that when the tsar was removed from the equation, Russia had little or no reason to continue to […]

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For Russia’s Labor Migrants, a Life on the Edge; In slum settlements on the outskirts of Moscow, foreign workers are adjusting to the realities of Russia’s economic crisis.

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Kupfer, Bradley Jardine – November 4, 2016) Not so long ago, the migrant population of Chelobityevo in northern Moscow lived in fear of the police. These were times when uniformed officers would descend on the village unannounced, beating and arresting undocumented workers in their path. Once, migrants were forced to strip naked in freezing […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Council for Interethnic Relations

Russia Regions Map

(Kremlin.ru – October 31, 2016) Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Council for Interethnic Relations in Astrakhan. The meeting addressed current issues related to implementing Russia’s National Ethnic Policy Strategy. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues, We are here today to discuss current issues concerning implementation of the National Ethnic Policy Strategy. As you know, we approved […]

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Russians Increasingly Indifferent to Idea of ‘Russia for the Russians,’ Polls Show

Russia Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 18, 2016) The share of Russians who back the idea of “Russia for the [ethnic] Russians” has remained almost unchanged at around 50 percent over the last 14 years, but the share of those who are indifferent to this idea has gone up by almost half from 14 to a high […]

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Putin’s Iron Grip, Forged in the Fires of Terrorism

Kremlin and River

(Stratfor.com – Lauren Goodrich – September 4, 2016) Sept. 4 marks Russia’s Day of Solidarity, a remembrance of two brutal terrorist incidents: the start of an apartment bombing campaign in 1999 and the bloody end of a siege at a Beslan school in 2004. Much as the 9/11 attacks changed the national psyche of the United States, those events altered […]

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The Real Threat to the Baltics Isn’t Russia — It’s Depopulation

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

Depopulation—Invisible Threat to Latvia’s Security (Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 13, Issue 132 – Olevs Nikers – July 21, 2016) [Also appeared at Russia Insider, with modified title and introductory capsule: “Between ethnic Russians leaving for #Russia and Balts leaving for the UK the three baltic states are emptying out — Latvia and Lithuania lost 8.3 […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Surveys show Russian nationalism is on the rise. This explains a lot about the country’s foreign and domestic politics.” – Washington Post/Richard Arnold

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

… annexing Crimea, Putin managed to steal the thunder of … supremacist Russian nationalists. But as long as waves of migrants … perceived as culturally alien keep coming … storm clouds will still exist and influence Russian politics. The regime will have the unpalatable choice of allowing the growth of radical forces vehemently opposed to democracy, even its ‘managed’ variety, […]

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Russian Nationalists Oppose Moscow’s Plan to Resettle Ukrainian Refugees in Far East

Russia Map

(Paul Goble – Staunton, February 16, 2016) Duma deputies are proposing and the Russian Ministry for Far Eastern Development has come out in support of a plan to resettle as many as 50,000 Ukrainian refugees who had fled their country because of the fighting but have not yet found permanent residences in the Russian Federation. This plan reflects the convergence […]

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The rise of Azov; War in the east, political and economic crisis in Kyiv – these are ideal conditions for Ukraine’s far right to capitalise on their frontline successes.

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(opendemocracy.net – Denys Gorbach, Oles Petik – February 15, 2016) Denys Gorbach is a leftist activist and researcher working on the Ukrainian labour movement. Oles Petik is an anarchist volunteering as an editor and translator at a Kyiv-based grassroots publishing cooperative. Strange it may seem, but Ukraine’s far right and Russia’s propaganda machine share a common fantasy: a radical right-wing […]

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Nine lingering myths about Russia

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

We are often held prisoner by imposed stereotypes and opinions about countries, people and events. RBTH has collected nine myths about Russia that are far from accurate. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – NATALYA PUKHOVA, SPECIAL TO RBTH – January 26, 2016) 1. The death rate in Russia is higher than its birth rate There is a widespread belief […]

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Integration still a challenge in Russia

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

Russian society has yet to accept that mass migration is a fact, which makes it harder for those moving to the country to integrate into society, according to an expert on xenophobia. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Ilya Krol – November 2, 2015) The SOVA Center for Information and Analysis is one of the leading nonprofit organizations in […]

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Knocking back Russia’s nationalists

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

The conflict in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea has brought the Kremlin and Russia’s ultra-nationalists closer together. Recent prosecutions show that their ideas still have the government worried. (opendemocracy.net – Vyacheslav Koslov – September 15, 2015) Vyacheslav Kozlov is a journalist for daily newspaper Kommersant. He writes on international relations, nationalism, extremism, narco-politics, the Russian opposition and the problems […]

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Russians More Optimistic about Ethnic Problems at Home But Have Little Reason to Be, Experts Say

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 26, 2015) The shares of Russians who say that ethnic conflicts in their country are “likely” or “more likely than not” have declined from 17 and 45 percent respectively in October 2013 to five and 20 percent now, according to the findings of a new Levada Center poll. But Mikhail Remizov […]

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Russian poll on nationalism and xenophobia produces worrying results

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Henry Kirby in London – August 25, 2015) More Russians than ever (41%) believe that illegal immigrants from neighbouring countries should be granted legal status in Russia and given the chance to assimilate, although 43% still want them to be expelled from the country. According to a survey published by independent polling company Levada […]

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Bershidsky: Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis Won’t Get U.S. Money

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – June 12, 2015) It’s easy to see why Representative John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, would have a problem with the military unit commanded by Ukrainian legislator Andriy Biletsky: Conyers is a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, Biletsky is a white supremacist. The House of Representatives has unanimously approved an amendment to […]

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NEWSLINK International New York Times/Michael Khodarkovsky: Putin’s Disunited Nation

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

During those tense days in early March when Vladimir Putin disappeared from public view, the Russian president issued only one official statement: He instructed his prime minister to prepare a blueprint for a new federal agency that would work toward ‘consolidating the unity of the multiethnic nation of the Russian Federation.’The move passed relatively unnoticed, but it raises provocative questions. […]

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Experts: Putin’s New Ethnic Affairs Agency Aims to Thwart Political Threats

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – April 2, 2015) President Vladimir Putin’s recent decision to launch a government agency charged with maintaining interethnic and interfaith harmony in Russia is a bid to prevent foreign powers and internal opposition factions from seeking to exploit a weak spot in Russia’s power structure, analysts told The Moscow Times. Since the collapse of the […]

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Russians’ Hatreds Easy to Unleash But Difficult to Limit, Reverse or Overcome

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 30, 2015) Many are taking comfort in the notion that just as Russians appear to have reduced their hatred of immigrants when encouraged by the Kremlin to hate Ukrainians instead so too their hatred against the latter could be ended relatively easily if Moscow changed course — and in any case […]

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The Russian politics of multiculturalism

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(opendemocracy.net – Anna Alekseveva – March 30, 2015) The relationship between religion and ethnicity on the one hand, and civic assimilation on the other, is far less harmonious than Putin’s magniloquence asserts. Much has been made in the last several years of Vladimir Putin’s close alliance with the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC). With charges of corruption, laundering, and a now […]

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NEWSWATCH: In 2015, Vladimir Putin may witness his empire’s death knell

Vladimir Putin

[“In 2015, Vladimir Putin may witness his empire’s death knell” – Strobe Talbott – Reuters – Dec. 16, 2014] Strobe Talbott predicts that a third Chechen War could break out in 2015, sounding the death knell for Russia’s current geographic configuration. Indeed, Talbott comments that Russia could break apart by the end this century, and that the policies of Russian President […]

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RIA Novosti: Russia’s Ethnic Tensions Drop Due to Crimea Reunification, President’s Approval: Kremlin

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

MOSCOW, October 8 (RIA Novosti) – Interethnic tensions have reduced significantly this year in Russia as a result of the country’s reunification with Crimea and President Vladimir Putin’s high approval ratings, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office, Magomedsalam Magomedov said Wednesday. “The main factors for the significant reduction in interethnic tension was rallying people around such […]

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Rumblings In The West: Ukraine’s Other Ethnic Quandary

Ukraine Map and Flag

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Glenn Kates – BEREHOVE, Ukraine – June 6, 2014) A foreign leader whose country pines for its lost empire advocates self-rule for a Ukrainian province and gives passports to its residents. The call resonates among many in the region, where tens of thousands of people don’t even speak the Ukrainian language. Donetsk? Luhansk? Not quite. This is happening along Ukraine’s […]

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In Sochi and Crimea, Cossacks Seek to Define Role in Society

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – D. Garrison Golubock – April 2, 2014) Dimiter Kenarov, a freelance reporter working in Crimea, was surprised to see a group of uniformed Cossacks hastily carrying cables and video equipment out of an Associated Press television studio. When he and another photographer attempted to document the incident, they found themselves attacked and robbed at gunpoint, […]

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New TV Show Turns Ethnic Tension Into Comedy

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Christopher Brennan – March 11, 2014) Russia’s largest television stations broadcast all over the country, bringing the same faces to Muscovites, Siberians and Caucasus natives alike. However, a new series is taking this a step further, representing Russia’s ethnic diversity in one sitcom family and confronting the controversial topic of race head on. A new […]

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Interfax: Nearly half of Russians believe riots in Ukraine influenced by West – poll

Russian Naval Vessel in Ukrainian Port

(Interfax – February 27, 2014) Most Russians are following the events in Ukraine, and nearly half of them are sure that the recent protests in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities have been influenced by the West, as is seen from a public opinion poll of 1,603 people the Levada Center sociological service conducted in 130 populated areas of 45 regions […]

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Experts Warn of Increase in Ethnically Motivated Attacks

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – February 14, 2014) Russia has seen an increase in violence motivated by ethnic hatred and physical attacks on the LGBT community in the past year, experts said Thursday. The topic has taken on a new sense of urgency in light of Russia’s anti-gay propaganda legislation and the ongoing street protests in neighboring […]

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Ethnic Clashes Replacing Political Protests as Dominant Form of Public Activism in Russia, Pain Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, February 13, 2014) Ethnic clashes especially in the regions appear to have displaced political protests in Moscow as the dominant form of activism in the Russian Federation, a trend certain to have dangerous consequences given that the authorities are far less concerned about the former than the latter, according to Russia’s leading […]

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Ex-Olympian Rodnina Apologizes For Racist Twitter Picture

File Photo of Sochi Olympics Banner Near Highway in Warm Weather with Vehicle and Cyclicsts Nearby

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – February 11, 2014) Irina Rodnina, the famed figure skater who lit the Olympic flame at the Sochi opening ceremony, has said that a racially insensitive tweet sent from her account and featuring U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle was posted by hackers. The doctored – and, in the eyes of […]

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Interfax: Russian bill tightening liability for extremism signed into law

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

MOSCOW. Feb 4 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a bill that toughens liability for extremism-related crimes. The document amends Russia’s Criminal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure, according to the authorities’ legal information website. “In an effort to neutralize the threats to national security posed by the destructive activities of religious organizations on Russian territory, […]

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Kremlin official calls on prosecutors to step up oversight of terrorism and extremism cases

File Photo of Sergei Ivanov, adapted from defense.gov image

MOSCOW. Jan 10 (Interfax) – Prosecutors’ oversight of the course of investigations into terrorist attacks should become more effective, Russian presidential chief-of-staff Sergei Ivanov said. “Oversight of the course of inquiries into criminal offences, primarily crimes linked to terrorism, should be made more effective,” Ivanov said at a Friday session, dedicated to the Day of Russian Prosecutors. Terrorists who seek […]

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Moscow Police Hunt Quran Burners

Russian Mosque File Photo

MOSCOW, January 9 (RIA Novosti) ­ Police in Moscow are investigating a video that shows alleged football fans burning a Quran and attacking Muslims in retribution for recent suicide bombings in Volgograd. The video, uploaded on YouTube on January 5, depicts a group of young men in the dark, burning a Russian translation of the Quran with several lighters. No […]

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What Are Modern Nations Like? Multiethnicity in Russia in a Global Context

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

(Russia in Global Affairs – eng.globalaffairs.ru – Valery Tishkov – December 27, 2013 Valery Tishkov is Academician-Secretary in the History and Philology Department at the Russian Academy of Sciences. He is Director of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, and a Member of the Presidential Council on Inter-Ethnic Relations. Resume: Some political scientists believe there is no common nation in […]

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Interfax: Attempts to hold nationalist rallies due to terrorist attacks in Volgograd are unacceptable – Federation Council

Large Mother Russia Statue Near Volgograd

MOSCOW. Dec 30 (Interfax) – The attempts to hold any nationalist rallies due to terrorist attacks in Volgograd are unacceptable, the Russian Federation Council said. “Amid the current situation various nationalist movements should not be allowed to earn points with this tragedy, terrorist attacks and people’s grief. Appeals for nationalist gatherings are voiced in Volgograd. Such rallies will play into […]

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Soviet Nationality Issues Live On in Modern Russia

Map of Western CIS/FSU and European Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – D. Garrison Golubock – December 23, 2013) In his famous 1994 essay “The USSR as a Communal Apartment,” Yury Slezkine chronicles the rise of nationalism in the Soviet Union, likening the state to a communal apartment in which each “recognized” ethnicity has their own private room in which to flourish. For the West, the 1990s […]

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Growing xenophobia may spur inter-ethnic tensions – Public Chamber experts

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – December 20, 2013) A draft report of the Russian Public Chamber, “On the Status of Russia’s Civil Society”, affirms a growth of aggressive xenophobia in the country. “Aggressive xenophobia is a serious challenge to contemporary Russia. Xenophobia reached its peak in 2013, according to a survey of the Levada Center, which said that 70-80 percent of the Russian […]

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Russia’s Memorial regional branch branded “foreign agent”

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – December 12, 2013) Russian human rights activists have said that a St Petersburg court has upheld the Prosecutor’s Office’s claim that the antidiscrimination center Memorial is a “foreign agent”, Russian Interfax news agency reported on 12 December. The antidiscrimination center Memorial is a regional office of Russia’s Memorial human rights organization. The antidiscrimination center operates in St Petersburg […]

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Xenophobia, national intolerance grow in Russia – Federal Migration Service chief

Migrant Workers file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 9 (Interfax) – Xenophobia and national intolerance are growing in Russia, Russian Federal Migration Service Chief Konstantin Romodanovsky said. “Unfortunately, more cases of intolerance and xenophobia can be observed, which eventually leads to an escalation of inter-ethnic disputes,” Romodanovsky said at a meeting held by Russian human rights commissioner Vladimir Lukin in Moscow on Monday. Many foreigners are […]

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Regions ‘Quietly Sabotaging’ Moscow’s Nationality Policy, Expert Says

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, December 1, 2013) Even as the Russian government takes the first steps to shift responsibility for inter-ethnic peace onto the leaderships of the federal subjects, a Russian expert has warned that “in certain regions,” what is going on with respect to the implementation of nationality policy can only be described as “quiet […]

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MEDIA ANNOUNCEMENT: Putin’s Turn to Traditionalism/Nationalism

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Valdai Club 2013 Meeting, Adapted from Screenshot of Valdai Club Video at youtube.com

Subject: No. 138: Putin’s Turn to Traditionalism/Nationalism Date: Mon, 18 Nov 2013 From: “Russian Analytical Digest (RAD)” <newslist@isn.ch> RUSSIAN ANALYTICAL DIGEST Newsletter 8 November 2013/No. 138 PUTIN’S TURN TO TRADITIONALISM/NATIONALISM To download this issue please click here: http://www.css.ethz.ch/publications/DetailansichtPubDB_EN?rec_id=2759 Analyses Conservatism as the Kremlin’s New Toolkit: an Ideology at the Lowest Cost, by Marlene Laruelle, Washington. Putting Traditional Values into Practice: […]

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Interfax: State of public security in Russia is unstable, extremism is main source of threat – public security policy

Biryulyovo Riots file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 20 (Interfax) – The necessary level of public security has not been reached in Russia, says Russia’s public security policy that was approved by the president. “The state of public security in Russia is characterized as unstable. Despite the efforts made by the state and society to combat crime and other illegal encroachments and prevent and contain emergencies, […]

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For Russia, size matters; Why some lawmakers want to make promoting separatism illegal

Russian Duma Building

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – November 21, 2013) Anna Arutunyan is an editor and correspondent at themoscownews.com Earlier this month, a lawmaker known for his loyalist legislative proposals introduced a bill that would criminalize even talking about separatism in Russia. In an apparent attempt to emulate the law that bans promotion of non-traditional sexual relations among minors, […]

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Interfax: Public Chamber wants certain websites to be checked for xenophobic propaganda

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

MOSCOW. Nov 11 (Interfax) – Secretary of the Russian Public Chamber Yevgeny Velikhov has asked head of the federal communications, information technology and mass media oversight service Roskomnadzor Alexander Zharov to check several websites suspected of engaging in the propaganda of xenophobia and racial hatred. The websites in question are “Sputnik i Pogrom” and “Pravoviye Novosti”, according to Velikhov’ letter […]

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Zhirinovsky Comments Trigger Outcry Across North Caucasus

Vladimir Zhirinovsky file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Liz Fuller – November 6, 2013) Not for the first time, the chairman of the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) and Russian State Duma deputy speaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky has incurred the wrath of North Caucasus officials by making disparaging remarks about the region. Speaking on a TV talk show late last month,  Zhirinovsky advocated  […]

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Cruelty at Russian hospitals: Illegal migration – red herring

Eurasia Map

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Natalia Antonova, Acting Editor-in-Chief – November 8, 2013) An Uzbek migrant in labor was initially denied entry to a Vladivostok hospital and nearly gave birth on the doorstep. Although the Investigative Committee looked into the incident, they will not be launching a criminal case. And the head of the regional branch of the Federal Migration […]

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‘Tribal Consciousness Turning Russians into a Small People,’ Moscow Commentator Says

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 7, 2013) This week’s Russian March was addressed at and attracted to its ranks “the bearers of only a single aspect of consciousness, a tribal view of the world” in which one’s own is always more correct, better, and closer than the other, according to a Moscow commentator. That is why […]

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Putin Moves to Re-Establish Nationalities Ministry He Abolished in 2001

Migrant Workers file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble, Staunton, November 6, 2013) Apparently operating on the principle that if there is a problem, there should be a government structure responsible for it, President Vladimir Putin is moving to recreate in fact if not in name a ministry to oversee the Russian Federation’s increasingly intense nationality problems. But for the same reasons that […]

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