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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Russia Beyond the Headlines: Dismissal of American vice rector in Nizhny Novgorod causes controversy

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

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – July 3, 2015) The dismissal of an American lecturer from a leading position at a Russian university following an “incriminating” report on television sparked talk of an increase in the harassment of foreigners. Russian lawmakers are planning to introduce a “patriotic stop list” – a list of foreign funds […]

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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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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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Kremlinphobia, russophobia and other states of paranoia; The Russian government likes to regularly accuse the West of being ‘russophobic.’ They’re right, but not for the reasons they think.

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

(opendemocracy.net – Natalia Antonova – November 21, 2014) Natalia Antonova was born in Kyiv and grew up in North Carolina. She works as a journalist and playwright. ‘Russophobia’ has become a charge as common as fascism in the information war between Russia, Ukraine and the West. The accusation brings to mind the tale of the boy who cried wolf. The […]

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RIA Novosti: Ukrainian Teens Tweet Nazi Propaganda, Boast of Burning Russians

Twitter Logo and Faint World Map

[Graphics and tweets here en.ria.ru/society/20141012/193990648/ Ukrainian-Teens-Tweet-Nazi-Propaganda-Boast-of-Burning-Russians.html] MOSCOW, October 12 (RIA Novosti), Ekaterina Blinova – Since the Euromaidan turmoil and events triggered by the Ukrainian coup of February 2014, Ukrainian youth has been used as the main propaganda force of the Ukrainian nationalist movement. Ukrainian right-wing nationalists attract young people by romanticized the image of OUN-UPA and Stepan Bandera, the famous […]

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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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RIA Novosti: Anti-Semitism at a minimum level in Russia, says report

File Photo of Torah Scrolls

(RIA Novosti – April 28, 2014) Russia remains one of a group of countries with a minimum level of anti-Semitism, said the head of the European Jewish Congress, Vyacheslav Moshe Kantor, commenting on the results of the annual report on the level of anti-Semitism in the world for 2013. Russia remains one of a group of countries with a minimum […]

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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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Interfax: Seven die in hate crimes in Russia in 2014 – rights defenders

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

MOSCOW. April 1 (Interfax) – Seven people died in hate crimes in Russia in 2014, the Sova human rights center told Interfax on Tuesday. “At least 29 people have been injured in racially motivated attacks since the beginning of this year. Seven people died,” the rights defenders said. Sova recorded attacks in nine regions – Moscow, the Moscow region, St. […]

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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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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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Russian Parliament Passes Anti-Extremism Bill

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW, January 22 (RIA Novosti) ­ The Russian State Duma passed a bill imposing tougher penalties for extremism-related crimes Wednesday. The legislation, which the lower chamber of parliament passed in second and third readings, increases the prison sentence for public incitement of extremism from three to four years, and also raises fines for the offence. The penalty for inciting hatred […]

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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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West has been Against the Slavs for a Millenium, IMEMO Expert Says

Map of European Portion of Former Soviet Union

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 6, 2013) Despite all the ups and downs in the relationship between the West and the Slavic world, changes that alternatively spark new hopes or new fears, the underlying reality, according to a senior researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences, is that “the anti-Slavic character of the policy of the […]

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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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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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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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Pravda.ru: “Can Russia collapse and fall under Western control?”

Russian Duma Building

(Pravda.ru – Anton Kulikov – November 12, 2013) The Russian State Duma deputies proposed an introduction of the “Separatist Propaganda” article in the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation and establishing a prison sentence of three to six years for said propaganda. So far this is only a draft bill, and its future is unclear. The document was proposed for […]

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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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Putin Tells Zhirinovsky to ‘Tone it Down’

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 7, 2013) President Vladimir Putin has urged Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky to show more restraint in his speeches, most likely in reference to the lawmaker’s recent remarks about the North Caucasus that provoked outrage in the region. Zhirinovsky said during a television show last month that the North Caucasus should be surrounded […]

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Russian Nation Said to Have Lost Its Ability to Assimilate Others

Migrant Workers file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 6, 2013) For most of modern times, ethnic Russians have assimilated members of other nations living among them because they represented a more advanced community, but now, a Moscow blogger says, they have “lost the ability to assimilate other peoples,” something that makes the influx of non-Russian migrants even more disturbing […]

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Interfax: Russian March assesses degree of public discontent – policy expert

Kremlin and St. Basil's

MOSCOW. Nov 5 (Interfax) – The relative serenity of the Russian March was based on the wish of its organizers to avoid “rocking the boat” and instead to assess public sentiment about migration and inter-ethnic relations, policy expert Nikolai Mironov said. “It seems the March organizers did not want to disturb the peace. I think it was a test; they […]

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Ethnic Affairs Ministry Mulled as Anti-Migrant Sentiment Rises

Migrant Workers file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Oleg Sukhov – November 6, 2013) A day after hundreds of detentions at numerous nationalist rallies across the country, media reports circulated Tuesday that the government is considering creating an interethnic relations ministry to keep tensions under control. Immigration has dominated the Russian media landscape since thousands took part in a nationalist riot in the […]

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Russian March: Scattered, divided, leaderless

Map of Western CIS/FSU and European Environs

(Moscow News – – Anna Arutunyan, Editor and Correspondent at themoscownews.com – November 5, 2013) According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, nationalism is defined as “loyalty and devotion to a nation; a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above others.” National Day of Unity on November 4 has become an annual venue where nationalists across the spectrum can gather together […]

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Rally Shows Rise of Nationalist Sentiment

Map of Western CIS/FSU and European Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – November 5, 2013) Thousands of Russians poured into the streets of dozens of towns across the country Monday to voice nationalist sentiments on a holiday that was established by the government in 2005 to celebrate the unity of Russia’s diverse population. Nationalism has been on the rise in Russia since the collapse […]

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Russian Nationalism Never Linked with Liberalism, Moscow Scholar Says

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 4, 2013) Unlike its counterparts in Europe and other parts of the world and despite the hopes of many inside Russia and beyond, Russian nationalism has never a partner of liberalism, the result of its different origins and evolution, according to Vladimir Malakhov, a senior scholar at the Institute of Philosophy […]

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Opposition leader Navalny not to take part in nationalist Russian March

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, November 2, 2013) Opposition activist Aleksey Navalnyy will not take part in the “Russian March” in Moscow on 4 November, he wrote in his LiveJournal (blog). “I still support the ‘Russian March’ as an idea and an event, I am willing to give it information support and or some other support, but in the new situation I […]

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Bishop: ethnic Russians discriminated against in south Russia

Church Domes with Crosses file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 31 (Interfax) – A senior Russian Orthodox bishop has claimed that Russian speakers “often suffer ethnic and religious discrimination” in regions in Russia’s North Caucasus where they are in the minority. “We are used to thinking that it is only smaller ethnic groups that need protection. That is not true. In many of the republics (of Russia), Russians […]

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Grassroots nationalism is commonplace in Russia – Alekseyev

Lyudmila Alekseyeva file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 31 (Interfax) – Lyudmila Alekseyeva, chairman of the Moscow Helsinki group and Russia’s oldest human rights activist, believes Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky has crossed the line of aggressive nationalism. “Let’s put barbed wire around Zhirinovsky, not the Caucasus,” Alekseyeva told a press conference on Thursday. Alekseyeva said grassroots nationalism is commonplace in Russia, but some people […]

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The mean streets of Russian nationalism; Who are Russia’s real nationalists? And why are they rioting?

Biryulyovo Riots file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan, Natalia Antonova – October 31, 2013) In the past, Maria, a sales manager, never attended the nationalist Russian March, an annual rally commemorating Russia’s Day of National Unity. This time, less than a month after taking part in a violent nationalist protest in southern Moscow’s Biryulyovo district, is different. “I’m ready to go,” […]

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Interfax: Patriarch Kirill: Biryulyovo events demonstrate government unwillingness to solve excessive migration problem

Patriarch Kirill file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 31 (Interfax) – The latest events in Moscow’s Biryulyovo district show that only the forces seeking to destroy Russia will gain from further disregard of the opinion of the Russian majority, said Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia. “The latest clashes in the Moscow Biryulyovo district demonstrated that a deaf ear turned by the authorities to the […]

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RIA Novosti: Bribery, Arrests Among Language Topics in Textbook for Migrants

Migrant Workers file photo

MOSCOW, October 30 (RIA Novosti) ­ “Why are you arresting me?” “Isn’t it just easier to give money to the policeman?” “What do you do if the police beat you?” Practice conversations in a special Russian language-learning textbook ­ handed out at an experimental new cultural integration center for migrants ­ focus on topics considered most relevant to guest workers […]

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Citizen Or Foreign Migrant? In Moscow, The Line Is Often Blurred

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(RFE/RL – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, October 30, 2013) The two men have a lot in common. Both are in their 20s and moved to Moscow in search of a better life. Both face discrimination with employment, encounter harassment from police, and have struggled to find places to live. Neither has many Russian friends. But there is one important difference […]

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The Most Important Question in Russia Today – What’s Your Nationality?

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, October 30, 2013) A writer for the official newspaper of the Russian parliament says that today “the most important question” for residents of the Russian Federation is “what’s your nationality?” a question that is not easy for everyone to answer but one which is asked with such insistence that those of mixed […]

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