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
… 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, or yielding to popular demands to create an apartheid state. * * * … the regime’s intervention in eastern Ukraine prompted an outflow of radical nationalists to support the separatist Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics …. But the return of these radical nationalists (who now have combat experience) might mean a much more militant, and even terrorist, radical nationalist scene at home.
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But … Russians don’t seem interested in expanding Russia. Comparing the results of a national survey … seven months after the official annexation of Crimea, national pride was high and increased slightly … Yet the 2014 survey showed a marked decline in support for further territorial expansion. … maybe Russia’s current international relations should not be labeled a ‘Cold War II scenario. Perhaps a more suitable understanding would be a ‘return to realpolitik.’ Any peaceful resolution to future or ongoing international confrontations will have to take account of pressures on the Kremlin.