Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Somehow I thought the former Communist countries would be more free of political correctness. It seems not. The phrase "Glory to Russia!" has been banned!
This year, the ‘Russian March’ will have a record turnout

By Zhanna Ulyanova

If the nationalists formed a party and ran in State Duma elections, they would become the second largest party in Parliament. The results of a Levada Center survey show unprecedented support for the “Russia is for Russians” slogan.

More and more Russians face “animosity from people of other nationalities.” In 2002, 2 per cent of Russians “very often” felt this way, and 8 percent “fairly often.” This year, tensions have escalated: 4 per cent and 14 per cent, respectively. A greater number of compatriots are showing hostility toward representatives of other ethnicities. In 2011, 6 percent say they face animosity “very often,” and 14 per cent “fairly often.” These changes in public opinion were recorded by the Levada Center, which surveyed 1,600 people aged 18 and older.

The rise of nationalist sentiments and xenophobia has been a trend throughout the last decade, Vladimir Mukomel, division head at the Institute of Sociology’s Department of Xenophobia and Extremism Studies, told Trud.

By 2020, suggested the director of the National Strategy Institute, Stanislav Belkovsky, the question of nationalism will be key.

Russians themselves have also noticed this trend. More than half (52 percent) say that “the number of Russians who share ultra-nationalist views has increased in recent years.”

It’s not the terrorist attacks, but the behavior that’s outraging

There is an interesting rationale behind the rising nationalist sentiments. It turns out that the leading reason for the formation of the Russian identity is not the threat of terrorism (cited as the reason by 15 percent), or even poor living conditions (21 percent), but the defiant behavior of the ethnic minorities (44 percent).

“In Russia, nationalism is most often associated with isolated diasporas of people from the Caucasus and the Caucasian question in general,” said Belkovsky.

This is due to the fact that the rise of national self-determination has historically been conditioned by the disassociation of former Soviet republics. Sociologists point to the demographic dynamics.

“Today, a generation which was socialized during one of the peaks of xenophobia in the early 2000s is maturing,” said Mukomel.

Nevertheless, even extreme forms of nationalism are not a protest against ethnic groups as much as they are a reflection of the social tensions and injustice in the society.
“This is the youth’s response to the lack of social mobility, political choice and justice in society,” said Mukomel.

Prohibition leads to an upsurge in popularity

The rise of nationalism is also provoked by the government. The Justice Ministry has banned slogans which are often unrelated to extremism or nationalism. Thus, “Russia is for Russians!” and “Orthodox Christianity or death!” have been blacklisted. Meanwhile, Justice Ministry experts have classified the phrase “Go Russians” as a call to violence.
It came to the point of absurdity. The slogan “Glory to Russia!”, which was exclaimed by one of the rioters at the Manezh Square, was considered to be “a call to show resistance” by the Tver Court of Moscow
.

This year, the activities of the Movement Against Illegal Immigration have been banned as extremist. Yesterday, another criminal case was filed against one of the leaders of the Russkiye (Russians) movement, Dmitry Demushkin. In addition to being suspected of inciting ethnic hatred (Article 282 of the Criminal Code), the nationalist is being charged with provoking mass violence (Article 212 of the Criminal Code). The investigators’ renewed attention on Demushkin has coincided with preparations for the November 4 “Russian March.” Human rights activists note that Articles 282 and 212 have become particularly popular in recent years.

Belkovsky is confident that the bans only increase the number of nationalists.
But the figures are most telling; 41 per cent of Russians believe it would not be a bad idea to implement the “Russia is for Russians!” slogan within reasonable limits; 19 percent openly support the banned slogan and believe that “it should have been long implemented.” This is evidenced by the Levada Center survey conducted this past February.

Nationalists breathe down United Russia’s back

The “Russian March” could have the highest turnout of its entire five-year history.
“If organized well, then the ‘Russian March’ will have a much higher attendance than usual,” said Belkovsky.

Nationalist Vladimir Tor, meanwhile, also expects to see a high turnout at the march of November 4. Nationalists plan to gather 20,000 people.

Political scientists are confident that if the nationalists created a party, it would make it into the State Duma. Today, according to the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM), United Russia is supported by 46 per cent of Russians, and the Communist Party by 12 percent. And it is understood that 35 per cent of Russians support the slogans of the organizers of the “Russian March.” This is shown by the results of a secret survey, ordered by the Moscow Mayor’s Office, which appeared in the media. Note that organizers of the march are calling on Russians to vote against the party of “crooks and thieves” and chanting the slogan, “Enough feeding the Caucasus.”

The potential for nationalist slogans has been noticed by parliamentary and opposition parties, which are actively using the Russian question to their advantage.

“Corruption and the Caucasus are the most popular issues of the State Duma election campaign,” said Belkovsky. “But the Kremlin has banned focusing on nationalism.”
Today it is impossible to form a nationalist party in Russia, argued Tor.

“But it’s unlikely that the newly elected State Duma will finish its term – we will most likely be seeing an early election, and the nationalists will have a chance,” he predicted.

However, political scientists pointed out some of the political weaknesses of the nationalist wing, including a lack of a coherent doctrine and leaders.
Source: Russia Today

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