#15 - JRL 7006
December 29, 2002
Ultra-nationalist ideas are popular among the literary mainstream and political saloons
Author: Andrei Kolesnikov
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, www.wps.ru/e_index.html]
APATHY AND INDIFFERENCE IN THE RUSSIAN SOCIETY ARE A PERFECT NUTRIENT MEDIUM FOR BOTH FASCISM AND SETTLING A TOUGH REGIME WITH FORMAL OBSERVATION OF THE CONSTITUTION. THE ONLY HOPE IS THAT THE INNER RESISTANCE TO THE FASCISM IN BOTH THE PEOPLE AND THE STATE WILL NOT ALLOW THE FASCIST ALTERNATIVE TO REALIZE. FROM THE STANDPOINT OF THE SOCIAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY, IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO ADJUST THE POLICE MECHANISMS FOR PREVENTION OF MASS POGROMS.
An unprecedented pogrom in Moscow after the defeat of the Russian soccer team at the world championship. Beating Armenians in Krasnoarmeisk, the Moscow region and further mass anti-Caucasus rally of local residents. An epidemic of anti-Semitic posters which lead to undermining of Tatiana Sapunova, who tried to take a fascist slogan off. Legalization of the Nationalist-Imperial Party of Russia by the Justice Ministry. Realization of the new migration policy which has made the position of foreign workers very complicated, though Russia's prosperity depends on them. All the aforementioned are links of the same chain, the components of a serious alternative for Russia's democratic development. Precisely speaking, it is a fascist alternative.
Since 2002, Russia has lived in a prolonged pogrom. The genie has been out of the bottle and no one is fighting against the radical and extremist nationalist movements with legal means, despite the law "On political extremism".
The police has not learned how to fight against pogroms, and the impunity of extremists has become the major reason for their growing activities. Sometimes, it seems that the law enforcement bodies and extremists have an unwritten non-aggression pact: when the police are deliberately passive, weak, and few, extremists are especially active.
At the same time, very often the top police representatives speak of skinheads as a "youth subculture" or "hooligans" leaving the ideology behind. Another dangerous trend is that the hysteria around skinheads is diverting the public attention from the real point of the issue. There is an impression that at present, the Russian fascism is represented by skinheads only, which is definitely untrue. Fascism is many-sided, various, and can have the most exotic forms; it is becoming respectable and fashionable; it has many hidden supporters in the police, prosecutor's offices, courts; its most talented leaders are becoming frequents at political saloons, on television, and in outwardly far from fascism parties and movements.
Hence, the repressive and law enforcement machines are unlikely to suddenly start working against the ultranationalist phenomena. Moreover, this year the state - in particular, the Justice Ministry - has made all possible to legalize the movements that are balancing on the verge of the ultra nationalist patriotism. It concerns the registration of the Nationalist-Imperial Party of Russia led by former media minister Mironov, humanitarian scientist Sevastianov, and famous officer Terekhov.
Many members of the nationalist-patriotic movement, who used to have a quite limited audience in marginal nationalist periodicals, have been allowed to use the federal media and other informational institutions. Alexander Prokhanov has got into the literary mainstream and is being considered a slightly provoking author, whose books are worth being awarded the National Bestseller Prize. Alexander Dugin and Geidar Djemal are frequents at rather significant political and political science saloons, authors of articles in respectable democratic Izvestia and Expert periodicals. Ultra right ideas are in fashion. Ultra-nationalism is becoming wide-spread and is acquiring a wide social foundation. This foundation is most the people who are discontent about "foreigners", mostly immigrant workers. It is the "gray mass" which will never beat a Vietnamese or a Senegalese, will not twist the arms of a Georgian, but will always respond positively to the question, "Do you agree with the slogan "Russia for Russians!"
The federal authorities are aware of all this and are trying to find a solution. In particular, they have toughened the migration legislation, which has made it much more subjected to corruption. It is well known that a repressive anti-migrant legislation leads to criminalization of national associations and to international conflicts. Simultaneously, it is said the discontent of large masses with migrant workers can be used for the sake of elections. The main thing is not to go too far and not to lose control of the movement against Moldovan, Armenian, Ukrainian, Belarussian, and so on workers and Azerbaijani, Armenian, Georgian, Ukrainian and so on sellers. This has created the idea to from a moderate nationalist right-conservative party controlled by the power or to use the anti-migrant resource by the party of power and the centrists. Taking into account that a powerful political and PR energy has been directed against the communists, it is easy to suggest that the radical right forces can replace the left wing. As a result, a nationalist-socialist party will form, which will take votes from Zyuganov and his party and will expand due to former communist electorate.
A fascism - or mildly speaking, ultranationalist - alternative is not very successfully added with a police alternative. A police state can be presented to the people as a universal solution for all issues - for the fascism and the disorder which creates it. However, a police state can also be a tool to build an authoritarian system. At the same time it is rather easy to predict that the authorities will be rather willing to turn into a conservative ideological force and distance from the liberal ideology and the liberal politics. In fact, many actions of the Kremlin prove this trend: from Stalin's anthem to restoration of the Soviet star on the banners of the Russian Army. The flirting with the Orthodox Church and the attempt to make this religion the official state religion base on the same ideological grounds.
These events are going on at the unfavorable background of political apathy of the majority of Russians who are busy with surviving, indifferent about the fate of democratic institutions and think that "order is better than freedom". Numerous sociological polls say about such moods in the society. Political apathy and indifference are a perfect nutrient medium for both fascism and settling a tough regime with formal observation of the Constitution.
The only hope is that the inner resistance to the fascist bacillus in both the people and the state - which should support democratic institutions in the working condition at least formally - will not allow the fascist alternative to realize. To begin with, the power should adjust the police mechanisms for prevention of mass pogroms. It is not the main thing in fighting fascism, but it is extremely important from the standpoint of the social and national security.
(Translated by Arina Yevtikhova )