Europe, Russia, Human Rights, Opinion, Politics

Nationalism: Rise of the Russian Nationalist

For those who identify with occidental cultures, listening about Russia on the news means listening to some weird stories. This country, besides a solid political background, has had a strong Russian Nationalist movement going on for almost a century. But what is Russian Nationalism?

We may not know many things about Russia, but there’s one thing everybody in the world knows: Russia does not get along with occidental values, ideologies or traditions. But this is not the result of a whim. In 1917, when the Bolsheviks raised in power, Russian Nationalism was officially banned because they considered it a “hostile ideology.”

When WWII arrived, Stalin used the Russian Nationalism and Patriotism to unify the people against invaders. That’s when the wave of massive deportations in the name of Mother Russia started, inevitably feeding hate and resentment in the Russian people’s hearts.

Hate and Intolerance Flagged as Russian Nationalism

There are more than 100 nationalist groups registered in Russia at the moment. With the annexation of Crimea to their territory, and the number of Muslim refugees looking for jobs and shelter, native Russians haven’t had a good time sharing their land.

A study conducted by the Research Council of Norway in 2016 found that Russian Nationalism is on the rise. The population does not feel part of Europe, but they don’t feel related to Asia either, they just feel like Russians, like their own entity of people.

The popularity of the movement “Russia for Russians” is living proof of how much intolerance towards immigrants has grown in the past years.

And even though the peak of hate crimes in Russia happened in 2014, we still get to read news about extreme Russian Nationalist groups attacking immigrants with knives on the streets, homophobic attacks, and racist persecution.

These assaults to minority groups put Russia on the highest level of hate crimes in the world, but in 2010, with Ukraine’s intervention, the outflow of radicals supporting separatists, radicalized the Russian Nationalist scene.

Civilian street patrols and local Russian Nationalist organizations joining police to control the borders, gives these groups validation and power to impose their thoughts on others. Such is the case of “Russians”, a Russian Nationalist group formed by Dmitry Demushkin, a well known Russian political leader and public figure who, in 2013, announced his intention to run for president in 2018.

The Russian Nationalist: Neo-Nazi Parties and their Crimes

Calling someone a “Nazi” in this days is a serious offense. However, Hitler’s legacy does not limit itself to the memories of horrendous crimes, but the growth of some young men’s hate towards minorities.

Slavic Union, a banned Russian neo-nazi movement formed by Demushkin, was the most important Russian Nationalist group in Russia until its dissolution in 2010, giving birth to “Russians”. Slavic Union consisted of 64 regional sections in Russia, Ukraine, and Byelorussia. It was banned because experts confirmed they where introducing neo-nazi ideologies into the young people’s minds, and were connected to the assassination of a Russian judge, who dedicated his life to put extremist group leaders behind bars.

Their members were constantly found guilty of stabbing immigrants on the streets, so in 2010, they were completely banned for good… however, Demushkin just had to change the name of the organization to keep doing politics.

In episode 4 of Reggie Yates series of documentaries, we get to watch how these Russian Nationalists behave when in a mass. Reggi Yates is an English musician and actor^with dark skin. He was the victim of numerous insults during a Russian Nationalist march in Moscow but wasn’t assaulted, probably because he recorded everything on his camera.

He had the chance to interview Demushkin and question him about his ideal society. We are talking about a man with a lot of hate in his mind, but he is not illiterate or foul-mouthed.

Russian Nationalists Defending their Cultural Values and Traditions

And that is exactly the problem with men like him, through speeches, they conquer young resented minds, like the ones who couldn’t say anything smarter to Reggie besides “go eat bananas”.
Russian Nationalists may be right defending their cultural values and traditions from foreign interventions, but that doesn’t give them the right to stab an immigrant or to insult someone for their skin color.

The scariest thing about these groups is that, when interviewed, you notice they are all young men with weapons and masks to protect their identities. If you truly believe you are doing the right thing… why cover your face?

This anti-immigrant feeling will not vanish magically, and Russian authorities should pay closer attention to the ideology this extremist groups sneakily spread into young minds. Otherwise, violence against minorities will become an uncontrollable wildfire.

About Daniela D. Franco

Daniela is a Social Psychologist from Venezuela, she is interested in the changes technology and the development of social networks generate into human interactions, and is currently studying Digital Marketing. She enjoys reading, writing and biking while David Bowie is playing in her iPod.

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