Radical nationalists mimic
The figures in the report titled 'Aggressive xenophobia and radical nationalism in Russia in 2017' suggest that Russians have started to face less national and religious intolerance. According to a poll conducted by the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM), Russians have become less afraid of interethnic and interreligious conflicts. Most of the residents have become concerned about international current socio-economic problems.
Presenting the report, Alexander Brod, member of the Council under the President of the Russian Federation, chairman of the coordinating council of the All-Russian NGO "Lawyers for people rights and a dignified human life", said: "Aggressive xenophobia and extremist practices have not ceased to be a dangerous challenge for the state and society. According to our monitoring data, from January to August, at least 26 xenophobic and extremist manifestations were recorded on the territory of 20 regions of the country. Over the same period last year, there were 17 attacks and conflicts, in 2015 - 22, in 2014 - 39".
Brod mentioned several prerequisites for the growth of radical sentiments in the future:
- socio-economic problems,
- the fact that the Crimean issue has ceased to play a significant role in terms of uniting and raising patriotism,
- radicals who participated in military operations in Novorossia are returning to Russia,
- the return of recruited radical militants to their homeland.
"We can face an escalation of such problems. Especially since the election of the president and the next autumn elections will be held next year. Radical ideas continue to be used during the election campaign. Although it's not as before, but they constantly take samples, using these technologies to incite hatred during the election campaign, using nationalistic resources during the election," Brod said.
Nevertheless, according to him, now there are fewer nationalist public actions: "Some actions, such as the Russian March, did not even take place in a number of regions. But radical nationalists mimic, using social rhetoric. So, the topic of Moscow renovation was used by radical nationalists, who even organized special marches on this issue. Pseudo-human rights centers are established among nationalists, which protect them from persecution and use social problems, in order to become more understandable, advanced and act according to social expectations of Russians".
Aggressive acts of xenophobia have traditionally been most frequent in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and have also been recorded in the Rostov, Irkutsk, Chelyabinsk, Belgorod, Orel and Nizhny Novgorod regions, the republics of North Ossetia-Alania, Buryatia, Tatarstan and Komi, as well as the Khabarovsk territory. According to Brod, 45 people have suffered as a result of an armed stand-off for the first quarter of 2017, 36 of them were killed. In the second quarter, the number of victims of terrorist attacks and common attacks slightly decreased - 26 people, 20 of them were killed. In April-June this figure was 85, 51 of them were killed. The problem is mostly observed in the largest and most populated Russian republic in the North Caucasus Federal District - Dagestan. At the same time, in the second quarter no victims were recorded in Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachaevo-Cherkessia and North Ossetia.
Meanwhile, the deputy head of the office for strengthening national unity and prevention of extremism on national and religious grounds of the Federal Agency for Nationality Affairs, Alexander Nenashev, said that there is a movement towards respect for citizens' rights: "The fate of each individual person linked to the issues, which take on national political overtones, or those in the center of conflicts on national or religious grounds, is a tragedy. These are cases with which should be studied specifically and very carefully, they should be seen not just as a situation that could arise for various reasons, including socio-economic and everyday, but one should understand that the roots can be deeper. The strategy of state national policy, implemented by the Federal Agency for Nationalities, sees this problem and solves it in a complex manner. "
According to Nenashev, the activities of state structures in this sphere will not be effective "without reliance on federal national cultural autonomies, on national and cultural autonomy in the Russian subjects and cities, without reliance on public organizations that express the opinion and interests of citizens who are organized according to national feature". As the official believes, "this altogether is an environment that helps us to avoid situations when individual cases become a trigger for more serious manifestations, which have already taken place in our recent history."