By Paul Goble
Valery Engel, director of the Moscow Institute for the Study of Problems of Nationality Pollicy and Inter-Ethnic Relations, says there are four reasons why Russia is “more tolerant” than other countries like those in Europe where xenophobic attitudes are growing.
He made his comments in advance of the International Day of the struggle with Fascism, Racism and Anti-Semitism, and his upbeat assessment of the situation in Russia, one very much at odds with those of others, suggests the way in which Moscow will seek to use that day again this year (nazaccent.ru/content/22255-ekspert-nazval-chetyre-prichiny-po-kotorym.html).
The first reason for Russia’s success in this regard, Engel says, is that it has “departed from the Soviet model where the political nation was formed around ideas but has not moved toward the European model which says that the state is created on the basis of the traditions of the titular nation.”
The second reason Engel gives for his conclusion is that “rightwing activists and Islamists have left to take part in military conflicts in other countries, Syria and Ukraine,” thus removing from the Russian scene many who promoted intolerance of other nations in various ways in the past.
The third reasons is “the split within the Russian national movement which occurred after the Ukrainian events.” Some Russian nationalists support what Moscow has done; others oppose it; and this division means that Russian nationalists cannot promote xenophobic attitudes as effectively as they did.
And the fourth reason, Engel argues, is that “at present, the population is extremely little interested in issues of migration and nationalism.” Instead, they are focused on and agitated about issues connected with their own economic status.