Evil Empire or Russia Consecrated?

Discussion in 'The Signs of the Times' started by Richard67, Nov 18, 2014.

  1. Dolours

    Dolours Powers

    I have yet to hear anyone come up with an acceptable alternative to Putin. Who do they have in mind? Some other oligarch who will double down on the old Communist persecution of religion, elevating abortion to sacramental level and sodomy as the ideal expression of "love"; and whose followers, lauded as brave patriots in the Western media, engage in these kind of antics:

    Incidentally, those young women "retired" from their antics after people started challenging them to pull one of their stunts in a mosque. What that MSNBC guy failed to mention was that they had a history of vandalising public property so they had form when they were finally given a prison sentence. It's a measure of how low the so-called "free press" in the West has fallen when a TV host on a news programme "could spend hours talking" to such low life. She (and he) are examples of the modern face of communism.
    Richard67, Steve79 and Byron like this.
  2. earthtoangels

    earthtoangels Powers

    Probably one of the brave souls in opposition whom he has thrown in the continuing gulag type jails.
  3. Byron

    Byron Powers

    Exactly true. Unfortunately, Fatima and others don't understand the politics of today's Russia. The communists have not disappeared completely. In fact, they are dormant, and that's how Putin wants it.
    Steve79 likes this.
  4. Byron

    Byron Powers

    Those brave souls would have opened the door to the destruction of Russia by bringing back communism.
    Steve79 likes this.
  5. earthtoangels

    earthtoangels Powers

    You must not be up to snuff on the reportage. That promised spread of Communism (or smoke of Satan) has apparently invaded the good Christians of the forum....encouraging gulag lock ups with keys tossed brings a whole new meaning to simply interfering with those who desire to "bring back Communism"......but then these days we are warned to look for "up being down" and "evil being good"....even in the most unexpected places.

    But then the divorced Putin with gymnast youngster girlie on the side is held as the new form of "Orthodox Christian" as well. Imagine that!

    10 critics of Vladimir Putin who wound up dead


    But any interference with Putin's "new" regime of Christian purity must justify assassination by Russian authorities.....according to a neo Western Christian analysis of the situation here.
  6. Dolours

    Dolours Powers

    This Christian (I can't claim to be good) on the forum is just as opposed to communism as you claim to be. Evidently, the leaders of the Orthodox Church in Russia consider Putin to be a believing Orthodox Christian. Whether or not he's a good Christian is anybody's guess. If marital fidelity is the measure of his Christianity, he is a couple of wives a better Christian than President Trump. If recognition that marriage can only be between two people of the opposite sex, he is a saint in comparison with most "Christian" leaders and politicians, not least self-proclaimed "Pope Francis Catholic" politicians. If complicity with murder is the measure, his alleged involvement in the murder of opponents pales in comparison with the wholesale slaughter of unborn babies supported, promoted and funded by many supposedly Christian leaders in the West, including Catholics who regularly receive Communion without so much as a whimper from their priests and Bishops.

    I'm no fan of Putin but I'm not going to close my eyes to the hypocrisy of Western politicians who are every bit as anti-Christian as they would have us believe he is.

    Communism is an evil system. So is the kind of capitalism that enriches the likes of George Soros, enabling him and his ilk to buy political influence, especially in poorer countries.
  7. earthtoangels

    earthtoangels Powers

    A lot of good excuses. But one should not hold up as a comparison for negativity to win one's case (which already admits to the negative in the person defended) another of completely different background in upbringing, faith and instruction....one in which divorce has been taught as permitted rather than the other way around as within the background of Putin's religious training. Before one's conversion much can be forgiven for there had been much misinformation taught resulting in confusion and taking advantage of. When later there is a sign of the desire for conversion and further instruction accepted, as in the case of Pres. Trump, even allowing one's self to be used as an instrument of change for good by God for the benefit of freedoms in Truth to be rekindled against the "Jezebel" spirit that had taken over, then one can only watch for the fruits to be seen as evil systems are daily being exposed. Mr. Putin still backs one of those systems of destruction of freedoms. The Orthodox Church has a history of bending for the sake of the state when necessary and vice versa. It too, as the Roman Church, must be purified. So scratching the back of the representative of that state, still continuing today, is nothing new nor anything to use necessarily as some kind of anointing from God Himself!
  8. Byron

    Byron Powers

    Oh for pete's sakes look to history. We are not expecting our political leaders to be saints. Reagan, and JFK were not saints, and neither was King David! But they were excellent leaders who cared for their people. As Christians we need to follow those who bring order to a system of capitalism that may not be perfect, but at least gives the country a sense of security, and a chance for its people to get out of poverty. When you combine that system with the Church the country has a fighting chance. When you back a Soros atheistic "freedom for all-yes we can" system of capitalism, you invite chaos. It's that simple. Stop with the rose colored glasses approach to there is a better way than Putin. There isn't right now. Just like there wasn't during the Spanish Civil War. Franco was a dictator who governed with a rod iron, but he saved his country at the time from an atheistic chaotic communist takeover. It's the same with Putin. Wake up!
    Richard67 likes this.
  9. Richard67

    Richard67 Powers

    During the Middle Ages, witches like "P...y Riot" would have been burned at the stake. They are disgusting, demonic and dangerous and Russia has every right to sanction their behavior because it is a threat to the spiritual and social order. P...y Riot's atheistic and hedonistic ideology is the embodiment of Bolshevism and Communism. The fact that the Western state-run media elevates them and other sexual perverts and revolutionaries trying to tear down Russia's new Christian order, tells me all I need to know. The same Western state-run media outlets (the same ones that demonize Trump on a daily basis and have been demonizing Putin for over a decade now) that elevate P...y Riot and CIA operatives like Navalny, are the same ones that keep telling us that Putin has jouranlists and other opponents killed. Somehow, I find them a wee bit unreliable and biased. And with regard to the allegations that Putin is a murderous thug who has opponents killed: this is fake news part of a decades-long demonization campaign against Putin by Team Neocon. There is no credible evidence that Putin has his opponents killed. It doesn't matter how many Western state-friendly media rags keep making the allegation, an allegation is not the same thing as a fact. In fact, with regard to the most high profile case - the Litvinenko death - there are at least ten theories on how he died. Putin had the least to gain from killing him; the Western demonizers had the most to gain:

    • 1 Russian government involvement theory
    • 2 Berezovsky theory
    • 3 British intelligence theory
    • 4 Yukos theory
    • 5 Ex-FSB members theory
    • 6 2008 election theory
    • 7 Litvinenko-Shvets report
    • 8 Polonium smuggling and careless handling theory
    • 9 Talik theory
    • 10 Private investigator and blackmailer theory
  10. earthtoangels

    earthtoangels Powers

    You're projecting. I'm arguing for NOT canonizing Putin via the auspices of a Church organization and against those who have so far argued for such purity ONLY for this particular leader, and it would seem just for him, and for other purposes or ulterior motives than just concern for his soul:whistle:

    After conversion some find a true calling for service....so far Mr. Putin doesn't seem to have found a new direction that doesn't also make use of his already learned and not discarded "talents" from his KGB days. Since I have offered examples from various backgrounds but still within the common purpose, hopefully, of truthful seeking of God within one's leadership, I'd say the one with tainted glasses is one who is focused only upon one promoted "savior" without the inclination to even hope for something better....even for the sake of the people. You seem to have a sympathy for the goal of a true Russia, for its God created end, as do I and many, but so far it may be concluded that a lot more chastising may just have to be experienced within in order to bring that about.....leaders included. Trump is getting it from everywhere the NWO spirit has gained footing. And so far Mr. Putin is being defended by "good" Christians, not for fruits but only from external posturing. We here had a lot of that in Obama worship. This is occurring over the whole world. Mr. Putin won't find himself or his ways protected from such. That's a good sign actually since it will show the Divine Will being completed, finally. No room now for any lukewarmness.....choice time for good or evil (systems included).
  11. Byron

    Byron Powers

    No worship here from anyone towards Putin. We are just defending decent Christian order. I'm assuming you have no education on what the Soviet Union was like before Putin. There are huge differences. The Church is breathing again without the fear of persecution. For most of us, that is positive.
  12. Carol55

    Carol55 Ave Maria

    The day that I defend President Putin in a debate will be the day that I decide to migrate to Russia, that day will never come. I am still waiting for all those in my own country who said they would leave the USA if Donald Trump was elected to go, what has been holding them up? :) None of the politicians are saints, none of them. :( But I'll stick with the USA and Jesus Christ, thank you very much.
    Jesus, I trust in you! ;)

    Why Russia refuses to give refugee status to Syrians
    Despite playing a major role in Syria's war, Moscow has granted refugee status to only one Syrian national since 2011.
    by Mariya Petkova January 17, 2018
    Baibers Suleiman, who is Syrian Circassian, and his wife Sara fled to Russia in 2016 [Mariya Petkova/Al Jazeera]
    more on Russia China, Russia not invited to summit on North Korea in Canada today

    Maykop, Republic of Adygea, Russia
    - When Baibers Suleiman arrived in Lebanon in 2014, having fled the war in Syria, he did not feel at ease.

    "We felt alienated, foreign, although we were just three hours away from our home," the 36-year-old Syrian electrician says. He and his 30-year-old wife Sara felt they needed to leave.

    A Syrian friend of Baibers' living in Russia suggested they go there.

    The fact that Baibers is ethnically Circassian helped.

    Adygea, one of the Russian republics in the historical Circassian homeland in the Northern Caucuses, had been helping Syrian Circassians find refuge in Russia, a policy in line with its efforts to repatriate descendants of the Circassian tribes ethnically cleansed from the region in the 1860s.

    Baibers and Sara arrived in Maykop, capital of Adygea, in September 2016. A year later they obtained temporary asylum.

    "Life here is relaxed. It is enough that there is no fighting, no war," says Baibers.

    Although he qualifies for refugee status according to the Geneva Convention, which Moscow is a party to, it is not what Baibers and the thousands of Syrians who have sought asylum in Russia received.

    There is a perception that it's difficult for Syrians to get refugee status in Russia. This is not true. It is actually impossible.
    Svetlana Gannushkina, NGO worker

    In fact, since 2011 when the war started in Syria, only one Syrian national has been granted refugee status in Russia.

    And unlike Baibers, who had the help and support of Adygea's authorities, most Syrians in Russia face an uncooperative, if not outright hostile, asylum system.

    "There is a perception that it's difficult for Syrians to get refugee status in Russia. This is not true. It is actually impossible," says Svetlana Gannushkina, head of the Civic Assistance Committee (CAC), a Moscow-based NGO assisting refugees.

    According to numbers obtained by CAC, as of October 2017, there were 589 people with refugee status in Russia, most of them Ukrainians who fled the recent war and Afghans who arrived after the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan in the late 1980s.

    There were two Syrians on that list, one of them received refugee status before 2011.

    In Adygea, most Syrian refugees have permission for temporary stay.

    Only 22 Syrian Circassians currently have temporary asylum, according to Ashad Guchetl, head of the Center for Adaptation of Repatriants (CAR), a government-supported organisation helping to settle Circassians in the republic.

    There are none with refugee status, Guchetl said.

    Frequently rejected

    Foreigners applying for permission for temporary stay have to prove they have ties to Russia; for individuals of Circassian descent, this is relatively easy, as their historical homeland is located on Russian territory.

    But most Syrians fleeing the war to Russia cannot rely on this option. When they apply for refugee status or even temporary asylum, they often face rejection.

    According to Stasya Denisova, an Amnesty International researcher, authorities often refuse asylum status because applicants cannot prove they are at a "greater" risk of persecution than others from their country.

    "Russia interprets this definition in [the Geneva Convention] in a very narrow [way]," says Denisova.

    In 2015, according to data from Russia's Federal Migration Service (FMS), 695 Syrians who applied for temporary status were rejected and 1,302 received it.

    By mid-2016, when the FMS was dissolved and its functions transferred to the Main Directorate for Migration Affairs under the interior ministry, there were some 7,000 Syrian nationals on Russian territory.

    Gannushkina, from the CAC NGO, says the majority live without legal status.

    When caught by police, Syrians without legal documents are sent to migration detention centres and face deportation.

    According to Gannushkina, Russian judges have started blocking decisions by the interior ministry to expel Syrians.

    Deportations are rare but do take place.

    "Russia is probably the only country in the world that expels Syrians," she says.

    She highlighted dozens of deportation cases, including Syrians put on flights to Turkey.

    In 2014, CAC reported the case of Sultan Raslan, a Syrian married to a Russian citizen who lost all contact with his family after he was deported from Moscow.

    A few months later, the European Court of Human Rights ruled against Russia on another deportation case involving Syrians.

    Hostility towards refugees

    Gannushkina says part of the problem is general hostility towards refugees among state bureaucrats.

    "I talked once to a bureaucrat in the interior ministry. He told me, 'You want us to give refugee status to all these young Syrians? My brother, a young officer, is being sent to fight in Syria,'" recounts Gannushkina.

    "'So my brother will go fight, and we will be feeding here these Syrians. They should go to Syria and defend their homeland, their lawful government,' the bureaucrat told me."

    Russia's interior ministry did not respond to requests for comment.

    In September 2015, Moscow launched an air campaign to assist Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as rebel forces fought his military to a stalemate - a move that eventually turned the tide in the government's favour.

    That same month, Dmitry Peskov, President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, dismissed the idea of hosting Syrians, saying countries that caused the refugee crisis should bear the costs of it.

    More recently, Russian authorities tightened migration and asylum policies because of the upcoming World Cup.

    Amnesty's Denisova told Al Jazeera that police regularly harass Syrian asylum seekers in the streets when checking for documents.

    "[Refugees] are used to paying small sums of money every month to their local police officer because they are aware that they are renting flats on [an informal] basis," she says.

    She also claimed that police arrest refugees who visit the interior ministry to apply for asylum, and they are only freed after paying a fine of 5,000 roubles ($89) for being undocumented.

    Refugees flee to Western Europe

    Difficulty securing asylum has pushed many Syrians out of Russia.

    In 2015, some 5,500 left for Norway through the Borisoglebsky-Storskog border crossing at the northeastern tip of the Scandinavian Peninsula.

    This route was closed when Norway closed its border and sent some refugees back.

    The promise of better conditions there even attracted some Syrian Circassians who had made it to Adygea.

    Guchetl said some Circassians CAR helped had left for Western Europe, but refused to say how many.

    "There are people who went to Germany, others to Norway. These are countries of higher material status. There they get good money until they learn the language and get permanent residency," he explains.

    Sara and Baibers say they are not thinking of leaving Russia as they feel welcome in Adygea.

    When Baibers broke his legs in a work-related incident in 2017 and was unable to work and pay rent, the CAR gave him free temporary housing.

    Sara, who used to be a history teacher in Syria, is now working in a cheese factory and studying Russian. She says she hopes to get another degree in Russia and teach again.

    "We like it here. Everyone has been helping us; we cannot complain," Sara says.

    Follow Mariya Petkova on Twitter: @mkpetkova

    Mariya Petkova is a Bulgarian journalist covering the Middle East, the Balkans and Eastern Europe.
  13. earthtoangels

    earthtoangels Powers

    Well, a pattern here....you "assume" then wrongly. If you wish to hero worship, but also not necessarily called for either in this case, it might be for Gorbachev. Once such an opening occurred and within such conditions, the barn door was open. But with open eyes with regard to this atmosphere into which Putin entered....after of course his own history within that period you mention as somehow "before" Putin, him participating in said period as a Col. within the KGB....one might just conclude with this now overt attempt to begin such a renewed dream of greater Russian hegemony everywhere by the man.....that those who had been formerly subjugated within that crushing system might just have real reasons for fearing such demonstrations of renewed might advertised by Mr. Putin, and be well within their rights to desire aid that could enhance their own lesser defenses against the recognized ongoing development of major defense systems by Russia.
  14. Byron

    Byron Powers

    Ok Carol how many are allowed in Israel?
  15. earthtoangels

    earthtoangels Powers

    And just a little addition....Mr. Gorbachev's negative checkpoints that show his own less than pure intentions might just be his own personal hope for his own place within that developing NWO "system" instead!
  16. Byron

    Byron Powers

    or for that matter Saudia Arabia, Jordan, or even the U.S.?
  17. Byron

    Byron Powers

    ????????????? I hear crickets
  18. earthtoangels

    earthtoangels Powers

    Am wondering the count of how many would even want to stay in Russia? And the other places for obvious reasons....other than just being responsible for the mess the main character there has created.
  19. Carol55

    Carol55 Ave Maria

    Byron, I posted an article about Russia & Syrian refugees, proceeding the article with my own opinions. I don't know enough about Putin to defend him in a debate but I will continue to question his and others actions/motives. I don't think that we need to take a brash tone with each other over an uncertain difference in politics. I am sure you can provide the answers to the questions that you have posed. I wish that I had an answer to the current migrant crisis. I simply found that article to contain news that we don't readily hear in the USA and I was offering it for discussion purposes especially since it appears to be nonpartisan.
    The following article from the same author could provide some background information as to why some Catholic prophecies state that there will be civil unrest in Russia prior to the period of peace. It appears that Russia's answer for homosexuality is not very Christian, imo, either but of course this is another difficult issue that our world is facing. It is more evidence that our world is convulsing and that the charity of men is growing cold. It is a tough balance, retaining our moral values and remaining charitable but this is what we must strive for. That doesn't mean complete open borders or supporting same-sex marriage among other things but it also doesn't mean that we should turn a complete blind eye to migrants or commit a violent act against another person who we don't agree with.

    The death of the Russian far right http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/11/death-russian-171123102640298.html
    How the Kremlin destroyed the far right in Russia, while backing it in the West. by Mariya Petkova 16 Dec 2017
    Participants carry a banner during a Russian nationalist march on National Unity Day in Moscow on November 4, 2017. The banner reads: "To be Russian - to be a warrior" [Reuters/Maxim Shemetov]
    more on Russia

    On November 4, a few hundred people gathered for the annual ultranationalist "Russian march" in Moscow. With chants like "Glory to Russia" and "Freedom for political prisoners", the demonstrators tried to march through the Lyublino neighbourhood of Moscow, before the police dispersed the crowd, arresting dozens.

    But this year's march was a far cry from what it used to be in the late 2000s and early 2010s when thousands of people would join well-organised columns replete with banners, flags and drummers.

    Today, most of the leaders of the ultranationalist groups that used to organise the march are either in jail or in self-imposed exile. Their supporters consider them to be politically persecuted and complain about increasing state repression.

    Although the Kremlin has been accused of supporting conservative and far-right political groups in Europe, at home it seems to be becoming increasingly intolerant towards groups that propagate ideas similar to their Western counterparts.

    In the past few years, and especially since the conflict in Ukraine erupted in 2014, the Russian authorities have cracked down on nationalist groups under the guise of criminal investigations or accusations of extremism under the infamous "anti-extremism" Law 282.

    'Controlled nationalism'

    In the early 2000s, Russian President Vladimir Putin was finishing his first presidential term when two colour revolutions struck nearby - the first in Georgia in 2003 and the second in Ukraine in 2004. Large crowds in Tbilisi and Kiev demanded democratic change and major political reforms. The possibility of a colour revolution erupting in Russia seemed too real.

    It was then that the Kremlin looked to the right. Russian observers would later identify this strategy of employing nationalist forces as "controlled nationalism".

    "Controlled nationalism is about using nationalists in some [political] games. In some cases, [the authorities] would support nationalists in order to keep the regime alive, to fight the threat of a colour revolution," says Anton Shekhovtsov, visiting fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Austria.

    "They thought that if they supported those ultranationalist movements, they would decrease the opportunity of nationalists becoming a force that would destabilise the regime," he explains.

    In early 2005, in response to the colour revolutions, the International Eurasian movement, headed by Alexander Dugin, a right-wing political scientist and ideologue (whom Western journalists eventually nicknamed "Putin's Rasputin") created a youth wing, the Eurasian Youth Union (ESM). Its aim was to whip up nationalist sentiment and mobilise young people against anti-government attitudes.

    Police officers detain a participant of a Russian nationalist march on National Unity Day in Moscow on November 4, 2017 [Reuters/Maxim Shemetov]

    That same year, the Russian authorities decided to finally do away with the November 7 official holiday celebrating the October Revolution. They moved the allocated day off to November 4 - the day Moscow was liberated from the Poles in 1612, an official holiday in tsarist Russia until 1917.

    The authorities named the new holiday "National Unity Day", but there wasn't much public enthusiasm for it and most Russians didn't even know its history. So when the ESM requested to hold a right-wing march on that day, the local authorities readily obliged.

    Other ultranationalist organisations and skinhead groups joined the ESM and the turnout that year surprised many: Some 3,000 people marched, chanting "Glory to Russia" and "Russians forward", as young men made Nazi salutes in front of TV cameras.

    In the years that followed, the ESM was pushed out of the organising committee of the march for being too pro-Kremlin and two other groups took the lead: the Movement Against Illegal Immigration (DPNI) and the Slavic Union (SS). The DPNI was led by Alexander Potkin, who changed his name to Belov ("bely" in Russian means white) and the SS was headed by Dmitry Dyomushkin. Both men are now in jail.

    "Belov was my assistant in the Duma. He became an opportunist and has ended up in jail," says Andrei Savelev, founder and leader of the "Great Russia" nationalist movement, who was elected to the Duma in 2003. At around the same time, Dyomushkin was an assistant to another member of the Duma during that period, Nikolay Kuryanovich from the pro-Kremlin ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia.

    "Аll these years Dyomushkin was surprisingly untouchable. He was doing things for which others would go to jail. For four to five years, the justice system did not touch him," says Savelev.

    According to him, Dyomushkin and Belov were coopted by the Russian authorities. He says this was why he withdrew his organisation from the Russian march.

    Ivan Beletsky, a close associate of Dyomushkin who took over organising the march in 2016, rejects the idea of cooptation and claims that "Great Russia" is a pro-government group. He says that the authorities tried but failed to take control of the Russian march in the late 2000s and were compelled to permit it in order to "cool down popular agitation".

    "The Russian march is a protest march: against the government, against corruption, and for a change of power," he says, speaking to Al Jazeera via Skype from a location outside of Russia that he refused to disclose.

    Retired Russian colonel Vladimir Kvachkov speaks at the 2011 Russian march, flagged by Georgy Borovikov (left) and Dmitry Dyomushkin (right) [Sergey Kozmin/Al Jazeera]

    In July 2011, Dyomushkin and Belov caused a stir within the ultranationalist movement for going to Chechnya and meeting with its president, Ramazan Kadyrov, a Kremlin loyalist, despite their anti-Chechen and anti-Muslim rhetoric. Dyomushkin subsequently went to Grozny a number of times.

    In August 2011, DPNI was banned by the Russian government (the SS had been banned a year earlier). Nevertheless, the government allowed the Russian march to take place. On November 4, more than 10,000 nationalists, joined by opposition politicians like Alexei Navalny, marched in Lyublino with banners reading "Stop feeding Caucasus".

    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
  20. Carol55

    Carol55 Ave Maria


    Over the years, the central government has been perceived as being quite generous in its budget allocation to the Chechen Republic in the North Caucasus and has been criticised by both nationalists and liberals for it.

    In 2012, ultranationalist organisations participating in the Russian march backed anti-government protests. The merger between regular opposition and nationalists worried the government and the Federal Security Service (FSB) considered it a potentially "revolutionary situation", says Beletsky.

    Schism in the far right and crackdown

    The events of 2014 in Ukraine caught the ultranationalist groups in Russia by surprise. On one hand, the Kremlin was employing strong nationalist rhetoric claiming Crimea was "rightfully" Russian and that ethnic Russians living in Ukraine had to be protected; on the other, fellow Ukrainian far-right groups were supporting the Maidan and opposing the annexation.

    "In 2014, the Kremlin demanded full loyalty from all Russian nationalists," says Shekhovtsov. "Some of them declined to become loyal to the Kremlin."

    The result was a "schism" in the nationalist movement with one camp supporting the annexation of Crimea and the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, and the other opposing both and supporting the Ukrainian central government.

    "We right-wing nationalists - we consider [the breakaway regions in Eastern Ukraine] Putin's machinations. We stood up against this and we suffered fierce repressions," says Beletsky.

    On November 4, 2014, there were two events in Moscow that claimed to be the Russian march - one supporting the annexation of Crimea and the other rejecting it. In the following months, one by one leaders of ultranationalist groups supporting the latter were arrested on various charges.

    Dmitry Dyomushkin (left) and Alexander Belov (right) in February 2011 at an event commemorating Russian soldiers that died in service [Sergey Kozmin/Al Jazeera]

    In 2015, Belov was arrested and a year later convicted on charges of money laundering related to a Kazakh bank and spreading extremism among Russian-speaking Kazakh citizens. He was sentenced to seven and a half years in jail.

    In 2016, Dyomushkin was arrested for posting a photo of a previous Russian march in which a banner saying "Russian power in Russia" was visible. He was accused of spreading "extremism" and handed two and a half years in prison. A previous court case against him on similar charges dating from 2011 ended in early 2014 without a sentence due to an expiration of the statute of limitations.

    According to his lawyer, Dmitry Baharev, who also used to be a member of the SS, the case against him is politically motivated.

    "Usually for pictures, they give suspended sentences, but Dyomushkin got prison," he says. "In my opinion, this is connected with the events in Ukraine."

    Another close associate of Dyomushkin and Belov and a frequent Russian march attendee, Georgy Borovikov, а leader of the banned National Patriotic Front "Memory" was arrested and sentenced to seven and a half years in prison in 2014 for robbery and torture.

    Other far-right leaders managed to escape before being arrested. Beletsky says he fled the country fearing arrest as he was questioned multiple times and briefly detained this year after organising nationalists to join Navalny for an anti-government protest in March.

    Yury Gorsky, also an organiser of the Russian march and former member of various ultranationalist groups, was charged with spreading extremism and is currently in Lithuania. Igor Artyomov, the former leader of the banned Russian All-National Union, which also used to participate in the march, received political asylum in the US.

    Prominent ultranationalist vlogger Vyacheslav Maltsev, who at some point was associated with "Great Russia" and also attended Russian marches, fled from Russia after being briefly detained and is currently in hiding in a European country. Maltsev called for a "revolution" on November 5. Many of his supporters had previously been or were subsequently arrested.

    Human rights groups have been divided over whether or not to consider the detention and imprisonment of ultranationalists to be political prosecution. Human rights organisation "Memorial" considers that in the case of Belov, there are "signs of political motivation".

    "All of these big nationalist leaders are guilty, not necessarily of what they accuse them of, but there is a lot of other things they did. The authorities have not undertaken to sort out these things because it is too difficult or long, so they stuck on them whatever they could," says Natalya Yudina, a researcher at "Sova Centre" which focuses on extremism and violations of human rights in Russia. She says that the centre does not consider Belov a political prisoner and that members of the organisations which he and Dyomushkin led committed violent attacks in the past.

    Promoting destabilisation abroad, preempting it at home

    While the Kremlin was cracking down on the far right at home, in the West, it was seeking its support.

    According to Shekhovtsov, the Kremlin launched efforts to establish relations with ultranationalist groups in Europe as early as 2008.

    "[In 2008,] many in the Russian elite circles believed that Russia may have won the war with Georgia in military terms but it failed to win the information war and convince the West or the international community that Russia's actions were justified," he says.

    Members of Germany's far-right AfD protest against German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Dortmund, Germany on August 12, 2017. The placard reads, "Looking for [Viktor] Orban - Offering Merkel" [Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay]

    Russian national and international media sought to feature Western commentators sympathetic to Russia's actions in Georgia, but could not find any in the mainstream; the ones that would openly express support were mostly on the far right, explains Shekhovtsov.

    In the following years, the Kremlin invested a lot of effort into nourishing ties with far-right groups and parties in the West. The Russian authorities would organise ultranationalist conferences, back media initiatives, and establish formal agreements with far-right parties.

    Currently, the ruling United Russia party has established cooperation agreements with the Northern League in Italy and the Freedom Party in Austria. In 2014, the National Front in France borrowed nearly $13m in Russian bank loans.

    Various other ultranationalist groups in the EU are said to have ties to Russia: from the Alternative for Germany (AfD) to Ataka Party in Bulgaria.

    Shekhovtsov, who wrote a book on the subject, points out that Russian efforts to court Europe's far right have not rendered major victories, such as the suspension of sanctions against Moscow in place since the annexation of Crimea. But the growing strength of far-right groups has had a destabilising effect across Europe.

    In Germany, the AfD, which hardly managed to clear the five percent threshold in the 2013 elections, this year won 12.6 percent and is the third-largest party in the Bundestag after the September elections. Some commentators have attributed that success to Russian backing.

    At home, the Kremlin preempted such a scenario.

    "[Today] the anti-Putin far-right movement is extremely small. You cannot compare this to any other period of time in Russia [since 1991] where you would have such a weak [ultranationalist] movement," says Shekhovtsov.

    According to him, some ultranationalist groups have already changed strategy to accommodate the regime. At the same time, since 2014, a number of "patriotic" and ultra-Orthodox organisations have emerged which have also been accused of attacks, but not on minorities or migrants; their victims have mostly been opposition activists, like Navalny, and liberals.

    "The classical Russian nationalism, in its ethnic form, is a thing of the past. There are new movements that are appearing now, which are connected with the Kremlin ideologically," says Yudina. "The main thing for them is patriotism, the praise of our state, and adopting conservative, Orthodox values."

    Yudina says that in recent years hate attacks on minorities and migrants have decreased tenfold - from a few hundred in the late 2000s to a few dozen in 2016. Yet attacks on the LGBT community have persisted, as the new "patriotic" and ultra-Orthodox groups consider them "freaks".

    "All this scares me. This it seems to me will be the future. Aggressive Orthodox organisations will be getting stronger," she says.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018

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