06 February 2009

Race, Gender, and More Violence in Moscow

SOVA reports:

On 27 January 2009, a twenty-four year old Nigerian was beaten at a bus stop near Metro Station Aviamotornaia.

As the Nigerian was talking with his Russian girlfriend, a young man approached him and asked what was going on. Then the man called out to two of his friends and, with cries of “Russia, Russia!” they started to beat the Nigerian.

The attacked man incurred minor wounds to his face. He is certain that the attack was racially motivated.*
Serious question: does this type of virulent nationalism ever NOT come in a package deal with sexist ideas about the protection of women?

In better news, President Medvedev encouraged the Ministry of Internal Affairs to take up the problem of extremism:
The appearance of extremism has caused a great alarm in recent times. In the past year, despite a general decrease in crime, the number of extremist acts has increased practically three-fold. I won’t just state the obvious: that Russia in a multinational, multi-confessional country. These crimes are inflicting colossal damage, they are a systemic threat to the existence of our society. In accordance with my order, the MVD will create a special sub-unit on the prevention of extremism. I expect that this will accommodate a more efficacious level of work.
Unfortunately, this was just after he pushed for a crack-down on migrant labor:
And another subject, a critical subject—illegal labor migration. It is known that crime among citizens who come from bordering countries grows from year to year, constantly it grows, and now the numbers are very difficult. Under conditions in which the labor market for foreign workers has decreased by half, not only do we face the possibility of the illegal use of the work force, but also a general worsening of the criminal situation.
One step at a time, I guess... Or is it some other saying about steps that I'm looking for?


*All translations in this post are mine.


Anonymous said...

You know, Buster, the only part of your position I definitely do not accept is your idea (if I take it correctly) that rights of migrants must be secured _even on the expense of Russia's citizens_.

I agree with the idea that rights of _all people_ must be secured.

While in your view it's only migrants that must feel comfortably regardless of all other people. "Pushing it to absurd", Russian citizen killing a migrant is a worse issue than a migrant killing a Russian citizen. Please, correct me if I'm wrong.

I view both Medvedev's statements as absolutely correct.


Anonymous said...

Okey -- my idea is not to ensure every person on Earth makes an unflawed living -- just please, consider my idea. :-)


Anonymous said...

Relevant joke:

"Социологические исследования показывают, что все, кто садится на ежа, сразу начинают думать только о своей заднице, и никому не приходит в голову подумать о еже."


Buster said...

"Pushing it to absurd", Russian citizen killing a migrant is a worse issue than a migrant killing a Russian citizen. Please, correct me if I'm wrong.

Look, Evgeny, you've already trotted out this ridiculous scenario last October/November.

Here's what I said then about my focus on migration and migrants:

2. Similarly, I don't see the issues surrounding migration as a migrant versus citizen conflict. This xenophobic framing of immigration has done nothing good, as far as I can tell. As migrants are offered fewer protections by the nation-state and greater dangers from the State and vigilante elements of society, you are right, that I often sympathize with them. Perhaps it's a personal bias, though I hope it's a general sense of social justice that motivates me. I have not seen any reputable predictions that migrant marches will lead to violence. I lend no credence to the bluster of Mr. Potkin/Belov.

On the specific ridiculous comparison you have been offering:

With a ten foot pole, I shan't touch this.

Lastly, I offered this:

I just don't think we're getting anywhere with your re-assertions of talking points from the pro-government nationalist opinion-makers in Russia: foreigners ought not interfere in Russian affairs; Americans/Europeans apply a double-standard in their evaluations of Russians; the administration's relation to dissent is required by the current political-economic situation; people who complain about the treatment of migrants in Russia seem to want some unfair "special rights" or "special treatment."

There are arguments (faulty in my opinion) for each of these assertions, I suppose. But I have yet to get the sense that you are actually reading my posts and replies in full, understanding them, and responding in a thoughtful manner. Rather it seems that you just latch onto keywords and activate some pre-existing script on the topic.

Really, I think we are talking past each other. And I'm not sure that it is a worthwhile expenditure of time for either of us.

Since then, a number of other readers--Russian, American, and some of various other stripes--have tried to reason with you, taking apart the many faulty assumptions and sundry misleading arguments you have offered. I have yet witness you once actually respond to a criticism with anything other than deflection, change of subject or re-assertion of the same tired point.

I still, bizarrely, believe that you are entering into this conversation in good faith. But, PLEASE, consider all the arguments that people here have offered you before repeating the same knee-jerk reactions to my posts.

For now, perhaps it's best that that reflection takes place quietly, okay?

Anonymous said...

>>On the specific ridiculous comparison you have been offering:

>With a ten foot pole, I shan't touch this.

May be, I shall help you?
Both "events" are _equally wrong_ , because each results in a human murder -- destroying of a whole universe which exists in the minds of every human.

And if you have other answers to this question, perhaps you need to review your ideology and views: something must be wrong!


Anonymous said...

As a cliche phrase, "some reading may help". Vladimir Duduntsev's "Белые одежды"("White Garments") is a good book to answer such questions.


daut said...

Unfortunatly, efforts to crack down on extremisim in Russia are too often a double-edged sword

Buster said...


I hear you.

I was going to write something to that effect, but (1) in the context of Medvedev's specific mention of Russia as a multinational society, it seemed clear to me that he was talking about xenophobic violence and (2) I've mentioned before that the Russian government has cynically used these "opportunities" to crack down on all types of dissent.

But you're right. I probably should have explicitly noted it here. Especially since the overall tone of that speech to the MVD was "start cracking some skulls and get things under control."

Anonymous said...

Buster, what you are writing is very interesting.

"I've mentioned before that the Russian government has cynically used these "opportunities" to crack down on all types of dissent."

Please, provide information about at least a SINGLE case of what you are speaking.

Thank you,

Buster said...

Yawn... Here's how it's going to go. I'll present a few examples. You'll point out that each one has one of the following problems: (a) it comes from a biased source; (b) was a justifiable use of force; or (c) you'll just say something crazy.

Go ahead.





I could go on, but is there really a point?

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Buster.

It's good that we understand each other.


Anonymous said...

However, if we e.g. speak about the Other Russia, it would be unfair to say they are poor sheeps.

They are realists.

There's a thought which I heard for the first time about a year ago. It's repeated, since it's simply Kasparov's view. Today Kasparov expressed it again:

""Сегодня в стране происходят процессы, с которыми правительство справиться не в состоянии", - заявил Каспаров. По его мнению, режим, в том виде, в котором он сейчас находится, не способен противостоять кризису, так как он направлен на потребление национального богатства захватившими власть чиновниками. В этой ситуации оппозиции необходимо предложить свой сценарий развития событий, чтобы предотвратить падение России в хаос."


That's what they are determined to -- seizure of power if socially economical situation in the country gets screwed up.

Coyotes, scavengers -- seems to be a correct description.

Is that a crazy thing to say?


La Russophobe said...

Buster, we feel your pain when you attempt to demand facts and reason when dealing with a piece of Russophile filth like Yevgeny, and we dispute your contention that he acts in good faith. He is a Kremlin shill whose only purpose is to destroy opposition to the Kremlin by any means possible, a relic of a failed neo-Soviet past.

When he states: "the only part of your position I definitely do not accept is your idea" you should challenge him to list, in his words "at least a SINGLE case" in which he has ever written ANYTHING to criticize Russian racists and the inaction of the Kremlin on that topic. He hasn't, of course, and so his insane tirades amount to nothing but the failed hypocritical and dishonest rhetoric of the USSR. Apparently, it's his goal that Russia follows in the USSR's path into the ashcan of history when he calls Medevedev "absolutely correct."

Those who cannot remember history are doomed to repeat it, and in Evgeny's case their suffering is richly deserved. Russia's stock market is down 80%, most of any major country, FOREX down 50%, currency down 30%, and all this mindless robot can do is call for more of the same.

It's utterly pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Russophobes becoming indignant is the best confirmation of correctness of my position for me.

If Buster wants to ask me anything, he will do, and I don't think I need a Russophobe to aid my communication with owner of this blog.


Anonymous said...

"Serious question: does this type of virulent nationalism ever NOT come in a package deal with sexist ideas about the protection of women?"

I don't quite get the idea about "protection of women". It's merely a pattern of the like "why does this guy walk with our girls?" It was common for Russian villages of the XX century: anyone considered as outsider for the village would be harshly met (with physical violence) if one would try to meet local girls. What you describe is merely that pattern taken to the broader world -- what's not an unlikely theory if you remember massive-scale industrialization of Soviet Union of XX century -- in its start the vast majority of population were peasants, now the vast majority are citizens of cities.

Don't know if it does much sense for you...


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Buster said...

Threats and threatening language will be deleted.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Buster said...

OK, back to comment moderation. I won't accept threatening language, and this includes moronic invitations to duels.

Anonymous said...

You don't understand what the true freedom stands for, Buster. Freedom is first of all a spiritual notion, and it includes an opportunity of leaving the physical body for the sake of some greater purpose.

Besides, duels are a part of European culture. Great Russian poets, like Pushkin and Lermontov, ended their lives at duels.

Americans are not truly free, they are slaves of their bodies.


Sean Guillory said...

Buster thanks for pointing to the Russia Profile special report. I hadn't seen it. One of the problems with getting everything through RSS I guess.

I am tempted to respond to Evgeny's mention of me, but really don't understand what he's saying. And judging from the above exchange, I don't know what a response would be worth.

Anonymous said...

Hello, Sean.

Of course, you know that a number of people in Russia have concerns about the U.S. policies, some people may have weaker or stronger anti-American sentiment or prejudices. However you can speak to a number of these peoples, and turn it ultimately to the good, perhaps.

Imagine however you met a person with a sticker "Anti-American", who sees everything, even whatever you can possibly tell him, in the view of a worldwide american conspiracy.

I doubt you'd like to talk to such person. I guess you'd feel strong emotions about one, and would perhaps even punch one in his face, may be.


1) First of all, I agree with your view that the only real opposition in Russia are the Communists.

2) It looks like you feel sympathy to some of the opposition groups. I do not. I'll try to explain why. 2a) The current Russia's regime, with all its drawbacks is not the worst possible, because it relies on people's wide support and it has to take people's concerns into account while providing state policies.
2b) In case of a possible victory of opposition, it wouldn't be the best force to take power, but the worst. In situation when everything will be decided by brute force, it would be the most mean, vulgar, revolting structures to take the power.
It's my view, you don't have to agree to it (perhaps you may tend to perceive left-wing opposition in shades of forthcoming positive changes it may possibly bring.)
3) I'm not an expert in politics, but a mere citizen. Besides, with education in natural not humanitarian sciences. So, good luck!


Anonymous said...

And yes, there's no secret that I learned to hate at some Western internet forums. I realize that now I'm a worse person than I was 5 years ago -- naive humanist rubber-stamped by a Russian school. The only positive thing is that being an atheist I do not believe in the Hell.


Sean Guillory said...

Evgeny, I do have sympathy for some of the opposition groups, but not the ones connected to Kasparov et al. I agree that their victory would be disastrous since I think they want institute widespread neo-liberal policies in Russia. I don't think reducing Russia to a banana republic is desirable. Plus I don't really think they want power let alone have the guts to take it. They've become political rock stars for the West and there is a good living to be made in that.

Plus they have no program, no politics, no analysis, and no constituency. All they have to is blame Putin. In my view Other Russia is totally ideologically and politically impoverished.

My main support is for the growth of a Russian labor movement. I also have affinity for left wing groups who are anti-capitalist and anti-neoliberal globalization.

I'm fascinated with Limonov and other radical right and left wing groups, but most out of an academic interest in radical movements.

As for the popularity of the government. This is indeed true, even as things have gotten worse in the last few months. As for whether they consider people concerns, I'm not as optimistic. The Putinists are conservative or national populists for sure. I just wonder how long they can maintain this under a worsening economic situation.

In my view, the Putinists real power lies in the elite (oligarchs + middle businessmen). If anything pissing them off could pose a bigger threat than anything Other Russia can muster.

Anonymous said...

"As for whether they consider people concerns, I'm not as optimistic. The Putinists are conservative or national populists for sure. I just wonder how long they can maintain this under a worsening economic situation."

What feature of Putin's regime is different from Yeltsin's regime -- that's not even political or economical consideration, but authorities started to make reasonable promises which they tend to fulfil.

They do not claim there would be Communism after 20 years or that teachers will get the wage of a skillful worker.

They say like: we can increase teacher's wage by say 20% this year; it's yet minor wage, but we can't increase it more because it would lead to rise of inflation.

And the core of Putin's popularity is not his populism (he doesn't promise easy life for anyone), but the idea that the Government makes promises it can fulfil.

Another thing is that the Government actually listens to the opposition -- compare e.g. one of Solidarity claims,
"1. Выделять государственную финансовую помощь напрямую гражданам, а не корпорациям."

with governmental decision to increase pensions by 30% in 2009:

This measure serves to stimulate the internal demand. Besides, if any group of citizens deserves aid it's the elderly, who have less or no possibilities to work.

Agree with your views on Other Russia.

Not sure about labor movement -- it's the government that has to ensure "rules of the game", e.g. that enterprises pay wages timely, etc, in accordance with the work legislature.

I also don't quite understand what the "Capitalism" stands for. I understand what's the market economy. But I don't see why one of its different actors -- buyer or seller -- deserve better treatment than the other. It's all about emotions, not the way the real economy works...