Internet platform for studying Xenophobia, Radicalism and Problems of Intercultural communication.

Anti-Xenophobic Rhetoric

Anti-Xenophobic Rhetoric President of Russia Vladimir Putin.

Anti-xenophobic rhetoric was actively used by the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin during the monitored period. On March 21, Mr Putin spoke at the reporting board of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, where he urged the Ministry to make every legal and organisational effort to curb hate propaganda, “including online or any other informational technology and resources”. According to the Russian President, turning a blind eye to extremist antics is unacceptable. “Statistics indicate that over the past year the number of such crimes has increased. This is a serious threat to our society,” Mr Putin noted. “Your professional duty is to vigorously fight against any manifestations of xenophobia, nationalism, religious hatred and engage in the prevention of extremism among the youth.”

On April 7, 2014, Vladimir Putin spoke at the meeting of the Federal Security Service (FSB), stating that the struggle against terrorism and extremism must remain the main focus of the FSB. “Having said that, I would like to emphasize the following important point – it is necessary to clearly distinguish between the legitimate oppositional activities, which exists in any democratic state, and extremism, which is built on hatred, on national and ethnic hatred, social enmity and denial of the law and the Constitution. It is necessary to see the difference between the civilized opposition to the government and the service to foreign national interests to the detriment of our country,” Mr. President noted.

In an interview with French press, Vladimir Putin said, “We do not intend to support Russian nationalism, nor do we intend to revive the Russian Empire” Speaking at military university graduation on June 26, President Putin named combatting extremism as one of his main objectives. Putin noted, “It is important that young people understand the significance of national policy, national and cultural diversity. In it, in its variety, there is power, advantage to our country, which for centuries absorbed the different traditions, cultures, different ethnic groups. If this harmony is destroyed, so is the internal integrity of our country. We need a consistent, systemic work, which would strengthen the civil solidarity and interethnic harmony. Everyone must be involved in this work – state, municipal structures, non-governmental organisations and, of course, family.”

President also urged the Ministry of Education to focus on preventative measures against extremist manifestations among school and university students. Putin also announced government's intention to launch a single monitoring system of international relations and the prevention of possible conflicts on ethnic grounds. A federal centre for monitoring will be established for that purpose and will coordinate the analytical and preventative activity of government bodies, academic organisations. President also supported the initiative to create the legal basis for combatting Nazi ideology and glorification of Nazi criminals.

On July 9, 2014, President Vladimir Putin received a delegation of rabbis from foreign countries – Israel, Austria, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and France. President said that Russia will always remember the Holocaust, will cherish the memory of its victims and do everything in its power to prevent the recurrence of such tragedies in the future. “Most concerning is the revival of Nazi ideas here and there,” President Putin said. “I would like to thank the Jewish community, non-governmental organisations that actively and courageously combat any manifestations and any attempts to revive the Nazi ideology.

On August 14, President Vladimir Putin spoke in Yalta. “All peoples living in Crimea must feel absolutely equal, which is why we made the decision that all languages are equal – essentially giving them the official status – Crimean Tatar language, Russian and Ukrainian On the same day, Putin met with members of parliamentary factions. “Our country was founded as a multinational and multi-confessional state. We have the tradition of not just coexistence, but mutual understanding between cultures and religions. For example, we have almost 10% of Muslim population, but these are not immigrants, these are our citizens. Understand that they do not have any other Homeland, and majority of them treat Russia as their large home. There is a small homeland and a large one. We must not discriminate”.

On November 20, 2014, President Vladimir Putin delivered a big speech dedicated to combatting extremism. He called counter-extremism an issue the relevance of which “evokes no doubts”. Putin also urged to pay close attention to international and interfaith relations, support cultures and customs of all nations that live in the regions and to develop the migration policy and adapt immigrants in the society. He also stressed the importance of monitoring and analysing relations between various ethnic and social groups.

On December 17, 2014, Putin met with Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar and president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Alexander Boroda. He wished them a happy Hanukah and said, “Our nation is multinational and multi-confessional. Each part of our large nation has its own unique culture and faith. However, there is a foundation that unites us – what we have just talked about. This makes us a monolith nation, united and able to solve many challenges that lie before us”.

The President also participated in the ceremonies commemorating the victims of the Holocaust on January 27, 2015 in Moscow and the Armenian Genocide on April 24 of the same year in Yerevan. In each case, he made a big speech, in which he noted that such crimes do not have a statute of limitations, neither pardon nor oblivion. "Crimes like the Holocaust should not happen again. This is our common duty and, without exaggeration, the most important and urgent task for the entire world community, "Putin said on January 27. "The world community is obliged to do everything possible so that the tragic events of the past will never be repeated, so that all peoples can live in peace and harmony without knowing the horrors fueled by incitement to religious hostility, aggressive nationalism and xenophobia," said the President, speaking in Yerevan.

Speaking on May 19, 2015 at a joint meeting of the Council on Interethnic Relations and the Council on the Russian language, Putin said: "The Russian Constitution directly guarantees the right of all peoples to preserve their native language, create conditions for its study and development. Including the republics have the right to establish their own state languages ​​and use them in the work of state authorities and local self-government along with the state language of Russia. As an example, I will cite the Crimea, where there are three equal languages: Russian, Ukrainian, Crimean Tatar. But we know other examples when in some countries the right of significant ethnic communities to use their native language is ignored or limited when a rigid, aggressive policy of linguistic and cultural assimilation. And we see the consequences of this: the division of society into "full" and "inferior" people, "citizens" and "non-citizens" - all this leads to the tragic internal conflicts. "

Russian senior officials adhered to a similar rhetoric. On November 9, 2014, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev wrote on his official Facebook page, “There are dates that cannot be forgotten. Among them is November 9, 1938 – Kristallnacht – the night that started the disaster that was the Holocaust. Millions of people fell victim to the ideology of national and racial supremacy. An obvious evil – it would seem. Alas, it continues to conquer the minds of people to this day. Today is the International Day Against Fascism and Anti-Semitism. Humanity has a lot to think about and a lot to prevent from happening”.

Head of the Russian presidential administration, Sergei Ivanov, speaking on February 26, 2015, at a meeting of the board of the Russian Investigative Committee called for Russian investigators to actively resist the artificial incitement of ethnic conflicts.

The Russian Military Doctrine, published on December 30, 2014, identified “global extremism” (terrorism) and presence of interethnic and interfaith tensions among the main threats to the country, along with territorial disputes, separatism and extremism in certain regions of the world. Among “internal threats” were interethnic and social tensions, extremism and incitement to ethnic and religious hatred or enmity.

On April 18, 2014, Deputy Head of Presidential Administration in Ulan Ude noted the importance of appointing commissioners for interethnic affairs in the regions. He said that to prevent international conflicts, certain people must bear the responsibility. He also noted the importance of adaptation centres for migrants and a system of monitoring the situation with interethnic relations.

On February 12, 2015, Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation Yuri Chaika spoke against the media reporting the ethnicity of perpetrators. On January 10, State Duma Deputy Olga Batalina, co-author of the Law prohibiting “propaganda of homosexuality” did not support Okhlobysin’s idea to reintroduce Article punishing sodomy to the Criminal Code. In an interview with “VestiFM”, she stated: “I consider this proposal quite dangerous. It may create an impression that the state is prepared to invade a person’s privacy. The government does not intervene in adult citizen’s private life. Adopting the law banning propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations, we are talking only about minors and about shielding them from information that harms their health and development. An adult citizen is free to act within the law and any additional restrictions here are, of course, unnecessary".

On April 14, 2015 head of the Federal Security Service (FSB) Alexandr Bortnikov said that law enforcement bodies have identified several hundred radical Islamists in Ural since 2010. “Given the increasing influx of migrants in Ural, we need to establish reliable legal and administrational barriers that can prevent infiltration of persons intending to carry out terrorist acts,” he noted.

On March 5, 2015, Presidential Representative on Interethnic Cultural Cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoy commended on the scandal around the Tannhauser play in Novosibirsk , criticising the ROC. “Unfortunately, it became common place that regional church authorities or individual members of the Church demand to prohibit certain art and insist on criminal prosecution”.

On June 28, 2015, deputy head of the Constitutional Legislation Committee of the Council of Federation Konstantin Dobrynin proposed to enshrine the American principle of “don’t ask – don’t tell” in Russian legislation regarding “non-traditional sexual orientations”. He said that “one can laugh” at America or the tolerant Europe, but it must be recognised that the “world is global” and “it’s only a matter of time”, when minorities receive equal rights. Dobrynin criticised Russia’s current policies towards homosexuals and encouraged the government to find a new legal form that would provide for a “public balance” between the conservative part of society and the rest. He added that it is important to “reduce the level of aggression towards minorities”.

On January 20, 2015, Minister of Internal Affairs of Tatarstan, Artyom Khokhorin, said that progress has been made in combatting terrorism and extremism in the republic, but more should be done. He added that radical Islam and neo-Nazi youth remain a threat to the republic. Russian Minister of Internal Affairs, Alexandr Savenkov, added that more efforts should be made to combat extremism and terrorism, as there is not observed decrease of this trend.

On January 26, 2015, Moscow Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War held a commemorative event dedicated to the International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 70th anniversary of liberation of Auschwitz. Deputy Mayor for Social Development Leonid Pechatnikov thanked everyone attending at the ceremony. Mayor of Moscow, S. Sobyanin, stressed the importance of remembering these events in his welcoming speech.

On January 26, 2015, deputy head of the State Council of the Crimean Republic, head of the Crimean Tatar Movement “Crimea”, Remzi Ilyasov, urged Crimean people to commemorate victims of the Holocaust and prevent any manifestations of hate on the peninsula.

On May 18, head of the Crimean Republic Sergey Aksenov said at the site of the future memorial of deportations in Bakhchisaray that these deportations was one of the most tragic pages in the history of the Crimean people and the government will make sure to keep its memory.

On June 24, a commemorative rally was held in Simferopol, dedicated to the deportations of Armenians, Bulgarians and Greeks.

Firm position of Udmurtia authorities in a local “church scandal” must be noted. On March 5, 2015, regional Ministry of Culture and Tourism published a response to priest Vladimir Andrianov, who complained about the play called “Blizzar” (“Metel”). The Ministry said that the play, based on a story by Alexander Pushkin “in no way violates the right and freedom of conscience of believers” and “does not insult religious feelings”. The response also pointed out that “not everyone might like the play”, but modern culture is a mixture of different genres and types of art, and it cannot be standardised under a template. Minister of Culture and Tourism of Udmurtia, Vladimir Solovyev, said on March 5 that the play will continue in the theatre On April 14, Izhevsk and Udmurtia Archdiocese had apologised to the Ministry of Culture.

One can note the sympathetic attitude of the mayor of Moscow to S.Sobyanin, published on October 7, 2015 in the newspaper Argumenty i Fakty. He said that Moscow will always feel a lack of manpower and stressed that migrants in Moscow bring more income than problems.

On November 4, 2020 speaking on the occasion of National Unity Day President V. Putin noted: "Most complicated and extremely sensitive issues of interethnic and inter-religious relations unfortunately sometimes become a subject of speculations, dishonest geopolitical games, extremists and radicals try to parasitize on them inciting mutual hatred and hostility". The president noted that a special role in harmonization of interethnic and inter-religious relations, prevention of extremism and terrorism belongs to Russia's spiritual leaders, whose opinion and word people listen to. At the same time Putin paid attention to the fact that interethnic and inter-religious peace is "the basis of foundations" for Russia and "this sphere needs constant attention of all authorities, civil society and mass media.

The President noted that there is a reason why he has four holy texts on his desk: the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, and the Ganjur. As the head of state said, "in each of them there are immutable truths and the key determinant among them is love for man, for neighbor, regardless of race, nationality, or tradition." Putin stressed that when the scriptures talk about the neighbor, about a brother, it should be understood in such a way that we are talking not only about co-religionists, but about a person in general. "Because in all world religions all people are equal to the Almighty," he said, quoting several words from each scripture.

April 2, 2021 President Vladimir Putin called for the strengthening of a pan-Russian civic identity. He said this on March 30 during a meeting of the Council on interethnic relations. The head of state stressed that this is the most important task of modern Russia. "I consider such an approach, in our country anyway, to put it mildly, absolutely incorrect, and for our country, I want to emphasize that, absolutely unacceptable. A person may belong to one ethnic group or another, but we all have one country - big Russia," said the president.

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