Monday, December 22, 2008

Anti-Immigrant Sentiment in Russia

Islam has a longer unbroken history in Russia than anywhere in Europe. The various branches of the Tatars have been Muslims for centuries, many of them for more than a thousand years. Their customs were integrated into Russian culture, and persisted under the Tsars after the Mongol yoke was overthrown.

But the new radical form of Islam is a different matter entirely. The presence of various strains of fanaticism on the southern border has some Russians worried. Paul Goble, writing in Georgian Daily, reports on the growing opposition to Muslim immigration in Russia:

Russian Statements About Immigrants Likely to Spark More Violence

Vienna, December 20 — A call by a Duma member to restrict immigration in order to “fight radical Islam” and a suggestion by Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov that Russian citizens should get the jobs many guest workers now fill appear certain to spark a new wave of inter-ethnic violence in the Russian Federation.

Until recently anti-immigrant statements generally emanated from xenophobic groups like the Movement Against Illegal Immigration (DPNI) or famously outspoken politicians like Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, but in recent weeks, these statements have entered the mainstream as a result of worsening economic conditions.

Notice the loaded language used in this op-ed. To describe groups as “xenophobic” rather than “nationalistic” or “patriotic” reveals that the long arm of political correctness has reached all the way into the Caucasus. Mind you, the Georgians have their own reasons for fretting about militant Russian nationalism, but that’s a separate story.

The interesting thing about this is that Russia is alert to the danger of Islamic extremism, and — unlike the EU — is moving aggressively to restrict immigration:
- - - - - - - - -
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that he favored cutting immigration quotas in half in 2009, a statement that many in and around DPNI welcomed as a victory for their views and one that appears to have triggered new violence by Russian extremists against people from Central Asia and the Caucasus.

But on Wednesday, this already tense situation was exacerbated by an interview Semen Bagdasarov, a member of the Duma’s international relations committee, gave to “NG-Religii” about this issue, and even more so by a new statement from Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov.

In his interview, Bagdasarov said that Moscow must adopt new laws to limit the influx of radical Islamist terrorists from Central Asia and the Caucasus who threaten to bring “the global jihad” into the Russian Federation and result in terrorist acts against the Russian people and the Russian state.

Whatever else you may say about the Russians, they are not in thrall to political correctness:

Among the measures he suggested was the introduction of visa regimes with many of these states, the development of measures to monitor “suspicious elements” among immigrants, and the adoption a law that would impose criminal penalties on employers who did not ensure that workers they dismissed were sent back to their homelands.

But even that will not be enough to deal with the problem, Bagdasarov continued. Moscow must direct the Muslim clergy in Russia to conduct an ideological campaign against the supporters of “global jihad” and “field commanders” from the hotspots in the North Caucasus and Central Asia, something the Russian authorities have not yet done.

Can you imagine any country in the West — with the possible exception of France — establishing official control over what is preached in its mosques?

And this, of course, is seen as a danger, because it will encourage “extremists” to do their worst:

None of these measures on its face is necessarily a bad thing given the dangers that emanate from some Islamist groups, but — and this is what is critical — many Russian extremists will see this as a hunting license to attack immigrants, since this invocation of an Islamist threat will silence many in Moscow and the West who might otherwise criticize such attacks.

And also in evidence is the mirror-image PC concern that cracking down on the jihad will generate more extremism and terrorism among the Muslim population:

Druzhinniki, popular militias whose members sometimes carry arms and which have links to the Russian Orthodox Church’s nationalist wing, are already patrolling Russian cities seeking to keep immigrants from any actions that violate law and order, a development that has prompted some Muslim groups hitherto quiescence to become more active.

I recognize the possibility that such nationalist militias can be dangerous. But are they really worse than what they are designed to counteract?

What if the Lutheran Church in Sweden organized vigilante patrols of Malmö? Would Sweden be worse off? What about Slotervaart, or Nørrebro, or Luton, or Clichy-Sous-Bois? Would these places be less civilized or less livable if armed indigenous militias enforced law and order? Or should we continue to make ineffectual noises while immigrant violence escalates?

Which option would be worse?

And organizations like DPNI also appear to be becoming increasingly active despite attacks on their leaders and the recent conviction of several individuals linked to that group for xenophobic actions, all of which has alarmed human rights groups in Moscow and elsewhere.

But even worse situation may lie ahead, particularly given the populist statement this week of Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov who said that Russian should get the jobs migrants now hold, with quotas on the latter being established not only at the national level but in each individual plant and factory.

Speaking to a conference of law enforcement officials, Luzhkov said that it was imperative that quotas for immigrants be cut in Moscow and that the freed-up work places be given to natives of the Russian capital, a populist statement that will likely lead some Russian workers to demand that migrants be dismissed.

I hate to say it — no one wants a reputation as a Russophile these days — but some of these proposals are quite refreshing. I admit to a sneaking admiration for this display of Russian grit.

An uncomfortable aspect about all this is that Russia — without free elections, with press restrictions, with its culture of autocratic rule, intimidation, assassination, and organized crime — is more likely to survive as a nation than most nations in Western Europe.

Those countries which refuse to take strong action against immigrant criminality, ethnic violence, and jihad are not likely to persist beyond the 21st century.

Brutality is coming to Europe, whether anyone likes it or not. It’s not something I want to think about. None of us would willingly see it happen. But we will not be given a choice.

The only choice will be between submission and resistance.

Hat tip: Refugee Resettlement Watch.


joe six-pack said...

Islam cannot get along with ANYBODY. They are fighting everyone, everywhere.

I wonder why? (I am being sarcastic, sorry)

It may turn out that Russia ends up being a hudge ally, like they were in World War II. And it was not like we liked them all that much at the time.

Afonso Henriques said...

"But are they really worse than what they are designed to counteract?"

No. In Russia no because, I believe, in Russia such "militias" have popular support.
I remember in the late nineties that a small vilage on the interior (rural areas) picked in weapons and went to haunt some gypsies.
While people supported that action in the village, the Nation was apalled for such a barbaric behaviour.

In Western Europe this would make no sense because the people would never suport such a thing.
Go Russia, that's what one has to say about this.

However, I sometimes start to think that the E.U. is too powerfull to be fought and that the Nations of Europe will perish slowly and silently: There's no boom, just a final whisper. Your words Baron. I mean, if the Irish vote yes to the treaty, have you wonder about the consequences?
It seems there will only be Russia left.

Sagunto said...

Isn't there a fundamental difference between these two scenario's?

"..What if the Lutheran Church in Sweden organized vigilante patrols of Malmö? Would Sweden be worse off? What about Slotervaart, or Nørrebro, or Luton, or Clichy-Sous-Bois? Would these places be less civilized or less livable if armed indigenous militias enforced law and order? .."


"..Can you imagine any country in the West — with the possible exception of France — establishing official control over what is preached in its mosques? .."

I know @Baron, that your question wasn't about these two options but I want to bring it up nevertheless:

"Which option would be worse?.."

The troubling difference for me would be the centralist State, growing in power, even by adopting statist ideology to these testing times. The State will defend its populace againt Islam.. I think there are valid reasons for some skepticism here. Anyway, I'd choose option 1 any day over French-style socialist state dirigism. The power of the multicultist, liberal democratic State i.m.o. is immeasurably more dangerous than whatever militias the people could come up with. I'd love to see counter-jihad militias being formed all over Europe, by the people themselves, for the obvious reason in the first place and secondly because that would take power away from the multiculturalist state apparatus.
France bureaucrats are regularly evicting radical imams, to little or no avail when the stealthy Islamization of France is concerned. The policor, centralist State creates the problems, sponsoring mass immigration and bowing down to Arab pressure, and what's the medicine? Yet more multiculturalist State dirigism along socialist lines. That's the multiculturalist bailout, I suppose?

Kind regs from Amsterdam,

Baron Bodissey said...

Sagunto --

If only the choice were between the jihad on the one hand, and locally-organized indigenous militias on the other!

But in Western Europe this will not be the choice. If we are lucky, there will be a choice between a strong centralized State along the venerable nationalist-authoritarian lines so well-known in Europe, and the centralized Multicultural totalitarianism of the EU. Which would you choose?

As the lesser of two evils, I’d go for the nationalist strongman any day.

If we are not lucky, there will be chaos, anarchy, degradation, and various sorts of civil war.

Afonso Henriques said...

Baron, I don't know why but I am not in the mood of writing long comments any more, I start to write and at the third hesitation I erase all and stay quiet but now I can come with a small comment (and no hesitations):

See, you say that you will opt for the Nationalist strong man in Europe. Fine, I'd also. But, I don't see nothing of the like happening. There are only four important States in Europe: France, Germany, the U.K. and Italy, Spain being the fifth but powerless.

So, such a "regime" has to develop in one of the four big ones, otherwise it will be easily crushed and it will not propagate to other Nations as a model - good or bad. I think it will not happen in Germany we all know why. France is just too French and too little French at the same time, so that I doubt.
Italy has a chance, but I doubt it. What do you think? Do you think there is a tiny, tiny possibility that the BNP will open a new era in Brittain in twenty years time?

Because I cannot see that centralist Nationalist regime comming. At least, not in Western Europe and not before a massive Civil War, Yugoslavian style. So, in a way, those militias do mean Civil War, does it not? If I had the minimum power, I'd never tolerate the Greek riots or the French youth rebellions in Lisbon, is it not a small scale civil war as well?

Profitsbeard said...

Any conscious resistance to Islamic tyranny is welcome and encouraging.


Sagunto said...

I see your point Baron, yet I must ask pardon perhaps once again on behalf of the Dutchies:

"..along the venerable nationalist-authoritarian lines so well-known in Europe.."

Not in Holland and certainly not venerable nor venerated, well, at least not inherent in our own traditions. But yes, we've known these traditons from abroad and have been visited by quite a number of strong centralized States throughout our long history, sometimes even by three of those in one go. We're still here.
So yes, Holland is part of old Europe, but one must forgive any Dutchman with some sense of (very local, I know) history, when the idea of a centralized State doesn't appeal to his sense of national tradition ;-)


Centralized EU (sorry for the pleonasm) is similar to a markedly scaled-up version of centralized France. I'd choose neither. Again, the "modern" centralized State has caused the trouble we're in these days, be it monetary inflation and financial crisis or mass immigration and Islamization. Experience shows that whatever task the State takes upon itself, the result will be the erosion of initiative from the people themselves. So inclusiveness under Islamic pressure would probably result in expanding State power and even more centralization. Perhaps that would be a medicine for the French people, I'm not sure (they don't look healthy to me at the moment), but for Holland the same recipe would be like poison.

Conservative Swede said...


I agree with your analysis here, about the importance of the bigger states.

However, there is another possibility. Since everything is "globalized" and travels fast nowadays, also he coming civil war will travel fast and happen more or less simultaneously across Europe. Which means that the need for Nationalist strongmen would emerge more or less simultaneously across Europe. So then it could happen in many (smaller) countries virtually simultaneously, which is a very different situation from a single smaller country doing it, which you are quite right in that it would be easily crushed. (Germany would be easily crushed too btw, since every single country on the planet would attack them at the same time.)

Of the bigger countries, the UK or Italy are the best bets.

Conservative Swede said...


Well in Sweden we have many strongmen kings in our history to look back to. The main one is Gustav Vasa. But also Karl X Gustav, Karl XI and Karl XII. Since the 18th century though our monarchs have been substantially weaker.

But the fellows I mentioned are still very present in our memory (and all of them a good reason why Swedes and Danes will never get along perfectly well even in the most perfect of worlds).

The 17th century was our superpower time, quite as for you. But we had kings (the Karls mentioned above) while you had stateholders (Willem III was a king though but only in Scotland, how ironic).

Baron Bodissey said...

Afonso --

Yes, I agree — a nationalist strongman is not a likely possibility. We are more likely to be unlucky, and are headed for some kind of unpredictable, chaotic, and violent situation, on both sides of the Atlantic.

Baron Bodissey said...

Sagunto --

If I had a choice, I would not choose a strong centralized state. I’m an American of libertarian tendencies, and am allergic to the State in all its manifestations.

I just don’t think we’ll have that choice. If Chaos doesn’t choose us, then we will either have Multicultural Totalitarianism of the EU/UN type, or some kind of reborn nationalism. And yes, under the latter, the smaller states will suffer, just as they always have.

But under the former, all states will suffer. If the EU and the UN have their way, national sovereignty will disappear, and we will all be merged into a sort of governmental-NGO world-Ummah. God help us.

Sagunto said...


Well it was certainly wartime, trade time, rule the 7 seas time, for the Lowlands in the 17th., and though there always has been some sort of "royalty" involved, it is often hard to explain to foreigners that Dutch republican "monarchy" is not exactly eh.. monarchial, though Stadtholder (not state-holder) a.k.a. "lord lieutenant" Willem I is somewhat of a national hero (not to all). He was a French speaking German, protestant by birth, Roman Catholic raised, favored by Charles V, remembered in our national anthem "I've always honoured the King of Spain" [says Willem].

Holland is a patchwork shop. Actually we've always remained shire-folk, while not exactly tiny Hobbits (and we kicked out a world empire).


You're right in general and I share your views, apart from Holland. I cannot speak for France or even Belgium (who can, I wonder).
The point I was trying to make was that those nasty little Dutchies didn't suffer, we flourished like never before while under attack by the mightiest Big Empires of the day (attacked by Spain, while trading with them at the same time, how d'ya like that?). So even geopolitically it's not always size that matters.

Kind regs from Amsterdam,

Conservative Swede said...


And yes, under [reborn nationalism], the smaller states will suffer, just as they always have.

Under nationalist strongmen smaller countries have not had as prominent position on world maps as under Wilsonian world order. But this didn't mean that they suffered. They might have been swallowed by Roman empire or the Austrian empire, but it didn't mean that hey suffered. You will also find many states having been part of the Russian empire for long, such as Armenia, Kazakhstan, Moldavia, etc., who appreciate their strongman (quite as others turn to the US. It's different with Finns and Czechs who only experienced Russia during it Enlightenment style tyranny.

Conservative Swede said...


Well it was certainly wartime, trade time, rule the 7 seas time, for the Lowlands in the 17th

And you even had the prelude of our current financial crisis with your tulip bulb speculation bubble. To many subprime tulips I suppose...

Stadtholder (not state-holder)

I stand corrected, but it's really "place-holder" (old Roman title). In Swedish it's called ståthållare (blurring the stadt/state). In Norwegian they have Riksstattholder, and that one is surely a state-holder anyway :-)

Sagunto said...

:) CS,

"..the prelude of our current financial crisis with your tulip bulb speculation bubble. To many subprime tulips I suppose..."

Yes! But no bailout for our greedy horticulturalists and the origin surely wasn't a Fed system that created monetary inflation. It was a simple and fair lesson in market economy, we could have learned from Italian and Spanish Catholic capitalist economists of the day (before things somewhat regressed with so-called "free market" Adam Smith), but nooo-no we just had to find out for ourselves. Luckily the market still had a chance to even things out, unlike today.

tulpen uit Amsterdam,

I know the old Roman title, but those guys only ever had half a hold on our place, so..
They either were kicked out (Tacitus, Batavi rebellion, part of the evidence missing) or they sank into the swamp.

Conservative Swede said...

or they sank into the swamp.

Yeah, you made sure never to clean it too well, didn't you.

Tuan Jim said...


I hate to say it, but I think you're engaging in some very selective article posting and commentary here.

There is a distinct difference between calling for a restriction on immigration from certain countries to counter radical islam or even cutting back on allowing economic immigration for the purpose of protecting domestic jobs and the blantant xenophobic violence that has resulted in over 100 foreigners deaths just this year, not to mention an black US college student getting stabbed in the last month.

I sent you the article (and you included it in a recent news roundup) of the outcome of the trial of a gang of teenage thugs who had admitted to killing over *20* people in a period of less than a year. 20 people! That's mass murder right there - and it's not like they shot them - they beat and stabbed them all to death in the streets. And the average conviction for 20+ murders was 6 years (even less for the minors).

That is not a good trend. Nationalism and Patriotism backed by appropriate rule of law is one thing - attacking and killing random people because you don't like the way they look (ie. "not slavic" to quote another article) is a completely different kettle of fish. And the failure of the government to prosecute these crimes appropriately is very disconcerting.

Baron Bodissey said...

Tuan Jim --

Point taken. I agree.

My gut reaction comes from watching the growing brutality and lawlessness of immigrant areas in various parts of Europe, about which the civil authorities do virtually nothing.

Every day I sift through the news stories with their mind-numbing litany of assault, murder, rapes, vandalism, looting, and arson committed by “youths” in the banlieues of Western Europe. The reaction of the lawfully-constituted governments is to ignore or play down the problem, to pretend it doesn’t really exist, and to give the young thugs at most a slap on the wrist. In Britain, anyone who dares to point out the extent of the crisis and criticize it may be charged with the crime of “racism”.

My gut reaction is also informed by the experience of a female member of our family, who was assaulted by an immigrant tough on the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia. No one was ever arrested for the crime. It’s well-known in Charlottesville that some of the worst Mexican gangs have infested the schools and housing projects of the city.

So I have to admit to a guilty and illicit thrill at the thought of vigilantes of my own ethnic persusasion taking back the mean streets from the invaders. But you’re right — this kind of lawlessness is not a solution to be desired.

On the other hand, what will be the alternative? This is the awful dilemma which is gradually confronting us. Our political leaders, to whom we have delegated our governance via our electoral consent, are failing in their most fundamental duty: the protection of their citizens.

In a free society, people voluntarily give up a portion of their liberty in exchange for the protection of the State. This is the basic social contract. We grant the State a monopoly on violence, and in return we are protected. But the State has failed to keep its half of the bargain, and no longer maintains a monopoly on violence.

So lawlessness already exists. The abdication by the civil authorities of their responsibilities is a breach of the common law. Unless this slide into anarchy is reversed, further lawlessness on the part of the erstwhile victims will inevitably result.

The system which should replace our failed leaders is broken. At present there is no way in the United States or most other Western nations to throw out the negligent rascals and replace them with responsible leaders. The electoral system is rigged so that we are only allowed to vote for several different flavors of “more of the same”.

There is no choice that would allow a return to the kind of muscular law-enforcement that used to be the norm. And maybe that’s the way most people prefer it. Maybe we as a society would rather be “nice” than be protected from violent thugs. Maybe we no longer have the stomach to do what is required to re-establish civil society in our inner cities and immigrant suburbs. Maybe we are too morally sophisticated to protect ourselves.

But not everyone feels that way, and eventually some people are bound to respond in the same way that the Russian vigilante groups are responding, by adding their own murder and mayhem to the mix.

A politically feasible way of avoiding this outcome, if it can possibly be found, is much to be preferred.

Anonymous said...

An uncomfortable aspect about all this is that Russia — without free elections, with press restrictions, with its culture of autocratic rule, intimidation, assassination, and organized crime — is more likely to survive as a nation than most nations in Western Europe.

It's interesting that you point this out. Russia is not as free as I'd like to see it, but I'd rather live there than in any Islamic country. And this is one of the reasons why Russian is a useful language to know. I don't plan to live there, but if Europe continues in its Islamic direction and America follows (which would be horrible but is entirely feasible, especially in light of our recent election), Russia may be all that's left.

Afonso Henriques said...

Tuan Jim, you are absolutely right.

However, I think that the concept of "hate crimes" that exist in the West is even worse. Those people are criminals, that is the truth, it does not matter their excuses to kill, what matters is that they do and they should be putted in jail.
You speak of an American black to make our hearts bleed but I am telling you this knowing the picture and being rational. For instance, have you seen the case - some months ago - of a nine years old Tajik girl stabbed to death by that Russian scum? What danger could she represent?

These people are criminals. They are not "Nationalists". Nor do they represent the Russian people. They are murderers with Nationalist tendencies or just murderers with plain oportunistic instincts, going after the weaker link in a given society.

Yes, it is true these criminals are part of the "anti-immigrant" feeling and that they have a significant issue on all this - remember seing a documentary about criminal gangs that focused on Russian Neo-Nazis: "We do not attack these people to scare them, we attack them to kill them because for every one that we kill, it is one thousand that will not come". Pretty disturbing also was to see that young (naive) sixteen years old Russian girl saying she had killed lots of "blacks", meaning, I believe, Central Asian Turks.

And more, you shall see how Azeris authorities, for instance, are advising their people not to immigrate to Russia.
But the truth is that this is paralel to "Nationalism" and what here is thought as "good Russian behaviour" in this blog (sorry for the lack of better words) and has nothing to due with it.

In fact, it is not normal for a society to start killing its ethnic minorities as those people in Russia do, just because. It is not normal for a society to aloud this to happen, as you so correctly object. But it is horrifically anti-natural the way Western Europe and to a lesser degree America treats its minority groups.

A normal society would only attack minorities if they seem to disrespect the majority. And this is very touchy. Like, give me an excuse, any excuse. Those people attacked a nine years old Tajik girl, what was the excuse then?

It has nothing to due with Nationalism or the way Russia is going.


"And yes, under the latter, the smaller states will suffer, just as they always have."

I am with Conservative Swede in this. This would only be a problem for... the Netherlands? And even the Netherlands would be forced to deal with France and Germany, and why not the U.K. to assure its independence and prosperity.
And Switzerland went pretty well during World War II, right?

Do you know why Portugal is not part of Spain and Catalonia is?

It is simple, Portugal went on to predate over the Americas, Africa and Asia while the Catalans went down to the Mediterranean, mainly Southern Italy, and the Mediterranean islands between Spain and Italy. In that way, they clashed with French interests in the Mediterranean. That is like showing the middle finger to your natural ally.
Of course, Portugal would be Spain if we had done the same to England. Which we were very close to many times.

Acne warrior said...

The West seems to be bending over backwards in pleasing Muslims. Here is an article where polygamy is allowed because Islam says so:

West warms up to polygamy