Friday, November 24, 2017

Moscow Seeks to Promote Friendship of the Peoples by Encouraging Pupils to Search for Extremists

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 23 – It is bad enough when the current Russian government restores some of the features of the Soviet regime, but it may be even worse when it revives something that was not part of the CPSU program but rather the subject of anecdotes that simultaneously made fun of that system and called it into question.

            In Soviet times, it was sometimes said that “friendship of the peoples,” a highly valued Moscow notion, existed when a Russian, a Ukrainian and an Uzbek got together and beat up a Jew, hardly the message that the communist regime actually wanted to promote at least most of the time.

            But now, the Yekaterinburg portal, Politsovet, reports the Federal Agency for Nationality Affairs is calling on schools to help form “positive inter-ethnic relations” by organizing among pupils “hunts for extremists,” an idea that would seem internally inconsistent on its face (

                The Yekaterinburg site is not making this up, as one might be tempted to conclude, but rather quoting directly from an FADN document with the truly Soviet title, “Methodological Recommendations for Organs of State Power of the Subjects of the Russian Federation and organs of local self-administration for important questions of the realization of the government’s nationality policy, the formation in local communities of positive inter-ethnic and inter-confessional relations and also the identification and prevention of inter-ethnic conflicts.”

            The portal doesn’t specify how extremists are going to be found in schools and camps or what will happen if members of one nationality or religious group decide that the only extremists about are those in another ethnic or religious community.

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