Sunday, August 26, 2018

For Russians to Have Their Own State, Right to Bear Arms Even More Important than Right to Protest, Nationalist Group Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 25 – In recent weeks, there has been a great deal of attention in the American media to Moscow’s attempts to link up with the National Rifle Association as part of the Kremlin effort to influence the internal political life of the United States; but there has been less attention to the rise of the right-to-bear-arms movement in the Russian Federation.

            What is interesting and from the point of view of the Kremlin perhaps extremely disturbing is that pro-gun ownership groups in the Russian Federation have picked up and are promoting many of the very same ideas as their Western counterparts, a kind of unexpected blowback.

            One of these groups, Sputnik i Pogrom argues that universal gun ownership by ethnic Russians is an essential precondition for the recreation of an ethnic Russian nation state, a step required for the complete break with the Soviet past and for ensuring that the population has as much power as the state (

            According to the group, the Soviets always viewed the ethnic Russians as “a suspicious element” that the state had to serve as “the mechanism for minimizing the harm” their existence posed to the task of building communism. Consequently, “the universal arming of citizens is a specific and visible transfer of power” which would show “radical trust to the Russian people.”

            In arming the ethnic Russians, the group says, the Russian state would show that it has real faith in the Russians to move beyond Sovietism because “the right to bear arms is genuine and not simply declarative anti-Sovietism.” Indeed, it adds, “it is a test of the real attitude [of the state] to the Russian nation.”

            And for that reason, Sputnik i Pogrom continues, “the right to bear arms is an even more important right than free and honest elections because a 100,000-strong meeting of angry citizens with Beretts and Glocks is something entirely different than a 100,000-strong meeting of angry citizens with ironic posters.”

            “Such a right to bear arms gives an entirely different style of communications and ways of resolving conflicts within society,” it continues. The balance of power shifts away from the state to the population, and ordinary Russians gain a sense of their own power not only against officials but against minorities.

            The Soviet state began to taking guns away from the people. A genuine Russian national state, the group insists, must begin by giving the members of the Russian nation the right to arm themselves and thus be in a position to oppose the state and to oppose minorities like the Chechens who get in the way of Russian rights.

            In another post, Sputnik i pogrom says that Soviet poster art unintentionally showed the way forward. By portraying a peasant with a gun as the opponent of “Chekists and National Minorities,” that art highlighted the power of the gun and showed the way to “the final solution of the Russian question” (

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