Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Prosecutors in Krasnoyarsk Say Calling for a Russian Nation State Extremist

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 26 – Prosecutors in Krasnoyarsk Kray, at the direction of officials in Moscow, are seeking to ban the Nation and Freedom Committee, even though it has no representatives there, because its members have called for the creation of a Russian nation state, appeals the indictment says are by their very nature extremist.

            At the request of prosecutors, a group of linguistic experts have concluded that calls for such a state denigrate other national groups and thus trigger conflicts and say that the group’s use of the adjective “Putinist” has a negative connotation semantically (mbk-news.appspot.com/suzhet/za-chto-xotyat-zapretit/).

            The Nation and Freedom Committee arose in 2014 among those Russian nationalists who backed Ukraine against the Russian invasion and Anschluss of Crimea out of the conviction that Ukrainians have a right to a nation state and that Russians must have one too rather than remain an empire.

            The group is small and while it had some members in Krasnoyarsk in the past, it does not have any there at the present time. The committee’s leaders say that they will seek to have the court session about them moved to Moscow where there are more of them and where they can reach out for support from parties on the right in the European Union. 

            Fighting the government in court, the committee says, will take some time. Until they have exhausted all appeals, they will continue to promote the ideas on which that organization was founded out of the conviction that ethnic Russians should have the right to a state of their own and should not seek to rule others.

            Over the last several years, the Putin regime has sought to close down all such Russian nationalist groups, perhaps fearful that in responses to its own imperial approach and the rise of nationalism among non-Russians will trigger a Russian nationalism that could, as I.A. Kurganov warned in his 1961 book, Nations of the USSR and the Russian Question, overwhelm the state.

            Prosecutors have succeeded in closing down most of the groups associated with this kind of Russian nationalism; and they are likely to succeed in banning the Nation and Freedom Committee. But even if they do, the ideas behind that committee are likely to continue to circulate and even spread, a growing threat to the last surviving empire. 

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