Monday, November 30, 2020

Feeling like Second Class Citizens, Many Russians Outside of Moscow Back White Americans who Feel the Same Way, Shulgin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 27 – One can come to feel oneself a second-class citizen for many reasons: having the “wrong” skin color, having been born at the “wrong” time, believing in the “wrong” religion, or even coming from the “wrong” part of the country, Russian commentator Dmitry Shulgin says.

            The most notorious cases typically involve race or religion, but people can conclude they are second class citizens because they are viewed with disdain by elites and are thus humiliated, whether that be the coastal elites in the United States or Muscovites in Russia who view themselves in many ways as peoples apart.

            When that happens, Shulgin says, hurt and anger eventually grows into a political movement. In the United States, this explains why so many white Americans in the central part of the country supported Donald Trump and his campaign against what he said were their oppressors. In Russia, it explains the anti-Muscovite attitudes of many in the regions.

            What is interesting, Shulgin says, is that this common sense of humiliation explains why so many Russians especially beyond the ring road backed those white Americans who felt that they have been reduced to second class status in their own country precisely because Russians who aren’t Muscovites feel the same way (

            Shulgin’s observation is intriguing because many Moscow analysts have suggested that Russians as a whole should be supporting the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States because people in Russian have had so many rights taken away from them or never had them at all (

            These analysts make a compelling point, but it is a point that gains wide acceptance only among those Russians in the capital or its privileged outposts. Elsewhere, Russians see themselves as victims not of others as the BLM movement suggests but as victims of members of their own nation who have turned on them.

            As events in the US over the last several years have shown, that sense of betrayal may serve as an even more powerful mobilizing tool than the sense of never having had those rights to begin with because another group has denied them to the members of the group discriminated against.


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