Sochi Olympics 2014 and Radical Nationalism in Russia

Radical nationalists have long been part of Russian politics but none of the many groups and parties that keep splitting and merging has developed into a major force. Recent anti-immigrant riots have shown that nationalism and xenophobia are not the preserve of a few extremists but are turning rapidly into a leading mainstream concern.

Russian nationalists are targeting immigrants, foreigners, non whites, Gay’s, US citizens, Western Europeans . In October 2013 a senior diplomat at the Dutch embassy in Moscow has been beaten up in his flat.

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell is organising a public demonstration to be held this Thursday outside the Barbican against conductor Valery Gergiev, a friend of Vladimir Putin who supports the country’s anti-gay laws.

According to the classical music blog Orpheus Complex, in September, Gergiev spoke to the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant and gave a robust defence of Russia’s anti-gay laws. He said: “In Russia we do everything we can to protect children from paedophiles. This law is not about homosexuality, it targets paedophilia. But I have too busy a schedule to explore this matter in detail.”

Russia’s leading demographers and economists argue that the country needs more immigrants. “Over the next 10 to 15 years, the Russian economy will be unable to do without immigrants, and at even greater levels,” says Yulia Florinskaya, an immigration expert at the Higher School of Economics at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

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