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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russia Update: April 22, 2015

Publication: Russia Update
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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
'As a Professor, This is What I Believe': Aleksandr Dugin's Call for Armed Insurrection and Killing Ukrainians

As we reported earlier, neo-Nazi Preston Wiggington is organizing the lecture of Russian ultranationalist Aleksandr Dugin at a meeting on the campus of Texas A&M University.  Some Ukrainian activists are already protesting to university authorities. There has been increased scrutiny on the speeches Dugan has made on social media (on VKontakte, the Russian social media network, on Facebook, and in videos uploaded to YouTube), although digging through the voluminous amounts of speeches and comments he has posted is daunting.

Last year, as we reported, Dugin was fired from Moscow State University after massive petitions due to his violent calls for Russians and Russian-speakers in Ukraine to take up arms against the government in Kiev, and for his open recruitment of Russian volunteers for the Moscow-backed armed movement. He has also infamously called to kill Ukrainians.

A videotaped talk show on May 6, 2014 with the pro-Moscow ANNA News was widely distributed at the time. We reviewed and reported the video at the time and uploaded a copy of the video.

Later, the video was removed from YouTube and other social media sites including VKontakte.

But the video can still be viewed here on Tomsk.FM. Throughout the 23:49 minute video, Dugin calls on Russians and others in the southeast of Ukraine to take up arms and fight the Kiev government to survive; he says that Ukraine has been taken over by bad people.

At 17:59, he says "Such people must be killed, killed, killed."

Anna-Dugin.jpg

In the interview -- which is really more like a monologue -- Dugin is responding to the tragic deaths of 48 people on May 2 in the Ukrainian city of Odessa. He gives a tendentious version of these events to imply that Ukrainian activists deliberately burned Russians alive in an act of "genocide." Wikipedia's essay gives a more credible and even-handed account, explaining that both pro-Russian activists and Ukrainian nationalists were to blame for violence during and following a soccer fans' parade.

Pro-Russians shot dead six Ukrainian nationalists, some during the parade and some from atop the Trade Union Building; police did not control the crowd.

Then Ukrainian nationalists stormed an impromptu tent display in front of the Trade Unions Building made by the Russian "Anti-Maidan" activists. The pro-Russian activists retreated into the Trade Union Building, a move they had planned days before the soccer clashes.


Both sides threw Molotov cocktails, and the pro-Russians fired on the crowd from atop the building. With the doors barricaded on the ground floor, the pro-Russian activists climbed to higher floors and ultimately 42 died, many of carbon dioxide poisoning from the fire, while hundreds escaped. Some Ukrainian nationalists beat Russians escaping; some Ukrainian nationalists helped their enemies to escape using makeshift ladders fashioned from the toppled Anti-Maidan poster scaffolding. Fireman took an hour to come, and police arrested some perpetrators but let others go. To this day, local and national authorities in Ukraine have not completed investigations into  the deaths.

The response of Russian state media was to characterize the clashes as a "mass crime against humanity" on the part of Ukrainians and to open up a criminal case. Ukrainian leaders in Kiev blamed local police and politicians for not controlling the crowds, but many also sanctioned the fighting with the argument that they had to prevent Odessa from being taken over by the Russian-backed separatists as Donetsk and many other towns had been in April.

Dugin said that while he ostensibly did not want to escalate the war, he believed he had to call for an uprising after Odessa.

The Interpreter has translated the relevant excerpt:

Yes, now in Odessa, Kherson, Nikolayev, Zaporozhe, Dnepropetrovsk we are retreating. We are retreated from Kharkiv, we are retreating. But May 2, that was Moscow. That was our Moscow. That's it. Behind our back is Moscow. We can't retreat further. If we retreat, they will just go on killing, they will kill everyone.

Thus life in the southeast of Ukraine today depends on the amount of combat weapons, the units of arms in the hands of decent people. Ukrainians, Russians, Jews, it's not important people of any ethnicity, it doesn't matter, people of any political views, communists, nationalists, patriots, advocates of federalization with Ukraine, advocates of federalization with Moscow, advocates of independence, this can only be decided if there will be people.

Those perished heroes in the Trade Union building made their decision. Those fallen heroes in the Trade Unions Building, they made their choice. They died for the sake of the freedom of the southeast of Ukraine from the neo-Nazi Kiev scum. I think to be a Ukrainian after this  -- you know, I myself am Ukrainian, I have Ukrainian blood, my ancestors are from Poltava. I am ashamed I am simply ashamed of that small but still significant part of my blood. And I want that blood to be cleansed by the blood of the scum of the Kiev Junta. In fact I can't bear within myself that Ukrainian blood until I see punished the mongrels who perpetrated the lawlessness of May 2nd. This is serious. This is the voice of blood. I am forced to take these things into account. I believe that those vermin do not have any right in some western Ukraine, in the government in Kiev -- I understand that that the southeast will never be in that mongrel state. These people have no right to control even western Ukraine.

And if on the earth, everything we see still carries on, no one can sleep easily. Therefore only normal people should govern this wonderful -- this one-time wonderful -- Ukraininan people, that wonderful, amazing country to which everything connects us. As long as there are vermin in Kiev, a Russian person, a person born in Kievan Rus' -- those are our roots -- cannot live in peace. Either it has to be wiped from the face of the earth and built anew or people must come to their senses.

I think in Ukraine a total uprising is needed, throughout all its territory, in all its regions, a popular uprising, an armed uprising against the junta, and not only in the southeast. Or otherwise the same thing could happen in Uzhgorod, and the Ruthenians have already occupied the first Ruthenian building where they have gathered to resolve their problems entirely in peace. The same hangs over the Hungarians who are in Trans-Carpathian Rus. Over Russians -- everyone, over Ukrainians -- even Ukrainians. Who did he attack? Who did Sanya Bilyi mock? The very same Ukrainians as he himself was, they were not foreigners. And what did he start  to wreck? They stopped him. But now mnore terrible people have come. We didn't see the sabotage of Sanya Biliy. He just grabbed some people by the tie and dragged them, it a horrible scene.

But what happened May 2nd went beyond all bounds. I think such people have to be killed, killed, killed. There can be no other discussion about it. As a professor, this is what I believe.

Oleksandr Muzychko, nicknamed "Sashko Bilyi" (called a more Russified "Sanya Bilyi" here by Dugin) was an ultranationalist actvist in Right Sector and UNA-UNSO who was alleged to kill 20 Russians during the First Chechen War, who vowed to kill "communists, Jews and Russians for as long as blood flows in my veins." In February 2014, he attacked a prosecutor in Rovno and threatened to "kill like a dog" Interior Minister Aven Avakov. On March 14, 2014, Russia issued a warrant against Bilyi for war atrocities. On March 24, he died in a gun battle with Ukrainian police who had attempted to detain him.

Dugin's implication that it was only the May 2 Odessa fire that drove him to call for an uprising rings hollow when we review his earlier speeches.

As Paul Goble reported, in April 2014, in a Skype conversation Dugan had with Yekaterina Gubareva, the wife of Russian-backed separatist Pavel Gubarev, the "people's governor of Donetsk" (who at that time was in Kiev's custody for violent uprising in the city), we can see that he was calling for armed insurrection even then.

As Goble wrote then:

Aleksandr Dugin, a Eurasianist who is close to the Kremlin, has told ethnic Russians in Ukraine that they must not cooperate with Kyiv in any way, that they must be ready to “act radically,” even to the point of sparking a civil war in that country, and that Moscow will support them because it supports “the independence of South-East Ukraine.”

The video published by By24 can still be viewed:

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
American Neo-Nazi Organizes Online Lecture for Russian Ultrarightist Aleksandr Dugin at Texas A&M

Aleksandr Dugin, the ultranationalist Russian idealogue and advocate of Eurasianism will be taking part in a seminar at Texas A&M University via remote, an organizer said on his Facebook events page.

Dugin-AM.jpg

The title of his lecture is "American Liberalism Must Be Destroyed: Insights from Professor Alexander Dugin, Kremlin Insider and Informal Adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin," -- although so far, only 39 have said they were going.

The organizer is Preston Wigginton who describes himself on Facebook as a business owner who studied at Texas A&M.

When the notice was first posted on Facebook, it seemed to attract mainly critics of liberals in the US and supporters of President Vladimir Putin, but as news got out about the event, activists have showed up to the thread to complain about the sponsorship of Dugin, notorious for calling for the killing of Ukrainians..

As a number of commenters expressed concern that Texas A&M was sponsoring Dugin, Wigginton noted that it wasn't necessarily the college but just the use of public space available at the college.

We note that Dugin is on the US sanctions list for his role in  recruiting fighters for the war in the Donbass. Dugin as actively promoted the ideology of "Novorossiya," the aspirational realm of Russians and Russian-speakers outside of Russia and occupation of Crimea, as well as the separation of the self-proclaimed "Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics" from Ukrainian territory in some form.

It's not likely that Dugin is serving as an adivsor to Putin nowadays, however, since last year, through his role as chair of the board of Moscow State University, where Dugin taught in the philosophy department, Putin had him dismissed -- possibly he had "gone too far." His contract was not renewed. But Dugin continues to appear at events sponsored by the Russian Orthodox Church and various other pro-government institutions.

On his Facebook page, Wigginton expresses views many would find racist against blacks and others, claims that "Sharia law is coming to Texas," a conservative conspiracy theory debunked by Snopes. Wigginton also advocates corporal punishment for children. A selfie of Wigginton flexing his muscles in front of the men's urinals, like 'Popeye the Sailor Man,' perhaps sums up the scene best.

Preston-Wiggington.jpg

As it happens, Wigginton is something of a far-right conference entrepreneur. The Anti-Defamation League reports that he has sponsored Jared Taylor, the white supremacist who recently took part in the gathering of European and Russian conservatives in St. Petersburg, about which our syndicated columnists Paul Goble and Anton Shekhovtsov have written. Wigginton has sponsored Nick Grif­fin, who was then the head of the ultra-right British National Party (BNP). ADL writes:

In addi­tion to liv­ing in Texas, Wig­gin­ton has spent a lot of time in Rus­sia. In 2007, he addressed thou­sands of Russ­ian nation­al­ists at the Russ­ian March, which pro­moted Russ­ian nation­al­ism and attacked non-white immi­gra­tion. The par­tic­i­pants gave Nazi salutes at the march and shouted, “White power.”  Shortly after this event Wig­gin­ton forged ties with Alexan­der Belov, an anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant nation­al­ist in Rus­sia.  In addi­tion, that year Wig­gin­ton spoke at an annual memo­r­ial rally in Swe­den in honor of a 17-year-old neo-Nazi who was killed by non-Swedes in 2000.

As we reported last week, Belov (whose real last name is Potkin) was recently arrested on money-laundering charges and has claimed that Russian secret police wanted him to commit terrorist acts in Ukraine, and when he refused, they arrested him.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick



The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Opposition Leader in Novosibirsk Reports Threats to His Wife
An opposition member in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk reports reprisals for his activity, a fellow opposition member said on his Twitter feed.

Translation: The leader of the RPR-PARNAS party in Novosibirsk reported that his wife had received death threats.

According to news.ru,  Yegor Savin said unknown persons threatened reprisals against his wife, and later tried to burn his car.

While he was out of town, his wife receive a number of threatening phone calls from anonymous individuals who warned her that if her husband didn't stop his political activity, she would be murdered, Taiga.info reported.

His wife was able to tape the calls and he is making an appeal to the Investigative Committee to examine the case.

When Savin returned home on April 22, he discovered that someone had tried to torch his car, he told Sibinfo.

He connects these threats with his involvement in opposition activity. As News.ru reports (translation by The Interpreter):

"After the murder of Boris Nemtsov, all these phone calls are perceived as a threat to me and my family," said Savin. He added that he intends to demand law-enforcers to guarantee the security of his family until the elections to representative bodies in Novosibirsk Region this coming fall.

Furthermore, Savin published his statement on social media. "If anything happens to my family ,me, or my property, the responsibility will lie on the law-enforcement bodies of the Nosibirsk Region and the governor personally."

On April 16, two other party members, Aleksei Tabalov, head of the Chelyabinsk branch of the party, and Sergei Mikhailov, head of the Altai branch, were detained and questioned at Domodedovo Airport by officers of the Anti-Extremism Center.

The next day opposition leader Alexey Navalny announced an election coalition formed by RPR-PARNAS and the Party of Progress, which the Civic Initiative and Democratic Party joined. The groups hope to field liberal candidates in the 2015 regional elections and the 2016 State Duma elections in 2016.

Businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former head of YUKOS and founder of the civic movement Open Movement, said his organization supported the coalition, but as a civic organization as distinct from a party, they would not nominate candidates.

As the parties announced the new coalition, another RPR-PARNAS activist, Natalya Peleina, was searched and interrogated on charges of "organizing and financing mass disorders" at the May 6, 2012 anti-Putin demonstrations, although she did not participate in them. She was forced to sign a pledge not to leave town pending investigation.

(Note: The Interpreter is a project of the Institute for Modern Russia, funded by Pavel Khodorkovsky, the son of Mikhail Khodorkovsky.)

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
European Union Reaches Decision to Charge Gazprom with Abusing Its Position as Monopolist in Eastern Europe
The European Union (EU) has finally reached a conclusion to charge Gazprom with monopolizing the gas market in Europe, contrary to EU regulations.

This decision was long in the coming and needed the current political climate, where Europeans have grown increasingly alarmed at Russia's aggression against Ukraine as well as its encroachments on their own territories, to be realized.

While designed to deter Russia's bad behavior, there are concerns from some it will worsen relations and create more reciprocal actions by Moscow.
Yet as this humorous tweet indicates, there's a limit to how much Russia can use gas blackmailing of Europe -- which has relied on Russia for 25% of its gas -- without then depriving itself of its main foreign-currency customer willing to pay higher market prices than its allies and China, it's new partner.
But the EU's decision is certainly a landmark in relations with Russia and they will not return to the status quo ante.

Even if there were no war in Ukraine, the EU would have good reason to challenge Gazprom's monopoly and continue to figure out ways to reduce its dependency on Russia. This it has been doing through ending the South Stream project and backing the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) to obtain gas from Azerbaijan and route it to Greece via Albania and the Adriatic Sea then to Italy and further to Western Europe. To be sure, Russia has countered with Turkish Stream once again changing the calculus for prospects of independence from Russia in the Southern Corridor.

Russia will likely challenge the ruling nonetheless with every argument it can muster.

Russia has three months to respond to the charges, and a lot could happen then, including a split in the EU regarding the removal of sanctions against Russia over its aggression against Ukraine.

The question is whether Europe has the stamina to keep both the sanctions and what the Russians will portray as a politically-motivated maneuver on the monopoly issue going at once.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russian Opposition Leaders to Ask US Congress to Consider Visa Bans for State Journalists Who Incite Hatred


Former prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov, co-chairman of the opposition RPR-PARNAS party, said he is planning to present to members of the US Congress on this Thursday April 23 a list of 8 Russian journalists that he believes should be placed on American sanctions lists, RBC.ru reported.

Kasyanov and Vladimir Kara-Murza, a member of the federal political council of the RPR-PARNAS party, said the group of Russian TV executives and journalists dubbed the "Nemtsov List" had contributed to the climate of incitement and hatred that they believe led to his assassination.

The list includes:

Vladimir Solovyov
Dmitry Kiselyev
Arkady Mamontov
Andrei Karaulov
Konstantin Syomin
Vladimir Kulistikov
Oleg Dobrodeyev
Aleksei Pushkov

Pushkov, chair of the State Duma's foreign affairs committee and also considered a television journalist, is in fact already on the US sanctions list for his role in unlawfully annexing the Crimea, an act which the US and other Western governments do not recognize and which a majority of members of the UN General Assembly condemned in a resolution last year. Dmitry Kiselyev, the head of the Russian state news network Rossiya Segodnya, is sanctioned in Europe but not yet by the United States.

It will likely be difficult to persuade US Congress members to take any action against these journalists, even those in state media playing a role in war propaganda and disinformation, due to the First Amendment to the US Constitution which provides a high threshold for free speech.

Even without the formality of sanctions, a country is entitled to withhold entry visas to foreigners at its own discretion There is no domestic or international that can trump this fundamental feature of sovereignty.

But in practice, when the US government has banned controversial foreigners such as Tariq Ramadan from entering the US to give lectures or take part in conferences, it finds the individuals only get more attention and become the focus of campaigns to overturn the government decision to ban them.

The First Amendment isn't unlimited, and there is a concept of "incitement of imminent lawless action," known popularly as "crying fire in a crowded theater," under such US Supreme Court decisions as Brandenberg v. Ohio.

In the international arena, in order to prevent the kind of vague and capacious speech controls for which Russian legislation is known, for example, the US has worked to get the concept of "incitement of imminent violence" into any resolutions aimed at controlling speech, such as Resolution 16/18 on tolerance.

In a speech in 2013, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay specified the criteria under which a call for imminent violence could be severe enough for suppression -- whether or not the speaker is in a position of power; whether the audience was large; and whether the intent was to harm.

Those are the sorts of issues Congressional staff might look at in recommending any visa bans but it's unlikely.

A recent court ruling in New York City exemplifies the American attitude toward the kind of speech  made by some of these Russian journalists.

Yesterday April 21, a federal judge ordered New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority to display on its buses a controversial ad that refers to Muslims killing Jews, rejecting the argument that the ad could incite terrorism or imminent violence.

A Congressional review of these individuals will nevertheless be useful regardless of whether they take action to ban them because they will help better understand how propaganda works and how toxic are its consequences, so that more effective public diplomacy and counter-propaganda, including in foreign broadcasting should be developed.

Kasyanov and Kara-Murza were asked to provide examples, and BBC's Russian Service covers more of this material.

It's not just that these figures smeared Nemtsov; they incited hatred of him and contributed to a climate of persecution that the opposition fears made it possible to provoke his assassination.

When Kasyanov and Nemtsov organized the Peace March against the war in Ukraine last year, Kiselyev said on his weekly program that the organizers were inspired by "mud-slinging" and the march was called the "March of Traitors."

Mamontov was found to have said, "I wonder which American parties pay more? Who paid Nemtsov and other liberals?" he said on the Spetsial'ny Korresponent (Special Correspondent) show.

Syomin in the show Agitprop claimed that Nemtsov would have welcomed the invasion of Moscow by Hitler in 1941.

The US has not included Kisilyev in its sanctions list, despite him implying that Russia could reduce the US "to nuclear ash." But the EU has included Kisilyev for his role in war propaganda, because European media law tends to be more restrictive than the First Amendment.

The journalists in the list were contacted by BBC and weren't happy with the proposal for sanctioning them. Solovyov objected, "I was friends with Boris. And the very idea of such lists for journalists contradicts the spirit of the Russian Constitution."

So far, the current suspects arrested in the murder -- five Chechens, one of whom served in Chechen President Ruslan Kadyrov's Interior Ministry troops -- have not given any indication that they were incited to hatred by watching Russian TV or even reading Nemtsov's posts on Facebook with criticism of Kadyrov's "personal army" and support of the journalists of Charlie Hebdo.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

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