National Unity Does Not Need a Special Day

There is no need to invent a special day like the National Unity Day for strengthening national identity, because one day in a year cannot change people's vision of their nation. This is an everyday job for the citizens at all levels of Russian society.

“Russia, Russia, Wherefore Art Thou Russia?”

“National identity” and “nationalism”—there is nothing permanent about them. They vary, depending upon who speaks about them, and they change as time goes by. Those who resort to ultra-nationalism now in Russia had better hurry, because the nation states are losing efficacy, and values transform as economy and society change.

The Day of National Unity, a Celebration of Wishful Thinking

On November 4, President Putin spoke in the Kremlin about cohesion, consolidation, and indissoluble unity of the people of Russia. Government policies, in contrast, do more to deepen the xenophobic sentiments than to temper them. If the Day of National Unity was established as a step toward consolidating the Russian nation, today it sounds at best as a celebration of wishful thinking.

The Game of Unity

Russia does not have and will probably never have a specific event that can become a symbol of national consolidation. Still, something specific that consolidates everyone at once is necessary and the Kremlin wants people to nationally unite against the external enemies.

A Country in Search of a Nation

The problem with the nation-building effort in Russia is that a nation cannot be built from above. Unless people begin treating their state as their own, Russia will continue to be a country and a state, but no nation.

Russia Needs Immigrants Anyway, But Not Too Many

The simple axiom is: as far as you have a sufficient economic growth, you can be generous to the immigrants, but if the economy goes wrong, you should limit the inflow of foreign workers. The Russian economy is now ill, with a growth rate at slightly above one percent. And the more frustrated the Russians become, the more acute the ethnic problem becomes.

Xenophobia in Russia: A Tough Challenge and a Policy of Evasion

As outbursts of ethnic violence grow more frequent, the Russian government relies first and foremost on police measures, such as roundups, detentions, or tightened migration policy. The rhetoric of administrators of various levels increasingly caters to xenophobic sentiments which risks to incite such sentiments even further and lead to new ethnic clashes.

Biryulyovo: More Than Just Another Riot

Though it is far more convenient to simply consider the last pogrom in Biryulyovo, Moscow, a sad occurrence and continue acting ad hoc, as usual, the authorities must take a strategic look at these events and act energetically, consistently, and, above all, intelligently.

Russia-2013: How To Blow Off Steam?

Introducing visas and closing borders with Central Asian countries should not be the first steps in solving the problem of ethnic hatred in Russia. Instead, there should come a transformation of the entire Russian state, a regime change, and a resolution of the problem of the North Caucasus.

Corruption Run Riot

Biryulyovo was not the first anti-immigrant outburst in Russia, or even the biggest one, and it is unlikely to be the last. The core issue is systemic corruption in the police, migration service, and municipalities, which the new measures taken by the government in response to Biryulyovo are unlikely to reduce, much less to end.
Please note

You are leaving the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy's website and entering another Carnegie global site.