Neo-Nazism and xenophobia in the post-Soviet states: is there an antidote?
Neo-Nazism and xenophobia are trends that have tremendously risen during the past 20-30 years in the post-Soviet space. And recent events have proven that such movements do not lack support. In July 2012, in Gura Bycului, a small town in the East of Moldova, people had damaged a memorial of Soviet soldiers and drew graffiti on it with swastikas. Similar incidents had occurred in the city of Novomoskovsk, in the East part of Ukraine, last summer, when a monument had been desecrated. And, in September, in Nikolaev (southern Ukraine), a monument for the victims of the Holocaust had been damaged too. Actually, nationalist and neo-Nazi movements are quite active in Ukraine. After the parliamentary elections in October 2012, the far-right nationalist party “Svododa” (Freedom) will be represented in Ukraine’s parliament for the first time in the
According to the head of the
Today, nationalism is supported and fueled by social and economic conditions, which favor xenophobia and violent behaviors on an ethnic basis. Such behaviors are also based on misunderstanding and ignorance of history by the youngest generations in the region. In Sergey Panteleev’s mind, a good pedagogical work could be done by the media, in order to remember the past, and the historical faults which should not be repeated. And at the same time, there is a clear need to teach the history of the Second World War in the region. Yusif Belous, professor at the University of Chisinau, deplores the lack of knowledge of his Moldavian students about this period: “They don’t know anything about this time.”
Education appears to be a priority. But there is also a need to promote peaceful relationships among various ethnic communities. Panteleev explained during a press-conference organized in Moscow on November 8th that an economic integration process is currently carried out by several post-Soviet countries. A Customs Union is being created between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. This structure will favor people’s movements from a country to another. Consequently, alongside economic processes, there is a need to promote human integration. For instance, in Russia, Panteleev would like to introduce a harmonious way of life, based on the Orthodox culture. According to him, the Soviet experience can here be useful, by illustrating how to promote internationalism and solidarity.
The idea to use the Soviet experience to solve ethnic tensions can raise objections. But the need to find a way for people from different origins to live peacefully together is unquestionable, and would be useful even far from the post-Soviet region.