Russian Ultra-Nationalism: A Monster of Moscow’s Making
Nov 4, 2016 | 09:18 GMT
Russia's far-right groups have metastasized, and some are now out of the Kremlin’s control. In this photo, activists blockade the doors of a gallery hosting an exhibition by U.S. photographer Jock Sturges.
(ANDREI BORODULIN/AFP/Getty Images)
By stoking these long-dormant sentiments, Putin has managed to shore up his power base and create a moral mandate for Moscow's domestic and foreign policy. Whereas the West could once accuse the Soviet Union of being a "godless nation," the Russian Federation can now claim to have God on its side. This thinking has undergirded several of the Kremlin's actions at home and abroad, including the passage of laws restricting homosexuality and pornography and the launch of interventions into Ukraine and Syria. But Putin's ideological strategy has its drawbacks. Inflaming far-right extremism has given rise to ideologues who want to push the Kremlin further than it is willing to go. And, when the Kremlin balks at their demands, they are no longer shy about voicing their discontent....