Paul Goble is covering this story about the extremist group, Movement Against Illegal Immigration (DPNI), which is making a bid for mainstream respectability. The success and acceptance of this group is, well, very disappointing. DPNI and many other similar movements have alarmingly grown in size and influence in Putin’s Russia under the banner of “Russia for Russians,” and other slogans which at times dovetail with the statist “Nashi” narrative. With a rapidly shrinking population (140 million, smaller than Pakistan), Russia faces the prospect of having to attract and incorporate a very large number of immigrants over the short term to remain competitive and continue the bid to regain “superpower” status. This xenophobic attitude appears at odds with Russia’s potential multicultural future.
In a report on the meeting entitled “Nationalism with a Human Face,” the Moscow newspaper “Kommersant” today said that Belov is convinced that if he is not the leader of the group, then these officials will be less inclined to move against DPNI and the organization “will be able to much more actively participate in social and political life.”
According to Belov, DPNI has already gone a long way toward becoming “arespectable movement,” a testimony more to the tectonic shifts inRussian popular and government attitudes toward migrants than to thegroup’s own statements and behavior, a daily dose of which is providedby its openly xenophobic website, www.dpni.org. (…)
Whether DPNI will gain or lose more by its attempt at “respectability”remains to be seen, given that xenophobic radicals who took their firststeps in this group may now move on to other, still more radicalparties and organizations or may decide that they can do better forwhat they believe in by supporting the increasingly xenophobic line ofalready more powerful parties.