The Benefits of Loyalty

russia121410.jpgOn Global Post, Miriam Elder has a good interview with rights activist Galina Kozhevnikova regarding the recent nationalist riot in Moscow.

“There are few who understand what is happening,” said Galina Kozhevnikova, deputy head of the Sova Center, a Russian NGO that monitors violence against minorities.

“The government doesn’t understand what to do now that it’s let the genie out of the bottle,” she said.

The Russian government has long tolerated far-right nationalist groups. Every year, they are allowed to gather for an annual rally. This year was no exception, and the far-right Slavic Union gathered 5,000 people despite the fact that it was technically banned last year. While the neo-Nazis are given permission to march, similar requests from the liberal opposition are routinely rejected.

“It’s not a question of government sympathy or antipathy, it’s aquestion of loyalty,” said Kozhevnikova. “If a group is loyal to thegovernment, it can do whatever it wants.” (…)

“The only thing that saves us is the fact they have no leader,” saidKozhevnikova, speaking of the far-right in general. “Once they do, we’llhave a Nazi putsch.”