Russians are proud and tough, and like us also face a major demographic and immigration crisis. Unlike us, they recognize that immigrants are a threat
Americans have something to learn.
White people in the former Warsaw Pact countries still cherish their racial and cultural identities, and their politicians and citizens are trying to keep immigrants out. Even if we in America and Western Europe become extensions of the Third World, the countries behind the Iron Curtain will still be European.
I would like to discuss the most important of these countries: the Russian Federation. Here, people feel no white guilt. Why should they? While American blacks were demanding civil rights and reminding whites of slavery, Soviet citizens were suffering a kind of modern slavery. White privilege did not save the millions who disappeared in Stalin’s labor camps, nor did it help those who starved during the famines that he and his party bosses created. If American blacks or British Muslims had a taste of what Soviet citizens went through in the 1930s and 1940s, they would be glad they were American citizens and British subjects.
Russians are proud to be Russian. Their people have produced some of the greatest literary and intellectual giants in the history of the West, and Russians take their greatness for granted. They are a tough people who stopped the Grande Armée in the 19th century and the Werhmacht in the 20th—both considered the most fearsome fighting forces of their time. Russians are proud and tough, and like us also face a major demographic and immigration crisis. Unlike us, they recognize that immigrants are a threat.
Immigrants to the Russian Federation come mostly from the former Soviet republics, which have sent an estimated 13 million people to Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989. During the Soviet era, the government sent many Russians to live in outlying republics as a means of cultural and political control. In the early years after the collapse, immigration consisted largely of these ethnic Russians streaming back to the motherland. In 1991-92, for example, 81 percent of immigrants were Russian, but beginning in 1994, their numbers began to decline. By 2007, ethnic Russians represented only 32 percent of immigrants, and perhaps 10 to 13 percent of the rest were from Ukraine. The remainder were almost certainly from former republics such as Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Some of these people look almost white, but they are not Slavs, and many are culturally Asiatic. Now the greatest number of immigrants to Russia come from these Central Asian countries.
As in Yugoslavia after the end of authoritarian rule, long-festering ethnic conflict flared up after the Soviet collapse. In 1944, Stalin had removed Meskhetian Turks from his native republic of Georgia, deporting them to Uzbekistan. In 1989, Uzbek nationalists rioted against this group they saw as interlopers, and many Meskhetian Turks fled for their lives, in many cases to Russia.
Other fighting that broke out in the 1990s after the Soviet collapse sent yet more refugees to Russia. During the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, both Armenians and Azeris fled in large numbers to Russia. When Chechnya rebelled against Russian rule, both Slavic and non-Slavic people from Chechnya, Ingushetia, and Dagestan fled to Russia.
The demographic effects of migration are sometimes hard to quantify because of the effects of internal migration. Non-Slavic Russian citizens, such as Chechens, Ingush, Azeris, etc. are moving into Western Russia and are bringing cultural problems. Because these people hold Russian passports, their movements are not counted as immigration. Only 82.4 percent of Russian citizens are actually Slavs, and many non-Slavs seem intent on moving into the ancestral Slavic homelands.
There are now millions of temporary workers and illegal immigrants in Russia, though no one knows the exact number. Figures provided by the Russian Federal Migration Service and Human Rights Watch range from three to 10 million.
The Western media portray Russia in a very negative light, but life in Russia is much better than in Central Asia or in the Caucasus Mountains. In Moscow and other major Russian cities, migrants enjoy a higher standard of living than would be possible in their home countries. Typically, Central Asians work in the short-term labor market as construction workers, restaurant workers, and in small workshops in private homes. As the Russian migrant rights activist Lidiya Grafova put it (yes, even Russia has such people), it is good for business to hire cheap, powerless Tajiks.
The Russian view of immigrants
Russians do not like immigrants from the Caucasus and Central Asia, nor do they care much for their own Muslim citizens. Articles posted on Human Rights Watch and the liberal, Moscow-based SOVA Center for Information and Analysis suggest that Russians frequently attack immigrants. However, it is clear from conversation with Russians and from local news stories that immigrants victimize Russians just as Mexicans and blacks victimize whites in America. According to Moscow’s commissioner of police, Vladimir Kolokoltsev, migrants are responsible for 70 percent of the crime in that city, and the crime rate keeps growing. He noted that Central Asians are especially prone to rape, and that rape had increased 79 percent from 2013 to 2014. Attacks and robberies by Central Asians are a staple of conversation in big cities.
Russians especially dislike Chechens. During the Chechen wars of the 1990s and 2000s, the Western media portrayed Chechens as the good guys fighting for independence. Chechens, with help from Islamic insurgents from the Middle East, terrorized the local civilians, used women and children as human shields, kidnapped and tortured civilians, and killed Russian prisoners-of-war.
Chechnya has also gone through a kind of ethnic cleansing. In 1989, the census counted 269,130 Russians and 11,884 Ukrainians in Chechnya, together making up 25.9 percent of the population. As of 2010, virtually all of those people were gone—either dead or driven away by Chechen death squads and Arab helpers—and Russians and Ukrainians now make up barely 3 percent of the population.
In addition to Central Asian and Caucasian immigration, there are rumors that Siberia is turning Chinese. Much of this information is unreliable or speculative, but if even a fraction of what is said about Chinese moving into Siberia is true, the Russian Federation faces serious, long-term problems in the East. Estimates of the number of Chinese living in Siberia vary, ranging from Russian figures of 35,000 up to Taiwanese claims of one million. In any case, China is a lot closer to Siberia than European Russia is, meaning that China can more easily project force into a region that is rich in coal, iron, manganese, lumber, and petroleum. If China has, say, a few hundred thousand citizens in Siberia, that constitutes a fifth column in a region with few Russians. If China’s governing elite needs an outside enemy to distract the people’s attention from problems at home, a defenseless and rich Siberia would be a good place to start a conflict.
Russia and China now act as though they are great allies, but they are united only by the fact that they hate the United States. An alliance based on mutual hatred of a third party is a weak one that can easily fall apart. The fact that China is still smarting from a long period of foreign colonialism, in which Russia exploited the Chinese just as much as the British or the Japanese, makes the Chinese a very dangerous partner for the Russians.
How Russians deal with immigrants
Because of the migrant waves of the last decade, the Chechen wars, and rumors of the Chinese influx into Siberia, Russians insist that the government take action. In 2011, Vladimir Putin banned foreign laborers from working as traders in kiosks and markets, and those who break this law can be deported. Since 2013, 513,000 foreigners have been deported by Russian courts, and 1.7 million have been banned from re-entering the country. A deportation hearing takes between three and five minutes, with the judge ruling against the defendant 70 percent of the time. After the judge issues his ruling the violator has no right of appeal and is quickly expelled.
Russia uses deportation and immigration as a political weapon. In September 2006, Georgia arrested four Russian officers for espionage. The Kremlin took great offence and claimed the officers were not spies. Russia recalled its ambassador and then cut all rail, road, and sea links to Georgia and stopped issuing visas to Georgian citizens. This was followed by several high-profile raids on Georgian businesses and places where Georgians congregate. In two months 2,380 Georgians were deported and another 2,000 returned on their own. The Russians officers arrested by Georgia were home in just a few days. There are lessons here for the United States.
Russians are still not satisfied with government action against immigrants. This is not surprising, given the corruption and inefficiency of Russian government institutions. Russians are therefore starting to take matters into their own hands.
On two different occasions in 2010, groups of Chechen men attacked and killed Russian citizens. In both cases the killers were initially let off, amid suspicions that Chechens had bribed the police (a year later, one of the killers was eventually convicted). Russians were furious over the killings, and on December 11th there were protests across the country. The largest was in Moscow, where as many as 50,000 people may have taken part. The protest soon turned into a riot and Russians began attacking immigrants, killing 24 and injuring many more.
In 2013, there were further riots in Biryulyovo, just south of Moscow, after an Azeri man stabbed a Russian to death. Rioters shouted “White Power” and “Russia for Russians.” Some ransacked a wholesale vegetable market looking for immigrants to attack.
When the police do not do a good enough job of enforcing immigration law, Russians enforce it themselves. In April 2016, activists from the National Conservative Movement organized a project called “We Are Moscow,” in which they checked the documents of immigrant food sellers and turned violators over to the police. Similar raids on illegal food sellers have been carried out in St. Petersburg. In August, activists joined police in a sweep of homes of illegal immigrants in St. Petersburg, dragging them out into the streets and arresting them.
Russians have long memories of invaders. They suffered under the Mongolian Golden Horde and later at the hands of the Poles after the death of Ivan IV. They remember the French and the German invasions, and in today’s Central Asian immigrants they see the modern equivalent of the Golden Horde. Russians still have pride in their nation and people, and have a government that is at least moderately responsive to their desires. Even if the United States loses its European character, Russians are determined to remain masters in their own home.