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Russia: Kremlin Struggling to Keep Lid on Pandora's Box of Nationalism

Medvedev calls for a zero-tolerance policy regarding unsanctioned rallies and ethnic hate. (Photo: Presidential Press Service, Russia)

Vladimir Putin utilized nationalist fervor in Russia to consolidate his personal authority and strengthen the country's statehood following the Soviet collapse. But now the Kremlin may be finding that nationalism is a double-edged blade, a weapon that, all of a sudden, is threatening to subsume Russia's identity as a multi-ethnic state.

Ten days after hundreds of nationalist thugs rioted in central Moscow, attacking non-Russians from Central Asia and the Caucasus while voicing chauvinist slogans, the Russian capital remains on edge, and Putin's government continues to struggle to keep racist and xenophobic sentiments in check.

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Masha Charnay is a freelance writer based in Moscow.

Russia: Kremlin Struggling to Keep Lid on Pandora's Box of Nationalism

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