“People’s indifference scares me,” says Sergei Alekseenko to BarentsObserver in a phone interview. He was one of 10 activists reaching out to bypassing people, trying to warn them about the aggressive nationalism they see emerge in the region.
Annual nationalist mass demonstrations are carried out throughout Russia, not only in major cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg, but also in regional cities like Murmansk.
Increasing nationalism The Russian March was organized in Murmansk for the second time this year. “Russia for Russians is the main slogan,” says Alekseenko. “In addition, they mix religious and fascist symbols, which makes it very powerful and dangerous.”
Xenophobia is hatred or fear of foreigners or strangers. The rise of xenophobic behavior towards immigrants has increased dramatically this autumn. 66 percent of Russians say they support the nationalist doctrine of Russia for Russians, according to a recent poll conducted by the Levada Center.
According to Alekseenko most of the young activists are too afraid to participate in demonstrations. “They have seen the harsh treatment of people speaking out, and fear that they could be the next victim,” he says.
Calls out for human dignity Homosexuals have also been targeted. During the popular TV show “Special Correspondent” on Rossia 1 earlier this month, minors in Murmansk were pictured without permission. The host referred to gays as “perverts” or “sodomites,” in order to declare war against the LGBT community.
“Our goal is to call out for respect of human dignity. Human rights should be respected without discrimination,” says Violetta Grudina in a press release. She is the organizer of the demonstration arranged in Murmansk last weekend. “We urge our government to investigate hate crimes,” she states.