Radical Nationalism: Sketches for the Social Portrait. The Example of Russia

Dec 2013
30 October 2001 a mass riot, the Pogrom of Tsaritsyno, occurred in Moscow: youths armed with rods and bats attacked Azerbaijani small traders at a market at the metro station Tsaritsyno and near the stations Kakhovskaya and Kantemirovskaya.

After the events the Moscow militsiya (police) registered about 1000 nationalist skinheads who probably had to do with the pogrom (these registered youths are about 1/5 of the active nationalist skinheads of Moscow) and now we have the possibility to draw some conclusions concerning the social origin of the radical nationalists.

Let’s examine some data about the parents of the pogrom-makers:

58 % of the pogrom-makers’ parents are engaged at wholesale and retail trade, and 22 % of them have own business.
22 % of parents have small and medium non-trade business or are self-employed: are engaged at agency, repair service, transport service and suchlike.
Only 4% of parents are industrial workers
Only 3.2 % of parents are engineers or specialist who have higher education (school teachers, lecturers, medics and suchlike)*
* It must be noted that in Russia the engineers, the teachers and the medics are, as a rule, the members of rather low-paid category of the population.

These data indicate well that the social base of the radical nationalism and fascism is the petty bourgeoisie (small traders and the middle class engaged at nonproduction field).

And we can say that the xenophobia has quite rational roots (i.e. it is not a real phobia): the shopsters just try to exclude their economical competitors with non-economical methods.
This statement is corroborated with data of a survey conducted by Polish sociologists at Russian private schools. The sociologist marked out the group of youths named the "nationalists" for convenience. The "nationalists" were about 20% of all questioned schoolboys. The most of the "nationalists" were the children of businessmen of middle level, also – the children of governmental officials.

80% of the "nationalists" called themselves racist (the white race is the superior race, the Blacks** are subhumans etc.)
** The Black: this insulting designation is used not only in relation to Africans (who are not numerous in Russia) but also to people come from Caucasus and Central Asia.

The most every "nationalist" demonstrated the aversion to the "Blacks". But this aversion had obvious economical roots: they make their business here, they exclude the native population from the business, they seized all markets etc.
At the same time the majority of the "nationalist" (80%) has nothing against the "Blacks" as cheap labour power: if they want to work at construction sites, why not?

So, we can see again that the nationalism and the fascism are the ideology of shopkeepers. The real substance of the nationalism and fascism is not an abstract national idea, but qiute rationale, down-to-earth, economical interests.

The cited data are from: The Call Extremists by Aleksandr Tarasov (Александр Тарасов. Экстремисты по вызову (in Russian))