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Nekrassow, Andrej

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Süddeutsche Zeitung - Germany | 21/11/2006

Andrei Nekrasov on Russian nationalism and contract killings

The former Russian secret service officer Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned in London and is now in a critical condition at a London hospital. Russian director Andrei Nekrasov explains why nationalism, whether from the left-wing or the right, is considered "cool, and even modern", in today's Russia – and why it's so dangerous. "Putin attacks the left-wing nationalists more than the right-wing nationalists. Yet Russia's right-wing nationalist movement doesn't just want to be tolerated, it wants to take control of the country. And its weapon is political murder, not for the sake of getting rid of witnesses but for the shock effect. A murder confronts the West with its own impotence in the face of Russia's recent surge in power and old Russian values. During the Soviet era, international recognition protected human rights activists; now it puts them at risk. One thing's for sure, as long as Putin continues his balancing act and humanitarian democracy has no advocates while nationalism becomes increasingly popular, more innocent and brave people will die – like Anna Polikovskaya and, very nearly, Alexander Litvinenko."

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