Russia: The Land Inbetween
This chapter examines the problems and the dangers of extremism in Russia. To assess the danger, it then examines five areas: the problem of momentum; the "majority as victim" syndrome; the status of minorities; laws and legality; and dealing with refugees. A qualitative assessment of the enormously positive developments that have taken place in Russia since the fall of communism rests on the assessment of the momentum of transformation. This involves political, social, and economic aspects that often are intertwined. A loss of momentum is combining with an increasing sense of majority victimization. That is, Russians, as the predominant ethnic group in Russia and as formerly the hegemonic ethnic group in the Soviet Union, tend to feel a tremendous sense of deprivation. A majority that feels victimized, that is, insensitive to the rights and aspirations of the minorities within the state, is not likely to be sympathetic to the plight of minority refugees from beyond its borders.