Putin has numerous times repeated the globalist mantra that “diversity is our strength” when arguing that Russia is and has always been a “multiethnic and multi-faith” empire.
In a 2013 speech at the Valdai Club, Putin praised multiculturalism and multiethnicism in Russia as something that “lives in our historical consciousness, in our spirit and in our historical makeup. Our state was built in the course of a millennium on this organic model.” He criticized nationalists as working to undermine Russia’s multiculturalism, saying that Russia has always been multicultural and multi-confessional “from its very inception,” and adding:
Nationalists must remember that by calling into question our multi-ethnic character, and exploiting the issue of Russian, Tatar, Caucasian, Siberian or any other nationalism or separatism, means that we are starting to destroy our genetic code. In effect, we will begin to destroy ourselves.
He then outlined his support for a generic Soviet-style civic identity which all Russians, regardless of religion or race, must share:
Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism and other religions are an integral part of Russia’s identity, its historical heritage and the present-day lives of its citizens. The main task of the state, as enshrined in the Constitution, is to ensure equal rights for members of traditional religions and atheists, and the right to freedom of conscience for all citizens.
However, it is clearly impossible to identify oneself only through one’s ethnicity or religion in such a large nation with a multi-ethnic population. In order to maintain the nation’s unity, people must develop a civic identity on the basis of shared values, a patriotic consciousness, civic responsibility and solidarity, respect for the law, and a sense of responsibility for their homeland’s fate, without losing touch with their ethnic or religious roots.
This civic form of nationalism is precisely what the Soviets practiced and preached in order to blend together all the distinct cultures and ethnicities in their empire under the communist banner of the hammer and sickle. Putin is attempting the same thing with the “Russian Federation,” subsuming into one civic identity all the races of the empire.
In 2010 after ethnic riots against Caucasian migrants, Putin “condemned the rioters’ xenophobic targeting of North Caucasians” and said: “We are all children of the same country… we have a common motherland. Russia has been a multi-confessional and multi-ethnic state.” In 2007, in the midst of a crackdown on Russian ethno-nationalists, Putin made a similar statement: “With the passage of centuries, Russia has been strengthened and developed as a multi-ethnic and multi-faith country. And those that preach the ideas of nationalism, xenophobia and religious intolerance must be set rigid barriers.”
A 2015 article on the “Russian Politics of Multiculturalism” highlighted numerous examples of Putin’s professed support of multiculturalism in Russia, writing:
In his discourses, Putin has worked to cultivate an image of a multi-ethnic and multi-faith Russia. While the ROC certainly maintains a spotlight in the political arena, Putin has made a rhetorical effort to step away from the Church as the be-all-and-end-all of Russian identity, insisting that Russia’s strength lies in its cultural diversity.
The article noted Putin’s support of Islam in Russia, which he called indigenous to the country and gave official recognized status next to Orthodox Christianity. It quotes Putin agreeing with those who say that Russia’s version of Orthodox Christianity is closer to Islam than to Catholicism, revealing that Putin is more inclined to ally with Muslims than Western Christians. Of Russia’s population of 144 million, 20 million are Muslims, making them around 15% of the population and the largest Muslim minority population in Europe. Putin has refused to allow separatist-leaning Muslim areas of Russia to secede and has subsidized them more than other regions, which has led to a massive population boom of Caucasus Muslims who are now flooding into Moscow and St. Petersburg.
In 2015 in Moscow, Putin opened one of the largest mosques in all of Europe. The Kremlin has subsidized Islamic institutions, including religious schools and an Islamic TV channel. Meanwhile, Putin is cozy with Talgat Tajuddin, Russia’s Chief Mufti.
Ignoring statements to the contrary, Putin’s right-wing admirers have promoted the myth that the Russian autocrat is a “nationalist” and the “last hope” of the white race. This view is wishful thinking and a distortion of reality that misrepresents Putin’s actual stated views on race and culture in Russia, which are, judging by the above quotes, clearly multiculturalist. This and other pro-Putin myths have been bolstered by apocryphal nationalistic quotes spread online by Russia’s vast network of bots and trolls.
A “nationalist” would be someone who supports strong borders and an exclusive ethnic identity for the nation at large. Putin’s version of nationalism is not strong on ethnic identity, but rather takes the form of an amorphous civic character that is largely blind to racial and cultural differences. A “Russian,” in Putin’s view, is not an ethnic Slav of European roots but anyone residing inside the artificial walls of the “Russian Federation,” which includes Muslim Caucasians, Central Asians, Jews, even Blacks and other races.
As for borders – Putin seeks not to secure Russia’s borders around ethnic Slavs but to expand them to absorb more non-Slavic ethnic groups from neighbouring regions, allowing them to more easily emigrate to the Russian population centres of Moscow and St. Petersburg. Some rightists are under the impression that Russia has less immigrants than the West and is therefore better, but the reality is that hundreds of thousands of primarily Central Asian migrant workers enter Russia every year, with Putin’s blessing. A Business Insider report titled “Russia Wants Immigrants the World Doesn’t” writes that, “While Europe and the U.S. tighten border controls, former Soviet states are encouraged by Moscow to send their workers.” The article notes that while Kremlin media deceptively blasts Europe for accepting migrants, Putin’s Kremlin itself has flooded Russia with Central Asian economic migrants and has characterized anti-immigrant stances as “an unacceptable form of nationalism.” The article says that migrants account for 15% of the current Russian workforce. It gives us these numbers:
Russia had 161,000 foreigners come into the country in 2015 and stay. In 2016, that number increased to 196,000, according to the Russian Foreign Trade Academy and Gaidar Institute. Work-permit sales in Moscow rose by 10 percent last year, too. With most immigrants coming from former Soviet states like Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, the migration has proven beneficial to all involved: Those two countries top the list of global economies relying on remittances, according to the World Bank. … the government in February announced 200,000 previously deported Tajiks would be allowed back into Russia.
Putin has sought to lessen border controls with former Soviet republics as part of his Eurasian integration scheme, hoping to build up the Eurasian Union as an economic and geopolitical bulwark against the West. That means, many more migrants will more easily flow into central Russia thanks to Putin. In 2013 he said, “The [existence of] visa requirements within the CIS would mean that we are pushing former Soviet republics away from us. We do not need to push them away. Rather, we need to forge closer relations with them. But we ought to make this process more civilized.” The Eurasian Union is an economic pact established in 2015 by Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, which now includes Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.
Throughout his reign, Putin has moved to silence far-right Russians under anti-extremism laws, actively calling on security services to combat and prosecute hate speech and xenophobia. He only began to ease up on them in 2014 in order to channel their patriotism and anger towards fighting the Ukraine. In 2012 Putin explicitly banned “Nazi ideology and symbols” and in 2014 he outlawed Holocaust revisionism and criticism of the Soviet Red Army. The only ethnic group Putin seems to allow attacks on now are the white Ukrainians who he wants to colonize under the quasi-bolshevik banner of Novorossiya. All out slander and calls for genocide of Ukrainians are allowed under Putin, but nationalist criticism of Central Asian migrants or Jewish Bolsheviks of the Soviet-era is suppressed as “hate speech” by the Kremlin.
Playing out his chaos strategy to disorient and ultimately destroy the West, Putin simultaneously panders to the far-right and far-left with sound-bites and rhetoric. The rightists only pick out the bits that they like while ignoring the statements that contradict the nationalist “pro-white” depiction, like this Putin rant on RT promoting anti-American white guilt for the mistreatment of the Indians:
“[…] we should not forget that America’s development began with a large-scale ethnic cleansing, unprecedented in human history. […] When Europeans arrived in America, that was the first thing they did. And you have to be honest about it. There are not so many stories like that in human history. […] Then there was slavery, and that’s something that is deeply ingrained in America. In his memoirs, US Secretary of State Colin Powell revealed how hard it was for him as a black man to grow his way up, how hard it was to live with other people staring at you. It means this mentality has taken root in the hearts and minds of the people, and is likely to be still there.”
If a leftist said those words, the pro-Putin rightists would scoff and ridicule them as practitioners of white shaming and guilt, but when Putin says it, somehow it gets written off, downplayed or simply ignored. In another video, Putin explains how Whites are becoming a minority in the United States. He then goes on to say, “I am not saying this is good or bad, just that global changes are going on”, showing his indifference on the issue. The quotes I’ve brought out here should suffice to close the case on the “white saviour” myth of Putin. But as with any cult, the true believers will go on hoping and praying that their designated saviour will come to the rescue of us helpless plebs despite all the signs to the contrary.