Prior to the rise of public protests in Russia in December 2011, experts largely viewed Russian nationalism as the strongest ideological trend in the country. This perception significantly influences both the role that some nationalists came to play in the contemporary protest movement and the way other opposition activists relate to them. At the same time, in its efforts to counteract the protest movement, the Kremlin has adopted a rather controversial policy in respect of nationalists and nationalist ideology. This policy essentially combines suppression of ultra-right radicalism in all forms with the use of nationalist ideology to mobilize support for the government.
Alexander Verkhovsky is the founder and director of the SOVA Center for Information and Analysis, a Moscow-based NGO that monitors and analyzes political extremism, ultra-nationalism, xenophobia, freedom of religion, and the use and misuse of counter-extremism measures in Russia.
Verkhovsky has authored numerous publications on these issues. SOVA Center is conducting monitoring on them (see http://sova-center.ru).
Co-sponsored with Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies (CREEES)