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Russian Nationalism: Made In Uzbekistan

Russian nationalists demonstrate in Moscow in April.
Russian nationalists demonstrate in Moscow in April.
What's a Russian ultranationalist to do when he discovers his ultranationalist paraphernalia is made in Uzbekistan?

He could be grateful that his chauvanism is providing work for Uzbeks in Uzbekistan.

He could urge his comrades in black boots to buy more and more of the stuff to prevent Uzbeks from migrating to Mother Russia.

He could denounce nationalists who insist on waving Russian-made flags as enemy agents.

Or he could post a whinging video.

"My Russian brothers" the cameraman begins. "Why am I shooting a video of a flag, a polo shirt, and a T-shirt -- all patriotic ones."

He says the clothing is worn by his nationalist friends and group members who do not want Russia "to be flooded with millions and millions of legal and illegal migrants from Central Asia."

Then, the punch line: he flips over the tag of the polo shirt to display, in English, "Made in Uzbekistan."

"We're [ethnic] Russians" is written in large white script on the next garment.

But its tag -- using Russian this time, perhaps as a gesture of goodwill to the nationalists -- also says "Made in Uzbekistan."

"It's nonsense," he says as he concludes the video, which was posted on a far-right page on VKontakte. "Just nonsense."

Tensions between ethnic Russians and Central Asian migrants, many of whom work in harsh conditions in low-paying jobs, are high in Russia.

A crackdown on migrants this summer led to mass arrests and forced more than 600 people into tent camps to await deportation.

In a poll of Moscow residents by the independent Levada Center, 55 percent cited migrants as the city's "main problem."

-- Glenn Kates and Alisher Siddkov

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