Brotherhood of nations

Soviet rule in the huge territory of the Soviet Union was based on a few simple myths. One of them was the cult of work and workers, another one was the cult of the brotherhood of nations. In official statements the residents of that country were never called just people; very rarely they were called citizens. When we were addressed, we were “comrades”. When we were talked about, we were “toiling masses” (“at the workers’ hands” trains were cancelled, never ending constructions were launched – all mockeries and inconveniences were allegedly initiated by these ever-active “workers”). The brotherhood of nations was a cornerstone and was praised in the Soviet anthem, as it is in the Russian variant (“Age-old union of fraternal peoples” is sung three times in the chorus).

Almost all current grown-ups were born in the Soviet Union. Many of them lived most of their life in that country. Younger generations were and are brought up with the same slogans and songs. Communists International was, of course, disbanded. These two words were unpopular already in the 1970-80s. But “fraternal nations” is different; it sounds better to the “older brother’s” ear. Another foreign word, “tolerance”, was recently put into circulation. Even money for national dances and games is given once every year. So “younger brothers” are tolerated, but not all of them, as only “accredited and accepted to the house of nationalities” brothers are really tolerated.

What did this propaganda of tolerance and brotherhood give to us? What did the cult of work and workers give to us? Only hatred to labor, other nations and those who do not want to hate anyone and anything. In any average Russian town the representatives of “fraternal peoples” work hard, from dusk to dawn, they patiently take it in tow. It must inspire respect! People should be ashamed by it, as the well-fed is ashamed of the hungry. The working conditions of these people are inhuman, their life is hopeless. They are so desperate and indignent that they are ready to work for any money, though they risk being cheated, being attacked by aggressive racists, and losing their documents in regular “raids” which might lead to an arrest and a prison sentence.

People do not go for such existence because of good life. But because of good life people also do not go for putting all jobs – construction, production, agricultural, services – unto “fraternal peoples'” shoulders. And people do not complain about the “misfortunes of the Russian nation”, instead lumping the blame on working foreigners, and in the worst cases opting for violence, cruelty and murder. Good life is likely to include honest work, self respect and respect to the others. But life in our country is not like this. Our country is infected with parasitism. The population (still quite big even with all talks about a demographic crisis) cannot and does not want to live off of their own work. They do not want to respect the work of others, and do not try to understand why it is like that. Unfortunately, most Russians do not value the “fraternal peoples”, and consider them to be “worse”. The answer to the question, “Why it is so bad?” is very stupid – because they are “damn foreigners”.

If job-seeking people come and find jobs it means there is work to do. There is work in Russia, but there are no workers. There are people, but little of them work. That is why people arrive here to work for us. Is it bad? Let us work! You don’t want to? What is the way out then?

The “way out” was found by the residents of Murmansk. According to the local Media, particularly the TV-21 company, on April 13, 2010, “stickers with extremist contents were put on the public transport stops and other public places in Murmansk. On the black and white stickers there were two people drawn, one of them is pointing a gun to another’s head”. Below this picture there was a call to kill migrants. The TV report showed the stickers, the poles and public transport stops where they were put on. The residents of the city and the journalists got concerned about it. The requests to investigate the case and punish the guilty were sent to the city prosecutor’s office. If the investigation was carried out, there were no results. Neither the disseminators of the stickers, nor the stickers themselves were found! Even the TV report did not help. The investigation was closed after the investigators interviewed the applicants. The questions were aimed at the strange interest of the people to the intolerance and demands to kill, but avoided the subject of the requests to the prosecutor’s office. No stickers – no problem.

But the problems exist! Every year tens of migrants die, and hundreds of them (maybe even thousands) are attacked! They are killed on the streets, at work, even at home. One of the recent cases is the one in the Sverdlovsk region. The locals and migrants from Uzbekistan worked together. The Mir Novostei newspaper wrote on May 8, 2010 that “the locals as it has been investigated more drank than worked but the migrant workers worked very well. It influenced the wages.” Good work cost the life of Solimzhon Nosirdinov, a citizen of Uzbekistan. He was killed by those who worked worse. The case was solved, but the problem remains. It is not solved either in Sverdlovsk, or in Murmansk. It is not solved in any other Russian town which needs migrants but cannot protect them from murderers, for that would admit that well-done work is good for all of us. Swapping of a good worker, whatever his name or origin are, for a bad drunk one will not solve the situation.

The way out is different: we should do our work well, stop envying and blaming others for everything. We should stop calling to kill “fraternal peoples”. It is not the time to sing about friendship and spread hate stickers around. It is time to realize we need each other. The modern world, as well as modern labor, is multinational.

Stefaniya Kulayeva

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