Françoise Daucé, Myriam Désert, Marlène Laruelle, Anne Le Huérou

Since the second half of the 1990s, the theme of national revival crystallized in Russia, notably in the form of a promotion of patriotism. The apparent convergence between an offer “from above” and a demand “from below” supports the idea that there exists a kind of patriotic consensus in Russia. This new tense and autarchic fusion between state and society summons old stereotypes about Russo- Soviet culture. This issue of Questions of Research seeks to go back over these stereotypes in order to show the diversity of “patriotic” practices in Russia today (which widely surpass the “militarist” variant generally evoked) and the connected social uses that are made of it. Following an overview of the existing literature on Russian nationalism and patriotism, as well as a presentation of the patriotic education curricula being implemented by the Russian state, our study on “patriotic” practices continues through several points of observation (patrioti c summer clubs and camps for children and adolescents in Saint- Petersburg, Moscow and Omsk; ethno-cultural organizati ons; Orthodox religious organizations; and the discursive practices of economic actors). The examination of these different terrains reveals the diversity of everyday “patriotic” activities; and illustrates their utilization to multiple ends (pragmatic concern for one’s professional career, search for a personal source of inspirati on, opportunities for enrichment, pleasure of undertaking activiti es with one’s friend and relations…). In the end, these fieldwork surveys reveal motivations and commitments in which official patriotic discourse and the image of state are often secondary, sometimes even denied.

Adeline Braux

Hostile, sometimes even xenophobic discourse towards migrants remains generally the norm in Russia. However, the Russian Federation’s migration policy appears relatively flexible, particularly in regards to the member countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), whose nationals benefit from simplified procedures when it comes to entering Russian territory and obtaining a work permit. Russian authorities, reticent after the Western Europe experience, intend therefore to promote labor immigration and limit family immigration. At the same time, in order to encourage the cohesion of the Russian nation as a whole, the Russian Federation intends to undertake an ambitious policy to promote cultural diversity, including both the many different constituent groups among Russians and the immigrant communities in Russia. This multiculturalism “à la russe” recalls the “folklorization” during the Soviet period involving the cultures and traditions of the Soviet Union’s different populations. In the absence of a real political directive a the federal level, local authorities have been more active on the matter, notably in Moscow.

Post-Soviet Azerbaijan is the theater of an Islamic revival in the public sphere, a direct consequence of exiting from the empire and achieving independence, which involved the rehabilitation of religion, even the integration of Islam in a new national identitarian policy. Azerbaijan stands out from the rest of the former USSR by the fact that it is the most secularized Muslim country due to its early entrance into Russia’s bosom and the fact that it was long the ground for an ideological clash between the Shiite Persian Empires and the Sunni Ottoman Empire. It is through the convergence of internal factors – a preserved Islam despite the anti-religious Soviet policy – and external factors – the influence of neighboring countries, Turkey, Iran and the Arab world – that Azerbaijani Islam has been reconfigured since the end of the communist era. Eager to preserve the country’s secularity – the pride of the elites – and to ensure that the religious revival does not turn into a source of tension between the two essential components of its population (Shiites and Sunnis), the state has – with difficulty and sometimes a lack of subtlety – set up a religious policy that is far from receiving general approval. However, even if its handling of Islam is disputed, the Azerbaijan government controls the religious phenomenon through a policy that alternates between tolerance and repression.

Since the war began in 2002, an unprecedented social movement has taken hold in the Ivory Coast, the "Patriotic Youth," that rallies around a violent ultranationalist and anti-colonialist discourse. Supported by mass organizations that control the urban areas, the Patriotic Youth have become central political actors and a shock weapon used by the government in power. While acknowledging this political instrumentalization, the Etude goes beyond functionalist interpretations of the Patriotic Youth phenomenon in attempt to grasp the driving sociological forces and assess their scope. Based on unpublished surveys conducted in Abidjan among grassroots activists of the "Patriotic galaxy," it demonstrates that also at stake in this grand nationalist fervor is the emergence of a new political generation, involving FESCI student unionism, which today makes violent claims to rights and social recognition. In this hypothesis, the anti-colonialist register is used as a vocabulary expressing generational revolution and emancipation of a fraction of the youth that has experimented with violence in union struggles and in war. It concludes by examining the influence of this phenomenon with regard to a possible resolution of the crisis. Beyond its institutional dimensions, the Ouagadougou accord paves the way for a change of political generation, the "Fescists" – both patriots and rebels – who have managed to impose themselves on the heirs of Houphouetism.

François Vergniolle de Chantal

The Republican Party’s identity as fashioned since 1964 is poles apart from the moderate conservatism that had characterised the party until then. The party ideology has become populist, religious and nationalistic. It results from Barry M. Goldwater and later Richard Nixon’s "southern" electoral strategy. The party cashed in on the discontent sown among the southern population by racial integration, and has consequently made the former Confederate States its stronghold. This shift has been so large in scope that it constitutes the main feature of US politics in the past four decades. Political initiative has since then been primarily rightwing, weakening the Democrats. When the GOP won a majority in the South, the Democratic coalition suffered a trauma it has yet to recover from. The nationalist reaction to the 9/11 attacks gave the Republicans a supplementary political base. Nevertheless, this comeback does not have sufficiently stable elements allowing for a lasting Republican coalition. The Republicans’ strength resides in the fervour that surrounds them, as well as, as we will argue, in the Democrats’ inability to define a tactic to face the Republican challenge. Yet, the balance of (electoral) power does not tip to the Republicans. Although demographical and geographical factors favour the right, social evolutions tend to favour the Democrats. The latter may lack strategy, but they do not lack resource. The situation is exactly the opposite for the Republicans.

Marlène Laruelle

When the USSR collapsed, about 25 million Russians suddenly found themselves outside the Federation borders. This Russian diaspora has since then been defended by various lobbies based in Moscow. Some have simply the status of an association; others enjoy considerable institutional recognition in Parliament, various ministries or the executive in Moscow. The diaspora theme has undergone a profound evolution in the Russian political space: during the early 1990s it was first considered as a nationalist demand initiated within marginal circles, and since then has progressively been taken up by the state as a “politically correct” stance. In the space of 15 years, organizations defending the Russian diaspora’s rights have managed to become totally institutionalized and have gained influence on legislation regarding federal aid to the diaspora. The wide variety of terminology used to name this phenomenon, the use of the word ‘compatriot’ (judicially improper), the ethnicisation of the discourse, as well as the administrative efforts made to develop new and depoliticized conceptions of the Russian diaspora all show the underlying identity issues behind the diaspora question.

Zuzanna Olszewska

Though Afghan emigration results from sociopolitical circumstances (drought, changes in the system of government, wars) and from the economic structure (pastoralism, seasonal cycles of productive activities), it is part of a historical continuum of recurrent population movements in the region. Many Afghans, particularly Hazaras, have settled in Iran since the end of the 19th century. Their presence in the country intensified during the 1970s following the Iranian oil boom and the Afghan drought, but also following the political upheavals in Afghanistan since 1978. The Islamic Republic has adopted a changing and rather inconsistent policy to deal with these immigrants, and in a both popular and formal climate of xenophobia the country’s current objective is to repatriate them. Yet, the presence of Afghans on Iranian soil seems irreversible as it satisfies economic needs, reflects the intensity of commercial exchanges between the two countries, and constitutes a complex cross-border social reality. Lastly, the Afghan presence stokes a public and legal debate on how to define citizenship, while it appears to be inherent to the Iranian conception of its own nation.