[home page][map of the server][news of the server][forums][publications][Yabloko's Views]
The Moscow News, No 28, 2004

Nationalism Rising

By Valery Vyzhutovich
Russian nationalists continue to dream about grabbing the regions of power.
A Moscow News correspondent reports on their activities in the city of Voronezh

Nationalists Changing PLACES
RNU-style patriotism is giving way to Homeland patriotism

In late June, Vladimir Lukin, the RF plenipotentiary on human rights, visited Voronezh. The ombudsman's interest in the region that has recently seen a marked rise in nationalism sentiments is quite natural. Quite recently, the Regional Prosecutor's Office completed an investigation into a high-profile criminal case - the murder of an African student. Investigation came to the conclusion that it was a hate crime. A search of the suspects' apartments turned up emblems of the Russian National Unity (RNU).

The Homeland (Rodina) party does not figure in the investigation - there are no legal grounds for that while there is no way political grounds can be brought in to build a case.

According to the Voronezh/Chernozem Zone interregional human rights group, of the 39 political parties operating in the region, 9 have a pronounced nationalist character. These include regional divisions of the RNU, the National Great-Russia Party, and the For Holy Rus party. These organizations bore the brunt of reviving the Russian nation - until Homeland came around.

Homeland Partners

With the advent of Homeland in Voronezh, its predecessors had to make room.

"We have 140 members in the region. There are primary cells in six districts," Aleksandr Kalinin, chairman of the executive committee of the Unity Conceptual Party (Kontseptualnaya Partiya Yedineniye) regional division, reported proudly. "We publish a newspaper. It is called Mera za meru (Measure for Measure)."

As for Sergei Baburin's People's Will (Narodnaya Volya), it ran as part of the Homeland bloc in the recent Duma election. And although Baburin condemned Rogozin for his "attempts to monopolize the name of the bloc," both leaders and their parties are ideologically as close as can be. The People's Will Voronezh chapter has 420 members.

The RNU This reporter obtained permission to visit a safe house of the RNU Voronezh division - with the sole purpose of asking: "How do you relate to the Homeland party?" "If Rogozin is sincere," Krasnitsky, commander of the division, said, "we have plenty in common with his Homeland. But I am not authorized to answer such questions. Aleksandr Nikolayevich Tavolzhansky, commander of the RNU Chernozem Zone division, is going to arrive shortly. He is your man."

Tavolzhansky arrived half an hour later. Here is his monologue: "It is important to understand the difference between patriotism and nationalism. These are two different things. Can a normal, sensible person be a patriot of such a state? So we are not patriots. We are nationalists. Now what is Rogozin? He only mastered nationalist rhetoric, but he is unable to unite the nation. Having finished his lecture, the leader of the RNU regional chapter replied to a question from someone in the audience: "Is Russian National Unity ready to cooperate with Homeland?" Even the hypothetical possibility of this cooperation was categorically rejected: "We never form alliances with anybody. The experience of Hitler and Lenin shows that when a party unites with another party, it becomes weaker."

The Split

Their leaders may go out of their way to deny any connection between the RNU and Homeland, but here is a case that happened just before the latest parliamentary election and that is still fresh in the public mind. Aleksandr Dugin, chairman of the Eurasia Party, pointedly left the Homeland bloc, declaring that he did not want to have anything to do with xenophobes and anti-Semites from the former RNU.

Dugin was not mistaken about the former RNU. Thus, the bloc's federal list featured Vladimir Davidenko, chairman of the Spas (Salvation) movement. Spas is a reissue of the RNU, only under a new cover. The Ministry of Justice registered it in December 1998, a year before the following parliamentary election campaign. By changing facade, the RNU tried to legalize itself and worm its way into the State Duma.

True, soon after he left the bloc, Dugin got an opportunity to return into its fold: The most rabid nationalists were struck off the list, a move that outraged the Ya - Russky (I'm Russian) newspaper:

"On September 13, the People's Will party held a regular congress devoted to participation in the upcoming election. The congress decided that People's Will is to join the Homeland bloc, also approving a list of candidates from the bloc.

On September 14, the list was finalized at a joint conference of parties affiliated with the Homeland bloc while several days later all documents were presented to the Central Electorate Commission. What happened next was beyond belief. D. Rogozin took back from the Central Electoral Commission the lists of candidates that had been approved by the congress and the joint party conference, and effectively cleansed them - on an ideological principle. Several dozen activists of the Russian nationalist movement, including on the regional level were dropped from the list."

Addressing an extraordinary congress of Homeland, on July 6, Dmitri Rogozin said that his party membership would be formed exclusively on a case-by-case basis.

If so, the Homeland leader could revisit the original list of his allies. People feel hurt. An injustice should be redressed.


"It is wrong to say that we are a party of nationalists," Sergei Zhukov, chairman of the Homeland Voronezh regional division, said.

He proudly disclosed the membership of the Homeland regional division: As of early July, there were 602 members. Approximately 120 people have applied for membership. "We will not admit just anybody. Our selection is very strict. Incidentally, we've already expelled 17 people from the party - for poor performance."

The leader of the Homeland Voronezh branch singled out three main areas of action that his organization is going to focus on: the well-being of the people, the environment, and national security. The party's decisions will be translated into reality by people's deputies: A Homeland faction was recently created in the city duma (council), comprised of seven deputies.



See also:

YABLOKO Against Extremism

The Moscow News, No 28, 2004

[home page][map of the server][news of the server][forums][publications][Yabloko's Views]

Project Director: Vyacheslav Erohin e-mail: admin@yabloko.ru Director: Olga Radayeva, e-mail: english@yabloko.ru
Administrator: Vlad Smirnov, e-mail: vladislav.smirnov@yabloko.ru