| Russian nationalists continue to dream about grabbing
the regions of power.|
A Moscow News correspondent reports on their activities in the city of
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
no legal grounds for that while there is no way political grounds can
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.
With the advent of Homeland in Voronezh, its predecessors had to make
"We have 140 members in the region. There are primary cells in
districts," Aleksandr Kalinin, chairman of the executive committee
Unity Conceptual Party (Kontseptualnaya Partiya Yedineniye) regional
division, reported proudly. "We publish a newspaper. It is called
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
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
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
alliances with anybody. The experience of Hitler and Lenin shows that
party unites with another party, it becomes weaker."
Their leaders may go out of their way to deny any connection between
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
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
its fold: The most rabid nationalists were struck off the list, a move
outraged the Ya - Russky (I'm Russian) newspaper:
"On September 13, the People's Will party held a regular congress
participation in the upcoming election. The congress decided that People's
Will is to join the Homeland bloc, also approving a list of candidates
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
beyond belief. D. Rogozin took back from the Central Electoral Commission
the lists of candidates that had been approved by the congress and the
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
said that his party membership would be formed exclusively on a case-by-case
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,"
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.