Russian version

Extremism and xenophobia in electoral campaigns in 1999 and 2000

Vladimir Pribylovsky


After the voting of March 26, 2000, when Vladimir Putin won the Presidential Election on the first ballot, the attitude of different national-patriotic forces and groups towards V. Putin and his politics, have been developing as follows:

Vladimir Zhirinovsky's LDPR is the only party with wholly national-patriotic program that made it to the State Duma of Third Convocation via party lists. In reality, the LDPR is has long lost its original nationalist imperial-patriotic flavor (which is still formally present in the party's program documents). It is not even a party of rightist-radical populists anymore (even if it is thus presented in Zhirinovsky's own speeches and slogans). Actually, it is none else but a commercial structure (“LDPR-Limited”) selling its votes in the Duma. It should be noted that the LDPR became this way not now, but much earlier – under Eltsyn. Back then indeed, the LDPR (formally, an oppositionary organization) in reality became one of the parliamentary parties of the pro-government block.
While the LDPR brought forth its candidate (naturally, Zhirinovsky) for the Presidential Election, this candidate declared right away that in the event of second ballot, he would call his electors to vote for Putin. Furthermore, it seems that after the election there has been no single conflict when Zhirinovsky opposed the President or approved of the President's opponents.

2. Russian All People's Union (ROS)
In the State Duma of Third Convocation, Sergei Baburin's ROS is represented by five members and supporters of the party, who became deputies via majority single-mandate districts (including Victor Alksnis elected at the repeated election).
On the eve of the Presidential Election, the ROS officially cancelled the resolutions of the earlier party-assemblies about nominating their own leader for the presidential office and supported V. Putin already on the first ballot (it should be noted, by the way, that at the assembly the deputy-chairman of the party, V. Alksnis, spoke against this decision and, according to his own words, did not vote for Putin).
After the election, the ROS has proved itself as a party of such upholders of Putin's politics who, in addition to supporting these politics, also advocate for these politics to be implemented more actively and persistently.
An article in the ROS' party periodical, Vremya, about Putin's conflict with media-magnates voiced the following idea, “V. Putin is trying to make our anti-national, anti-state TV-channels submit to the national interests and to the cause of the State.” [1]
The party's Chair, Sergei Baburin, stated, “As soon as Putin came to Kremlin, the Russian All-People's Union changed its tactics in relation to the executive power of Russia. We are ready to acknowledge and resolutely support all the positive undertakings of the contemporary Putin's Kremlin. (…) We intend to help Putin in reviving Russia. Still it shall difficult for us to understand the President if, having already looked in the eyes of the wives and mothers of our perished sailors, he will nevertheless tolerate the cannibals who have been devouring Russia during the past several years. (…) Where are they, those emergency measures corresponding to the reality of today? Putin's 100 days, which turned into 100 days of our patient waiting and just as weary a wait of the President, are not only a protracted pause but a black hole in whose depth the remnants of Russia's spiritual resources and vital energy are disappearing with out a trace. [2]
About the incident with the submarine and objections to Putin's comportment in this respect, Baburin said the following: “I am only disconcerted by the attempts to conceal the incident. (…) I would not reproach the President about not cutting his vacation short. After all, Putin could not possibly save “Kursk” with his own hands.” [3]
Nikolai Pavlov, the second or at least third most known person in the ROS (in the same row with V. Alksnis) and actual leader of the radical ethno-nationalist trend within the party, said, “The hounding of Putin initiated by the so called “fighters for the freedom of speech” upon the order of their masters, has demonstrated that in Russia the President has only one ally and back-up – a simple Russian man who wants the best for his Fatherland. And, thank God, it seems that the President is beginning to understand it too. He must only make one more step now – address the Russian people directly.” [4]

3. Congress of Russian Communities (KRO)
As a result of the Parliamentary Election of December 19, 1999, Dmitry Rogozin's Congress of Russian Communities (KRO) has only one mandate in the State Duma won via a single-mandate district.
Rogozin landed the chairmanship of the State Duma Committee on International Contacts only thanks to a relevant unofficial decision of the President's Administration implemented with the assistance of the presidential Duma fractions “Edinstvo” (“Unity”) and “People's Deputy” (it should be noted that Rogozin himself joined the latter).
From then on, the KRO has become one of Putin's groups of support.

4. An Organ of “Spiritual Opposition” –Newspaper Zavtra
The most significant and popular periodical with the widest political amplitude in the national-patriotic specter, Zavtra (Tomorrow) newspaper (a real model of anti-liberal “red/white pluralism”) supported the candidacy of Gennady Zyuganov, Chair of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF). Nevertheless, on August 10, 2000, President Putin included Sergei Prokhanov, editor-in-chief of Zavtra (as well as the editor-in-chief of the CPRf's newspaper Sovetskaya Rossia (Soviet Russia)) into the list of invitees to the meeting of the President with the heads of selected mass media bodies. Nothing significant took place at this meeting (with the exception of the fact that Putin got there an hour and a half late, while he tends to be 15 minutes late as a rule). Still, even before this meeting, practically right after the election, Zavtra's editor-in-chief Prokhanov-the-Eurasian and especially his first deputy Vladimir Bondarenko-the-Monarchist acknowledged Putin as one of their own.
Prokhanov: “Eltsyn has passed on to Putin a rusty skeleton instead of Russia. (…) To keep our Federation, which is as liquid as thin soup, from disintegration… (…) To replenish the Treasury… (…) Not to shatter under the NATO's pressure… (…) To keep out people from extinguishing, to have such values as State and Fatherland re-instilled in the public consciousness, all this shall be possible if under Gref's program, flimsy like toilet paper, a rigid mobilization project of the Security Council and Head-Quarters is concealed. All that is present in Putin's actions. All that inspires people to support the President, no matter to which political party they belong or what credit cards they hold. If Putin let Russian people rule over their Fatherland again, if he fills the government, embassies, intelligence services, TV-channels, and banks with patriotic Russians, then Russia's flourishing shall be inevitable.” [5]
Bondarenko: “It is especially unfortunate that I can see a split in the red/white opposition today, when Eltsyn's regime in its most rabid, radical-liberal, mafia-like corrupted form is finally becoming part of the past. Eltsyn's epoch of collapse is about to end. No one know what is going to happen next, but it is evident, at last, that the semantics of Putin's reforms is sovereign.” (…) “Certainly, Putin's kind of rigid sovereign rule attracted many of those who from 1991 to 1999 staunchly and in some cases with even more persistence than the communists fought against the catastrophe brought on by Eltsyn. They are not even scared by Boris Berezovsky's involvement with the state power. (…) Today's situation is unique. If our hopes are not to be fooled and if Russia, reborn in a completely different form, starts to revive Russian shattered industry, science, culture, then, naturally, Russian patriots shall support these steps. Certainly enough, the people of the old times with their inflexible red mentality, who can see Russia as Marxist only, shall indignantly reject any forms of co-existence with that new Russia, locking themselves up in their closed ideological niche.” [6]

5. Nationalist-Orthodox Fundamentalists
(Newspaper Russky Vestnik (Russian Herald), Union of Orthodox Brotherhoods, Union “Christian Revival”)
It has been rumored that Vladimir Putin's confessor is Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov), Vicar of Stavropigalny Monastery, member of the editor's board of the magazine Russky Dom (Russian Home), zealous national-patriot and Russian Orthodox fundamentalist. [7] It cannot be said with any degree of certitude if those rumors are true.
Sergei Cherepov, correspondent of Profil magazine interviewed Tikhon Shevkunov. Among the issues he touched upon there were the following:
“President's confessor is also a guardian of many state secrets.” [8]
Tikhon Shevkunov did not comment (neither denied nor confirmed) the affirmation that his was Putin's “confessor,” which Cherepov included in the question on purpose.
“I know him as a Russian Orthodox who does not even think about hiding his convictions,” said Archimandrite Tikhon about the President, “Putin is just very independent and he keeps steadily asserting that quality of his, which makes some people happy and others panicky.” God willing, the President shall be governed only by God, his conscience, his love for Russia and common sense. Our ancestors, who did not destroy but built Russia, used to define that combination if qualities as state wisdom.” [9]
The outlook of the relentless nationalist-Orthodox community is voiced by the newspaper Russky Vestnik (Russian Messenger). The organized core of nationalist-oriented Russian Orthodox fundamentalists is represented by the Union of Orthodox Communities (SPBr).
On August 22, 2000, in Moscow, the SPBr's annual conference took place, and a new Chairman was elected to replace the priest Georgy Kopaev, who had been the organization's Acting Chairman for a long period of time. The new Chair is Leonid Sinonovich, militant castigator of “ritual murders” and Chair of monarchical (Council-oriented) Brotherhood of Orthodox Bearers of Icons.
The SPBr's Conference issued an Appeal to the President, Vladimir Putin, where they expressed:
“…acknowledgement and appreciation… of the work done in order to reinforce the State and the Army… “Media Most” Bank and other maligners are the nemeses of the Russian State, People and Church. For over more than 10 years, they have been destroying out Fatherland and army, and today they pretend to be patriots and slander you…”
“Those, who are trying to use the disaster of the submarine “Kursk” for their own benefit… cannot shake our trust in you We are waiting for you to take new resolute steps targeting further reinforcement of Russian State.” [10]
The Union “Christian Revival” (SKhV), led by Vladimir Osipov, who was expulsed from the SPBr for his political radicalism, keeps supporting Putin. In particular, when human rights activists demanded that the head of one of the confessions, Patriarch Alexii II, not participate in the President's inauguration, Vladimir Osipov made a reprimand, alluding to the fact that “Vladimir Putin is also a Russian Orthodox.” [11]
As concerns the Russky Vestnik, during the election campaign for Presidency this newspaper would not give any specific recommendation about the best way to vote but still trended towards Putin (a number of resolutions supporting Putin's candidacy were published on behalf of 2-3 small nationalist and Cossack organizations, while not a single resolution was published in support of Gennady Zyuganov despite the fact that Vladimir Klykov, the newspaper's founder, was among Zyuganov's associates).
After Putin's election, the Russky Vestnik has been supporting the President practically in all issues.
The following statement, for example, was made in regards of the Federation reform: “…Vladimir Putin's legislative initiatives have exposed all those who fear the reinforcement of the Russian State. Hence, Putin has only two solutions now. He can either break his opponents' resistance or lose the trust of his people.” [12]
Naturally, in the conflict between the President's Administration and NTV (Independent TV Channel), Russky Vestnik took Putin's side and denounced Igor Malashenko, who went to the USA “in order to complain to the American Senators about Putin and Russian authorities.” [13]
Russky Vestnik also continued supporting the Chechen war: “the real success of the anti-terrorist operation showed to the West that before the Presidential Election (at least) the Acting President, V.V. Putin, would not yield to the pressure of the so called world community urging him to suspend hostilities… We have to understand with absolute clarity that the war in Chechnya is only one of the many elements of a campaign of the evil of the world against the Orthodox-Slavic civilization. Today, on the other hand, it is the key element indeed.” [14]

6. Cossack Organizations
The text cited above (about the “a campaign of the evil of the world against the Orthodox-Slavic civilization”) belongs with Vladimir Naumov, consistent author of the Russky Vestnik who holds the office of a “Friend” (i.e. Deputy) of the Ataman of the All-Russian Union Cossack Union (SK), Alexander Martynov.
SK is one of the largest associations of all those claiming that their members are “Cossacks.” On August 22-23, the leadership and the Board of Atamans of the Cossack Union issued an Address to President Putin on their absolute support for his activities “targeting the reinforcement of the Russian State, rebuilding of Russian Defense Forces and coercion of the “fifth pillar” of traitors who have been destroying Russia and murdering Russian people for the second decade in the row.”
The Address was signed by the Atamans of the SK regional member-organizations – Sergei Tolmachev, Ataman of the Sibiria Cossack Troops, Nickolai Merinov, Ataman of the Irkutsk Cossack Troops, Victor Khrabrykh, Ataman of the Terskoye Cossack Troops, Vladimir Sharkov, Ataman of the Stavropolskoye Cossack Troops, Gennady Chernokalov, Ataman of the Cherkassky County of the All-Powerful Troops of the Don, Victor Matafonov, Ataman of the Zabaikalye Cossack Troops, and Yuri Gorbanev, Ataman of the Ussuriisky Cossack Troops. [15]
At the turn of August 2000, a group of leaders of other Cossack (non-members of the Cossack Union) or near-Cossack organizations (such as the All-Russian Council Movement, Great Cossack Troops of Sibiria, All-Powerful Troops of the Don, Union of Cossack Troops of Russia and Abroad, Union of Cossack Atamans of Russia, All-Troops Union, Kuban Cossack Association, Great Brotherhood of Cossack Troops, Union of Cossack Units, and others) signed a collective appeal to the President condemning “the calamitous policy of reforms targeting the destruction of the Russian Armed Forces” and asking to keep the Strategic Missile Troops from disbandment, “to get the President's entourage under rigid control, and “to carry out an even more energetic and stubborn fight against the defalcators of the national wealth.” [16]

7. Marginals-1 (for Putin)
On the eve of the Presidential Election, Alexander Ivanov-Sukharevsky's pro-fascist People's National Party (NNP) assessed Putin rather negatively. Still, only a couple of month later, the NNP's main periodical Ya – Russky (I Am Russian) changed its position quite drastically:
“I, as a member of the party that professes a new ideology – that of Russism – resolutely respond that Putin, as a politician, represent a hyper-link between Marxism and Russism.”
“… Putin runs the external affairs rather skillfully. However, he is absolutely helpless in home politics.”
“… Putin's positive significance as a politician is that, despite everything, he continues the Caucasus war, which shall sooner or later make everyone reconsider the basis of the national politics of the Russian Federation.”
“… Putin is an indispensable and extremely important politician for the Russian people. The time-frame of his historical stay on the summit of power can be determined only by the accuracy of his ideology. Still, we can see that his ideology reflects the past stage of history.” [17]
In the same issue of the paper with this article signed by the “Party Ideologist” (one of the pen-names of the NNP Chair, Ivanov-Sukharevsky) an interview with a national-patriotic poetess, Nina Kartashova, was featured. When discussing “white” General Krasnov and his whole-hearted support for Hitler, Nina Kartashova stated the following:
“General Krasnov was a great patriot of Russia. By “Hitler,” he did not mean Adolf Hitler the man but a Chief, a Leader of the Nation. Why is it that today the hopes of multitudes of people rest with Putin? It is because the people are aching for a Leader. And so, I shall repeat the words of General Krasnov, “We need a Russian Orthodox Hitler!” I even wrote a poem about it.” [18]
Natsionalnaya Gazeta (National Gazette) of Alexander Savostianov (League of Defense of the National Wealth) sounded rather vague on the eve of the Presidential Election. After the election, when Alexander Savostianov came a across an article in the newspaper Russkaya Mysl (Russian Thought) where it was suggested that he and the League “chose to vote against all candidates,” [19] he personally a wrote an furious letter to the Paris Editing Board of the Russkaya Mysl. In his letter, he called that suggestion the author's “speculations.” Still he did not consider it necessary, however, to clarify whom he had actually supported. His position became more clear later, when Natsionalnaya Gazeta published a program article “On the Attitude toward Putin.”
In Putin's politics, A. Sevastyanov identified three “positive” aspects and two “negative” aspects and concluded:
“How, then, should a Russian national-patriot feel about Putin? Dispassionately and depending on the situation: we shall support some actions of Putin, denounce other kinds of actions, and close our eyes on yet other actions of his.” [20]
In the next issue of the paper, A. Sevastyanov again turned to the question “Putin and national-patriots:”
“When the Presidential power tries to put Gusinsky to prison and take his misbegotten capital away from him, the absolute majority of Russians rejoices in the fact of restoration of the downtrodden justice. And there is also a fear – what if it does not work out? After all, the client is backed up not only the Russian Jewish Congress but also by the World-Wide Jewish Congress.”
“…Natsionalnaya Gazeta and the League of Defense of the National Wealth want that all who attempt to render pressure over the organs of investigation and procuracy so as to save the oligarch from heat be called to account.”
“…The reform of the Soviet of Federation is the right decision of “Putin and Co.” Natsionalnaya Gazeta and the League of Defense of the National Wealth has been long calling for dissolution of the Upper Chamber per se and its replacement with advisory Board of the Governors, Heads of Autonomies and President's Representatives…”
“Natsionalnaya Gazeta and the League of Defense of the National Wealth call for the over-all abolishment of those regions where the titular nation does not constitute a lasting majority.”
“…no matter how much sympathy Russians feel for the war led by Putin, we cannot nurture any hopes for the formation of a regime that we could evaluate as ideal.”
“…in Russia today, there is neither a party nor a leader that Russians could follow. (And Putin and the “Unity” (“Edinstvo”) are no exception.)” [21]

8. Marginals-2 (against Putin)
In March 2000, Eduard Limonov's National Bolshevik Party (NBP) called for total boycott of the Presidential Election.
After the election was over, Limonov's party-member have not betrayed their convictions:
“Were Putin a real man, he'd send all those Chechen refugees from Ingushetia to build a rail-road along the coastline of the Arctic Ocean.”
“…For us, he is worse than Eltsyn because under him the national Bolshevik Party has to face repression.” [22]
“…Our patriots of the State should not rest their hopes with Putin. This pallid puppet is tied to his Western masters by very strong bonds: if he but tries to move freely, he'll end up in some comfortable Liechtenstein. The cautious burgers have already collected all the requisite compromising materials.” [23]
“…With the coming of Putin, who is carrying out in practice (not to mention his nationalist demagogy) some of the postulates of the nationalist ideology, the very existence of those puny nationalist assemblies (the CPRF and others are meant herein – comment of Vladimir Pribylovsky) became unnecessary”. [24]
The newspapers of the radical St.-Petersburg anti-semites of Evgeny Schekochikhin's “Our Fatherland” (Black Hundred Orthodox orientation; voted “against all” in the frame of the Presidential Election) and those of Roman Perin's “For Russian Cause” (neo-pagans, advocated for the election's boycott) have not given up their extremely negative attitude toward Putin either.
“Our Fatherland's” periodical published a selection of pictures of the after-election Cabinet of Ministers under the heading “Under Lenin or Under Putin – What Does It Matter? Russia is in the Hands of Jews.” [25]
And also:
“The parody of an election – this operetta show aimed at duping the population of Russia that became “the electorate,” in other words, automations programmed by electronic and printed mass media has ended with the success of the ruling regime. …Putin, appointed “hereditably” by the Jewish-Masonic secret world government, shed the prefix “Acting” and became an uncontrollable master of the country, in accordance with Eltsyn's Constitution.” [26]
“We must give their dues to the puppetters who are pulling Putin's strings: with very few exceptions, the words he speaks about Russia are quite appropriate…”
“…Putin does not move a finger in order to stop this total discrimination against the army organized in the mass media: a dirty scandal is being created around a Russian army officer, Budanov, who killed a Chechen sniper-woman.” [27]
Just like “Our Fatherland,” “For Russian Cause” also believe that Putin was elected because “the Mason-Zionist world government,” using the American technology, zombified Russian electorate by means of “clusters of electrons.” [28]
Accordingly, “For Russian Cause” call Putin an “Impostor” and have certain douts about the state of his mental health:
“The evidence contained in the words of the Imposter himself makes it clear that he is a very vile man and a double-dealer… It is possible that Putin is mentally ill…” [29]

Same as the liberals, the national-patriots still have not found an answer (or at least, have not found a final answer) to the sacramental question “Who is Mister Putin?”
Nevertheless, in this sector of the Russian political spectrum we can observe a remarkable consensus and all in all (with the exception of only a few extremely radical groups) this consensus is in favor of Putin.
[1] Petr Boichenko, "Carried by the Cold Wind of History," Vremya" (#25 (282), August 2000).
[2] Sergei Babrin, "The Crew of the Submarine "Kursk" Was Not Saved. We Must Manage to Save the Country." Vremya" (#26-27 (284), September 2000).
[3] Kommersant/VLAST (#33 (384), August 22, 2000).
[4] Nikolai Pavlov, "The Time is Ripe for Russian Mobilization. There Are No Other Ways to Achieve Russia's Revival." Vremya" (#26-27 (284), September 2000).
[5] Alexander Prokhanov, "Putin, Give the Milk to the Child!" Zavtra (#32 (349), August 2000).
[6] Vladimir Bondarenko, "A Jump from the Boat of Modern Times," Zavtra (#25 (342), July 2000).
[7] Moskovskiye Novosti (September 5-11, 2000); Interview with Archimandrite Tikhon, Profil (September 18, 2000).
[8] Profil, ibid.
[9] Ibid.
[10] Russky Vestnik (#33-34, August 2000).
[11] Vladimir Osipov, "Pluralists are attacking Russian Orthodox Faith," Russian Vestnik (#17-18, May 2000).
[12] "Russian Way. Federalism Is Unacceptable for Russia." Russky Vestnik (#21-22, June 2000).
[13] "Russian Way. To the Overseas Masters," Russky Vestnik (#21-22, June 2000).
[14] V. Naumov, "Hail, Russian Army!" Russky Vestnik (#11-12, March 2000).
[15] Russky Vestnik (#33-34, August 2000).
[16] Ibid.
[17] Party Ideologist (Alexander Ivanov Sukharevsky), "Don't Play Footsie with God (The Foundation of Contemporary Thinking)," Ya – Russky (#48, July 2000).
[18] Igor Panin, Interview with Nina Kartashova, "We need a Russian Orthodox Hitler!" (N.P. Krasnov), Ya – Russky (#48, July 2000).
[19] Vladimir Pribylovsky, "National-Patriots and the New President," Russkaya Mysl (#4317).
[20] Alexander Sevastyanov, "On the Attitude toward Putin," Natsionalnaya Gazeta (#4 (31), July 2000).
[21] Alexander Sevastyanov, "The Fronts of Civil War," Natsionalnaya Gazeta (#5 (32), July 2000).
[22] E.L. (Eduard Liminov), "Manly Putin and the NBP," Limonka (#149, August 2000).
[23] "The President of Russia was a Drug-Dealer?" Limonka (#150, August 2000).
[24] Executive Committee of the NBP, "We Declare that Henceforth the NBP Takes on the Role of the Leader of the Opposition," Statement of the National Bolshevik Party, Limonka (#150, August 2000).
[25] (Our Fatherland) Nashe Otechestvo (#129, June 2000).
[26] Evgeny Schekochikhin, "The Parody of an Election Has Taken Place," Nashe Otechestvo (#122, March 2000).
[27] Evgeny Schekochikhin, "Putin: Words, Actions, Results – Everything in Full Accordance with the Protocol," Nashe Otechestvo (#125, May 2000).
[28] Evgeny Shibaev, "How They Make Presidents," (For Russian Cause) Za Russkoe Delo (#6 (77), 2000).
[29] Andrei Dubrov, "Putin and Ridiger – old friends from the KGB," Za Russkoe Delo (#6 (77), 2000).
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