Russian version

Extremism and xenophobia in electoral campaigns in 1999 and 2000

Alexander Verkhovsky


This paper was presented it at the Institute of Governmental Affairs at the University of California, Davis, on February 23, 2000

Ten years ago, the destruction of the totalitarian Soviet society made practically everyone fear that in a country endowed with almost no experience of democracy, yet another totalitarian regime would supersede the old one. But which regime, and in what form? The national conflicts that accompanied the disintegration of the Soviet Union suggested a feasible answer right away, namely, a national dictatorship of the fascist sort, comprising both nationalistic ideology and totalitarian social habits. However, contemporary Russia is nothing like that, and no such dictatorship is anticipated in any observable future. The “Weimar-Russia” scenario, developed in such great detail by the political science expert, Alexander Yanov, has not materialized.

Today, I shall not try to give a substantial explanation of why exactly the Weimar scenario did not materialize. It shouldn’t be pointed out, that the trends of Soviet conservatism, committed Communism, extreme and moderate Russian ethnic nationalism, taken together, have not been supported even by 50% of the population and are steadfastly rejected by the dominant majority of the political elite (including business elite, power structures and the mass-media).
The Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), led by Gennady Zyuganov, enjoys massive support of the electorate. Numerous publicists and other researchers (such as the above-mentioned Alexander Yanov) perceive the Communist Party and Zyuganov himself as “fascists” and draw analogies with Adolph Hitler and his party. Such analogies have sufficient grounds indeed. Still, one cannot help but notice some tremendous differences between Hitler and Zyuganov (and surely, between their parties). Zyuganov does use certain rhetorical locutions, which make that comparison possible, but his political line testifies to his being a rather moderate politician, at least when evaluated by Russian standards. He practically opted out of the power struggle against Eltsin in 1993. Year after year, his party has been giving its votes in favor of the budget. He consistently dissociates himself from all kinds of extremists. Even the impeachment attempt, undertaken by the Communists last year, looked somewhat unnatural. Zyuganov’s Communist Party is partly nationalist – there is no doubt about it. Still, it is a moderate party and moderate nationalism cannot be regarded as fascism.

There are numerous definitions of fascism. At any rate, we shall not label just any nationalist movement as fascist. For example, some nationalists may come up with bloodthirsty scenarios of their prospective rule yet do not possess the revolutionary spirit inherent in fascism.
The very multiplicity of definitions of fascism, as well as the extreme emotional tone of the word hinder clear usage. Disagreements on definition have even led to court trials. Hence, when referring to the organizations which can be considered fascist, we prefer to use other terms – such as “extremists” and “radical national-patriots”.
About five years ago[1], my colleagues and I at Panorama formulated several hallmarks of extremism. Today I would list them as follows:
  • propaganda or practice of political violence;
  • propaganda or practice of violence on national, racial or religious grounds;
  • formation of combat units;
  • propaganda or attempts at forceful assumption of power;
  • propaganda of conscious, brutal and systematic violation of human rights (including discrimination on racial or religious grounds).

    In the definitions above, “propaganda” signifies only direct and explicit calls. Such rigid restrictions are indispensable due to the fact that the concept of extremist organizations or groups implies (in perspective for now) their special legal status and purposeful policy of the state aiming at curbing the activities of that kind of organizations and their members.
    The term “radical national-patriots” is not a legal term. At the same time, it allows us to exclude left radicals from our field of consideration (it should be noted that in our country, left radical extremism is quite developed and in a number of aspects is as solidly established as radical-nationalist extremism). Since in American political jargon the word “radical” is mostly used in reference to the “leftists”, in order to avoid unnecessary confusion, I shall hereinafter employ the word “extreme”.

    “National-patriot” is a term that nationalists often use to refer to themselves [2]. I use it in order to pin-point a political movement and not individual bearers of nationalist ideas, who by all means can be accurately referred to as “nationalists”. As for the term “national-patriots”, it has a specific meaning. The hallmarks that unite the organizations of national-patriotic orientation are as follows:
  • National-patriots always emphasize the theme of “the Russian people”, what in Russian is “russkii narod”. That “Russian people” may comprise either ethnic Russians only, or Russians, Ukrainians and Byelorussians, or representatives of all the indigenous populations of Russia or even all the indigenous populations of the Soviet Union. Accordingly, the ideal frontiers of the Russian state are seen differently by different groups. The definition of “Russian” represents an important classification criterion for the national-patriots, but their one common feature is reasoning in terms of nations, as opposed to reasoning in terms of individual human being or even states.
  • Accordingly, the “Russian state” and “Russian people” are confronted with some external forces of evil. At the very least, these forces are identified with the West and, primarily, with the USA. The list of antagonistic countries and civilizations can be expanded, for example, it can include the Islamic world.
  • Anti-Semitism, in principle, is not a requisite feature of each and every national-patriot, but practically all of them are Anti-Semites nevertheless. The idea of a “Jewish-Masonic” conspiracy in its various versions pervades nationalist thinking. It is also closely correlated with anti-Western attitudes. In the extreme, Jews are perceived as the age-old enemies of the Russian people and Russian Orthodox faith who direct all the other enemies, such as the United States, the Pope, Chechnya, etc. Not all the national-patriots, though, are ready to express such absurd views in their full scope, so the model above is frequently corrected to some degree.
  • The animosity towards the “non-Russians” cannot be confined to Jews only. In the 1990-ies, the peoples of the Caucasus (all of them in general because in Russia they are hardly distinguished from one another) play the role of primary ethnic enemy. In last few years, the Chechens became internal enemy number one. Anti-Caucasus attitudes are mandatory for the national-patriots, but other ethnic enemies are also possible, for example, the Chinese, the Vietnamese, the Poles, and so on. Those national-patriots who are not ready to consider the Ukrainians part of the “Russian people”, also see them as fiends.
  • The fight against such numerous enemies implies a high degree of militarization of the society, very important role of the special services and a readiness for war. In extreme case, it is proposed to integrate a number of adjoining territories by military means.
  • National-patriots are principled adversaries of liberalism. Many of them are avid supporters of dictatorship and rigid political repression. As for restrictions on the freedom of expression and political democracy, they are being promoted by practically all the national-patriots.
  • The liberal economic model, that Russia has come close to adopting to a significant degree, is opposed by proposals for drastic reinforcement of the state regulation and social programs. Still and all, national-patriots have little interest in economics, and some organizations don’t even have any suggestions to make in that domain. In the field of economics, they are mostly concerned with the topic of Jewish and generally non-Russian capital.
  • National-patriots accuse the contemporary society of total lack of spirituality. Thus, the concept of spirituality and, accordingly, the concept of religion are very important for them. In most of the cases, the religion in question is Russian Orthodoxy. More rarely it is paganism. But there also exist national-patriotic organizations with no religious preoccupation whatsoever. In any case, nationalism always remains the most important value, which results, in particular, in some absolutely wild ideas about Russian (Slavic) history and Russian Orthodox faith.

    It is rather noticeable that all of these hallmarks can be to some extent applied to the perfectly respectable organizations that call themselves “centrist”. This phenomenon became especially marked last year after NATO had started bombing Yugoslavia. Generally speaking, the opposition with the West over Yugoslavia has changed Russian ideological landscape quite drastically. Today, the political center can be actually considered national-patriotic to a degree in the sense of the hallmarks listed above. This statement is particularly true in regards to Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov and his supporters.
    The only exception – quite an important one nevertheless – is that respectable politicians never dare to come forth with any manifestations of Anti-Semitism and do their best to restrain their own xenophobic feelings about other ethnic groups as well. Sometimes, they do not exactly succeed in this [3], but in “good society” ethnic nationalism is basically denounced a priori and therefore cannot be upheld in the frame of “big politics”. That restriction worked even during the period of propagandist preparation for the present Chechen campaign.
    Here, on the other hand, I am interested not in all the political groups professing national-patriot ideas, but in the extreme national-patriots only. Those can be identified by their open, systematic and very aggressive advocacy of the ideas mentioned above. National-patriotism of a moderate kind is characteristic of Luzhkov’s “Otechestvo” (“Motherland”), Zyuganov’s Communist Party, Sergei Baburin’s Russian All People’s Union and a number of other organizations whose programs’ texts and ways of expressing ideas can be by no means ranked with the extreme groups. It does not make any sense to introduce a more detailed distinction between the “extreme” and the “moderate” ones due to the fact that they are not always organizationally divided, and in the rest of the presentation it shall be made clear whom exactly and why we perceive as “extreme”.

    My task is not to list all the existing national-patriotic groups, which would be difficult to do anyway due to the lack of information about the actual functionality of a number of them. Moreover, within the framework of the report it is impossible to elaborate upon all the ideological currents in that field. It is sufficient to restrict ourselves to the ideological and political classification according to several criteria. We are presently able to assess the national-patriotic organizations’ status for the end of 1999 [4].

    Political Relevancy
    The largest organizations are as follows: Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) of Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Russian National Unity (RNU) of Alexander Barkashov, Movement in Support of the Army (DPA) of Victor Ilyukhin and Albert Makashov, National-Bolshevik Party (NBP) of Eduard Limonov, Cossack Troops – Donskoe, Vsekubanskoe, Central and so on. In all these cases, the actual number can be assessed only approximately. The number of members in the Cossack Troops and in Zhirinovsky’s Liberal Democratic Party does not even matter, because in both of them only limited groups of activists are heralds of extremist ideas, and their electoral potential is not defined by the number.
    Zhirinovsky’s party had its electoral triumph only once – at the essentially emergency election of 1993. Since then, Zhirinovsky has been receiving less and less support. That decline is gradual but steadfast. On the other hand, even the 6% of votes that were given in his favor in the frame of the last Parliamentary election is not that little at all for a politician with such extreme views.
    Until very recently, the Movement in Support of the Army had been regarded more as the extreme wing of the Communist Party than as an independent national-patriotic organization. Then, the fabulous popularity in the national-patriotic circles that General Makashov gained with his Anti-Semitic statements created a new situation for the Movement. Despite the fact that the negotiations of last fall about prospective creating a national-patriot Block with Makashov at its head did not succeed in bringing about actual formation of such united block, the very event that the Movement in Support of the Army ran in the Parliamentary election race on its own testifies to its independent power status. Accordingly, the Movement’s orientation is more national-patriotic than communist (regardless of the fact that Makashov and Ilyukhin still remaining members of the Communist Party).
    The National-Bolshevik Party’s electoral potential is next to nil. On the other hand, it has functional groups in more than 50% of the Russian regions, and its newspaper “Limonka” (slang word for a small grenade that also matches the last name of the Party Leader) is one of the most popular periodicals in the national-patriotic circles.
    Including the Cossack Troops in these ranks can raise some doubts. It is true that their declarations are mostly rather moderate. Still and all, in the South of Russia the Cossacks became so notorious for manifestations of violence on national and ethnic grounds – violence which, we must point-out, wasn’t hushed up by their own leadership – that they simply cannot be called moderate under any circumstances. Judging by their membership and the influence they have in their respective regions, the Cossack Troops definitely deserve to be identified as a “large” organizations.
    In the rest of the cases, numerical force itself does not play any significant role. The two important criteria are the size of the core-group within an organization and the leaders’ ability to organize publicly meaningful events. Using these criteria, we can presently class the following organizations as medium-sized:
  • People’s Defense led by Sergei Schekatikhin (thanks to the newspaper “Our Motherland”);
  • National People’s Party (NPP) led by Alexander Ivanov-Sukharevsky;
  • National Republican Party of Russia (NRPR) led by Yuri Belyaev;
  • Motherland led by Nikolai Kondratenko (Krasnodar communist-patriotic coalition that can be regarded as extreme primarily because of Governor Kondratenko himself);
  • National-Patriotic Front (NPF) “Pamyat’” (“Remembrance”) led by Dmitry Vasilyev (thanks to the priory acquired prominence of the name and of the leader himself);
  • Russian Nationalist Socialist Party (RNSP) led by Konstantin Kasimovsky (thanks to their strong ties with the skinheads);
  • Russian Party led by Vladimir Miloserdov (thanks to the CPRF’s patronage);
  • Russian All-National Union (RONS) led by Igor Artyomov;
  • Russian National Liberation Movement (NROD) led by Oleg Gusev and Roman Perin (thanks to their newspaper “For the Russian Cause”)
  • Russian People’s Union led by Stanislav Terentyev and Igor Kuznetsov (thanks to Volgograd newspaper “Kolokol” (“The Bell”));
  • Union “Christian Revival” (SKhV) led by Vladimir Osipov;
  • Union of Wends led by Victor Bezverkhy;
  • Movement “Spas” (“Christ the Savior”) led by Vladimir Davidenko (thanks to their scandalous participation in the election 1999);
  • The Black Hundred led by Alexander Shtilmark;
  • Newspaper “Tomorrow” led by Alexander Prokhanov.

    It does not make any sense to list smaller organizations and groups. The most important ones shall be in any case mentioned bellow.

    Nationalists – of which Nation?
    As was said above, the concept “Russian people” can have very different interpretations in the national-patriotic milieu. We shall not go deep into analysis of all the discords that exist in the national-patriotic environment over that issue. As for the specifics of the Russian people’s self-identification, they are vividly described in Prof. Rancour-Laferriere’s book “Imagining Russia” [5]. Today, it is sufficient for us to understand that the most significant distinction is the one between those nationalists that perceive “the Russian people” in the ethnic sense primarily and those that perceive it in the traditional Western interpretation of the word “nation” at the same time meaning not just a “nation” but an especially privileged metropolitan nation within the empire.
    Certainly, the distinction described above does not exist in its pure form. Nevertheless, two tendencies corresponding to that distinction should be emphasized in the context of national-patriotic ideology: the ethno-nationalist one and the pro-empire (or imperial) one.
    Some vivid representatives of the empire-consciousness are as follows:
  • Zhirinovsky’s Party: despite all Zhirinovsky’s insinuations against this or that ethnic group, his speeches and party documents essentially aim at restoring and reinforcing the empire. As for the national question itself, Zhirinovsky would prefer to declare it non-existent. If he is a nationalist at all, he is a “Soviet people nationalist”, dreaming about the empire’s revival.
  • National-Bolsheviks of both groups – i.e. Eduard Limonov’s group (Naitonal-Bolshevik Party itself) and the barely formed movement of supporters of the ideologist Alexander Dugin, who broke his relationships with Limonov. Everything said above about Zhirinovsky applies to them even to a greater extent – Dugin and Limonov are not ethno-nationalists at all.
  • “Tomorrow” newspaper: its editor, Alexander Prokhanov is pure imperialist. For him, his own private version of neo-Eurasionism is more important than ethno-nationalism.
  • Union of Officers and Derzhavnaya (Power) Party led by Stanislav Terekhov. Terekhov’s near-communist convictions prevent him from being an ethno-nationalist.
  • “Golden Lion”, association of publicists (Sergei Gorodnikov, Andrei Savelyev and others) – they support the ideas of capitalistic “progressive” nationalism empire style.
  • “Revival” led by Valery Skurlatov – being an old “fighter against Zionism”, he still adheres to pro-empire convictions.

    On the opposite pole, we have the groups professing the most aggressive forms of ethno-naitonalism. The most conspicuous of them are:
  • Russian National Unity;
  • People’s Defense;
  • National People’s Party;
  • National Republican Party of Russia (the one led by Yuri Belyaev as opposed to the rather disintegrated cognominal party of Nikolai Lysenko);
  • Russian National Socialist Party;
  • Russian National Liberation Movement;
  • Union of Wends led by Victor Bezverkhy;
  • Russian People’s Union;
  • The Black Hundred;
  • Church of Nav' led by Ilya Lazarenko;
  • Russian Patriotic People’s Movement led by Alexander Fedorov;
  • a number of skinhead groups (such as Moscow Skin-Legion, Blood and Honor, Russian Aim, Russian Fist, etc.)

    It is fascinating that the distinction in the actual type of nationalism only influences to a very small extent the organizations’ foreign political programs, including the issue of Russia’s frontiers. The idea of restoring the frontiers of the USSR (or, in another version, restoring Russian frontiers of the year 1913) has less and less popularity. The experience of the Chechen wars has convinced almost everybody that Russia is not strong enough to succeed in conquering other nations, and all attempts at such conquests degenerate into losses, casualties and shame. Sometimes, even the idea of leaving the North Caucasus national autonomies is put forth. Accordingly, no territorial claims are being voiced in regards of the land outside the territory of the fallen empire.
    The dominant concept is to integrate the territories with a predominantly Slavic population, that is – Belarus Republic, Ukraine (not so unanimously any longer), the frontier regions of Kazakhstan, north-east of Estonia, etc. At the same time, only ultra-extremists of Limonov’s kind dare discuss forceful seizure of territories. Others restrict themselves to talking about conducting referendums.
    The nationalists do not doubt the outcome of such referendums, but it is important to point out that now even extremist groups prefer to advocate achievement of goals by democratic means whenever democratic solutions seem feasible.

    The Most Extremist Groups
    On the foundation of the above-mentioned criteria for defining political extremism, it is possible to identify specific national-patriotic organizations that fulfill those criteria best.
    It must be taken into consideration that the wave of political violence of 1992-1993 is already long behind us. In Russian politics time flies by very swiftly, and therefore, participation in such distant events cannot be regarded as characteristic of the organizations’ present status. In light of that reservation, we shall list the organizations that practice violence on political, racial, national (in the sense of ethnic) and religious grounds:
  • Cossack Troops of the South of Russia;
  • National Republican Party of Russia;
  • Skinhead groups;
  • Russian National Unity (in certain cases);
  • Russian National Socialist Party;
  • The Black Hundred.

    All those organizations are militarized to some degree. In addition to them, the following organizations have militarized units:
  • Union of Officers;
  • Vasilyev’s “Pamyat” (“Remembrance”);
  • numerous small groups of tentatively Nazi orientation;
  • and presumably the Movement in Support of the Army.

    In general, even the most extremist-oriented national-patriots are afraid to engage in terrorist activities. Hence, there are only two kinds of organizations that actually go for open violence – those that hardly think of the consequences at all (like Cossacks or skinheads) and those that do not perceive actions, for example, with respect to religious minorities as acts of terror (like the National-Republicans or, again, Cossacks). It seems that the acts of terror committed by Barkashov’s Russian National Unity groups (murders on religious grounds, the explosion in front of the US Consulate in Ekaterinburg) occurred against Barkashov’s own will.
    The notable terrorist acts, such as the ones against synagogues, were most likely committed not by representatives of some organizations but simply by individuals or small groups of individuals (like the group “Celestial Aryans” that video-recorded themselves setting a synagogue on fire). These individuals either split off from such organizations or were under their influence. For example, the recently arrested Satanist Mikhail Naumenko used to belong to the Church of Nav'.
    Propaganda of violence, on the other hand, is a different matter. In its frame, the following organizations should be added to the list above:
  • Limonov’s party and other groups of National-Bolshevik orientation;
  • Movement in Support of the Army (primarily, on the account of A. Makashov);
  • The Church of Nav’;
  • Liberal Democratic Party (but only concerning V. Zhirinovsky’s own statements);
  • People’s National Party;
  • Movement “Word and Action” led by Herman Sterligov;
  • Russian National Liberation Movement and other politicized neo-pagans;
  • Russian People’s Union.

    Here, we are talking not of individual incidents that may be perceived as calls for violence, but specifically about systematic propaganda of violence, including indirect propaganda – for example by means of approving the activities of known terrorists and actively advocating their goals and methods. As concerns the organizations mentioned above, there can be found individual examples where they actually follow in the footsteps of their own propaganda. For instance, the activists of “Word and Action”, that call for forceful clampdown on the sexual education programs in secondary school, have actually beaten up a schoolteacher at least on one occasion.
    All of the above-mentioned organizations actively advocate for discrimination on national, racial, or religious grounds, sometimes all three together. On the other hand, all national-patriotic organizations, even the moderate ones, make such propaganda to a certain extent.

    Russian Orthodox and Pagans, Monarchism, the New Right
    As was mentioned before, religious self-identification is very important for the national-patriots [6]. We can even say that it is religious self-identification that represents traditional ideological foundation (but certainly not the cause!) of their outlook.
    It is curious that neo-paganism in its numerous modifications is quite popular in the national-patriotic milieu. Probably, the idea of rejecting Christianity as a manifestation of Jewish scheming appeals to the national-patriots by virtue of its very extremeness. The most known of the presently active neo-pagan groups are:
  • Union of Wends;
  • Russian National Liberation Movement and its adjacent pagan groups;
  • The Church of Nav'.

    The Church of Nav'’s case represents a serious problem for society – namely, how to perceive a religious association that directly professes extremist political convictions (even more so, Ilya Lazarenko, Leader of the Church of Nav', from time to time refers to his group of supporters as the National Front Party). The Church of Nav', however, is not the only example of this kind. For instance, the rather small Catacombs Church of the Truly Orthodox Christians headed by Archbishop Amvrosy proclaims racist convictions on the theological level.
    For the majority of national-patriots, nevertheless, Russian Orthodoxy still serves as an ideological basis. At the same time, by Russian Orthodoxy some of them mean the faith professed by the Russian Orthodox Church (within the range of feasible theological frictions), while others actually build some hybrid of a religion from arbitrarily chosen (and usually the most superficial) elements of Russian Orthodoxy together with just as arbitrarily reconstructed myths of the old Slavs and other Indo-European nations.
    Russian Orthodox national-patriots who are close to the Church in their faith naturally maintain immediate ties with the Russian Orthodox fundamentalists within the Church, whose ideology is also national-patriotic. It is actually impossible to draw a clear distinction between these two groups. The Patriarchy itself had been trying for a long while to draw such distinction within the Union of Orthodox Brotherhoods but did not succeed.
    Most of such Russian Orthodox national-patriotic activists are united (on personal level) into the Union of Russian Orthodox Citizens (SPG). The Moscow Patriarchy's attitude towards that Union is rather benevolent despite the fact that some active opponents of the Patriarchy are members of the Union. On the other hand, the Patriarchy's most implacable enemies, namely the milieu of the "Orthodox Russia" newspaper, are not among the Union's members.
    Thus, the following extreme national-patriotic groups can be characterized as "churchly" (there are also moderate national-patriotic groups that can be classed as "churchly", but I shall not deal with them here):
  • Union of Orthodox Brotherhoods led by Georgy Kapaev, particularly the St.-Petersburg Union led by Konstantin Dushenov, editor of the "Orthodox Russia" newspaper, and the Brotherhood named in honor of the venerable wonder-workers Sergy Radonezhsky and Serafim Sarovsky led by Nikolai Filimonov, former head of one of the sub-groups of "Pamyat" ("Remembrance");
  • "Christian Revival" Union;
  • Russian All-National Union;
  • Russian People's Union;
  • Front "Pamyat" ("Remembrance");
  • Russian National Council led by Alexander Sterligov;
  • The Black Hundred;
  • Movement "For Faith and Motherland" led by hieromonk Nikon (Sergei Belavenets);
  • Movement "Word and Action".

    When treated as part of political ideology, Russian Orthodoxy is rigidly connected to the idea of autocratic monarchy. Therefore, nearly all the Russian Orthodox national-patriots – both extreme and moderate – are monarchists. Those that do not assert themselves as monarchists justify themselves by asserting that today’s Russia is way too far from the status of "Russian Orthodox kingdom" to actually include such kingdom in their political programs.
    The organizations promoting different mixtures of Russian Orthodoxy and paganism do not have that pronounced inclination towards monarchy. The most significant example among them is, of course, the Russian National Unity. The originally pagan Russian Labor Party of Russia (RTPR), on the other hand, admits to the equality between Russian Orthodoxy and paganism.
    Meanwhile, the example of People's National Party would be more interesting from the point of view of ideological self-identification because that Party's religious syncretism is more circumspect and conceptual. To a large degree, this happened because the Party was strongly influenced by ideas of the so-called European new rightists that Alexander Dugin has been advocating in Russia for quite a number of years already. Under the influence of the same ideas, another extreme monarchical organization, Russian National Union, gradually dropped religious orientation per se and presently goes under the name of Russian National Socialist Party. Today, however, it would be more suitable to characterize that Party as a Nazi organization than as a new rightist organization.
    The pure new rightists, such as the National-Bolsheviks of E. Limonov and A. Dugin (both before the alienation of the leaders and afterwards) have no religious orientation at all. For them, religion is only one of the elements of their conservative revolutionary ideology. (Dugin himself is predisposed in favor of the Old Believers.) As opposed to regular nationalist concepts, the conservative revolutionary ideology is so multifaceted and well-developed that it can be actually viewed as an alternative outlook foundation for nationalism.
    Yuri Belyaev's National Republican Party has no religious orientation either – simply because they believes religious orientation to be irrelevant for nationalism. Still, the most vivid example of such an approach is V. Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party – its consistent political support for the Church is directly motivated not by religious but by exclusively ideological reasons.
    Finally, it is necessary to point out that in the milieu of extreme national-patriots there is, after all, no clear distinction on religious grounds. The hieromonk Nikon (Belavenets), for example, cooperates with the semi-pagan People's National Party, and the election list of the Movement "For Faith and Motherland" that he submitted to the Central Election Commission actually included the leader of the neo-pagan Church of Nav'.

    After Barkashov's armed unit participated in the Moscow militarized confrontations of October 1993, society became earnestly worried that "Russian fascism" – that is, the extremist wing of national-patriots – represented a serious threat specifically in case of a possible coup, civil war and other events of this kind. On the other hand, Zhirinovsky's triumph at the 1993 election and the Russian National Unity's growth of popularity (which in fact resulted from their much-advertised participation the events of 1993) gave birth to fears that the extremists could achieve considerable success in the electoral field. Today, the situation does not look as threatening.
    Zhirinovsky's Party has never been an extremist organization in any case, and since its coming to the Duma it actually started drifting towards the political center. While the leader maintains his Party's image with shrill radical political statements and boosts his personal rating with outrageous political (and not only political) clowning, the Party Fraction in the Duma supports the central authorities in nearly all the significant cases (and, according to a very common opinion, does so from mercenary motives). It is rather sad that the central authorities have to appeal to such Party for support, but that would be another topic worth a separate discussion.
    Since 1993, Barkashov's activists, as well as other ultra-nationalists, have had no chance to take recourse to armed violence because the very situation in the country would not offer any such possibility to them. Extremist organizations are very small in membership with one single exception: according to our estimates made at Panorama, the Russian National Unity comprises approximately 15 thousand members. Most of them, however, are teen-agers attracted by the gratis training in martial arts provided by the organization to its members. They drop out quite quickly, and therefore, the Russian National Unity's relatively permanent frame is several times smaller. Still and all, for an extremist organization even this level of membership is quite an achievement indeed.
    Barkashov's organization has invariably failed every election. Since 1995, their candidates for the Duma received from 0.62% to 4.01% of votes, and even that – only in coalition with the allied but not as extreme national-patriotic electorate. From the point of view of a dispassionate researcher, one can only be sorry that the authorities succeeded in preventing the association "Spas" from participation in the last election – we never got to find out how large the Russian National Unity's actual electorate is. In any case, despite the fact that at the last election Barkashov's organization did somewhat better than before, according to our evaluation, its electorate does not go beyond 1-2% at most.
    As far as other extreme national-patriotic organizations are concerned, their achievements are even more modest. In most of the cases, they did not even manage to register their candidates and party lists because of a lack of energy in collecting the requisite signatures and lack of organization in submitting the documents on time. In 1995, out of all the extreme national-patriots, only Nikolai Lysenko's National Republican Party (which, by the way, does not exist any longer) made it to the ballots and received 0.48% of votes. In the frame of the 1999 election, two extreme national-patriotic organizations were on the ballots – namely, the Movement in Support of the Army which received 0.58% of votes (partly, through the efforts of the extreme communists as opposed to the national-patriots) and the Block "Russian Deed" which received only 0.17% of votes and which included the extremist "Christian Revival" Union and the Black Hundred. In the First State Duma, the actual extremist wing was represented by N. Lysenko (who distinguished himself by tearing a Ukrainian flag to pieces and beating up a prominent democratically-oriented priest Gleb Yakunin). In the Second State Duma, the notorious General Albert Makashov appeared in a similar capacity. In the Third Duma, no such character is visible as of yet (Igor Artyomov, leader of the Russian All-National Union, came closest to being elected – in his electoral district, he received 14.94% of votes, having stayed behind the winner by 1.62% only).
    As concerns the Presidential Elections, in 1991 Zhirinovsky, who seemed to be an extremist character at the time, received 7.81% of the votes and the extreme communist Albert Makashov, who was using national-patriotic rhetoric even back then, received 3.74%. In 1996, Zhirinovsky, already much more moderate in his orientation, received 5.7% and Yuri Vlasov, candidate of the extreme national-patriots, did not gain but 0.2% of votes. At the up-coming Presidential Election, Zhirinovsky would not represent the extreme opposition anyway, even if the Central Election Commission had not prohibited him from participating in the Election for formal reasons. More radical national-patriotic candidates simply will not make it to the ballot because they cannot collect the requisite 500 000 signatures in their support.
    Electoral support for the extreme national-patriots is decreasing. (That applies to other small extreme parties just as well.) It may be noted that the national-patriotic attitudes within society are loosing in radicality but, at the same time, spreading over the political spectrum's expanse [7]. While the first thesis is quite transparent and well-founded, the second one calls for additional comments.
    Extremists also make up a part of the core groups of the more moderate national patriotic organizations. For example, in the Russian All-People's Union, the relatively moderate Baburin has Nikolai Pavlov, extreme nationalist, as his Deputy-Chair. At the last election, in the Union's list (which, by the way, received 0.37% of votes), there peacefully co-existed Alexander Turik, Irkutsk extremist, and Nikolai Vedernikov, member of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation. Similarly, Stanislav Karpov's nationalistic Slavic Council came to the election within the Block "Peace. Labor. May" which was not at all nationalist.
    The Communist Party of the Russian Federation, on the other hand, represents the most fascinating example of such mixture. It is more accurate to designate the party's leader, Gennady Zyuganov, as a national-patriot than as a communist. He actually began his post-Soviet political carrier in national-patriotic organizations. Recently, in his speeches and statements, Zyuganov has been addressing the communist rhetoric with lesser and lesser frequency. He prefers not even the national-patriotic rhetoric per se, but the Russian-Orthodox-nationalist one. On the eve of the last election, he decided it suitable to come forth with an elaborate theoretical reasoning about the closeness of the ideas and goals of his Party to the ones of the Russian Orthodox Church and personally addressed all the Russian bishops with requests for support.
    Let me repeat that Zyuganov is a moderate politician, and the pre-election division between the lists of the "main" communist party with him in the lead and Ilyukhin and Makashov's Movement in Support of the Army only testifies to that fact once again. Still, the ideas professed by the moderate national-patriots, including Zyuganov, are borrowed from the extreme national-patriots.

    It is not a simple concurrence of ideas that we are talking about. The extreme nationalists have always been first to invent (or borrow from their historical predecessors, which is not important in this case) and start promulgating some or other nationalist ideological formulae. Inasmuch as active average members of the moderate organizations often hold membership in the extreme organizations as well or at least have ties with the extremist groups and read their press, those ideological formulas are quick to spread in the milieu of the moderate organizations. The moderate politicians start repeating them only a while later, after they have become shopworn cliches of the extremist rhetoric. On the subsequent stage, the extreme ideological formulas (or at least some of them) are already perceived as moderate, and not only by the perpetual oppositionists but also by political centrists.
    This process is gradually transforming Zyuganov's Party into a national-patriotic party. The same process made it possible to legalize the nationalist rhetoric in the frame of Yuri Luzhkov's "Motherland". The flare-up of anti-Western feelings subsequent to the bombings in Yugoslavia became most probably not the cause but only an indirect push to the expansion of xenophobic and national-patriotic attitudes across almost the entire political spectrum.
    Incidentally, the sociological surveys of anti-Western feelings within society do not demonstrate any statistically relevant growth of nationalism. For example, according to the surveys of the past two years, the slogan "Russia for the Russians" was supported only by 13-15% of Russian citizens, while 27-32% considered that idea to be fascist [8]. Hence, it cannot be assumed that the centrist politicians have been responding to their electorate's shift of attitude. It seems more feasible, on the other hand, that the centrist politicians are gradually identifying themselves with the national-patriotic idea, and then, those ideas develop in the centrist political environment under their own momentum.
    The concerns about "Russian fascism coming into power" have proven to be insubstantial. However, the national-patriots' propaganda has demonstrated great effectiveness. It can be conjectured that the mechanism of expansion of ultra-nationalist ideas, which I have just described, continues functioning and, therefore, the on-going ultra-nationalist propaganda still remains a serious threat for society.
    [1] Alexander Verkhovsky, Anatoly Papp, Vladimir Pribylovsky, "Political Extremism in Russia", pp. 7-10. "Panorama": Moscow, 1996.
    [2] Alexander Verkhovsky, Ekaterina Mikhailovskaya, Vladimir Pribylovsky, "Nationalism and Xenophobia in Russian Society", pp. 22-23. "Panorama": Moscow, 1998.
    [3]ibid., pp. 114-115, 146, 158
    [4] We have already undertaken detailed classification in the following publications: Alexander Verkhovsky, Anatoly Papp, Vladimir Pribylovsky, "Political Extremism in Russia", pp. 42-46, 51-61. "Panorama": Moscow, 1996; Alexander Verkhovsky, Vladimir Pribylovsky, "National-Patriotic Organizations in Russia", pp. 28-29, 92-104. "Panorama": Moscow, 1996; Vladimir Pribylovsky "National Patriots at the Third State Duma Election", pp. 2-4. "Panorama": Moscow, 1999.
    [5] Daniel Rancour-Lafferiere, "Imagining Russia: Ethnic Identity and the National Mind", pp. 19-26. In typescript. Also see Vladimir Pribylovsky, "National Patriots at the Third Sate Duma Election". "Panorama": Moscow, 1999.
    [6] For more detail see Alexander Verkhovsky, Ekaterina Mikhailovskaya, Vladimir Pribylovsky "Political Xenophobia. Radical Groups. Mentality of the Leaders. Role of the Church", pp.101-107, 123-133. "Panorama": Moscow, 1999.
    [7] For more detail, see the article of Alexander Verkhovsky "Not the CPRF's Victory, but the Failure of Communist-Patriots But what is Next?". "Russian Thought", issue #4299, year 2000; also see Ekaterina Mikhailovskaya "Results of the Parliamentary Election-1999 for the National-Patriots (including the ones of pro-empire orientation). Drowning by numbers." "Panorama": Moscow, 2000.
    [8] Data of the All-Russian Center for Public Opinion Research. For somewhat outdated but very detailed information, see Lev Gudkov, "Anti-Semitism in the Post-Soviet Russia // Untolerance in Russia: Old and New Phobias", under the editorship of G. Vitkovskaya and A. Malashenko: Moscow, 1999.
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