‘The Russians’ Nationalist Coalition Founded in Moscow

Source: Aleksandr Miridonov/KommersantA new Russian nationalist organization calling itself simply “The Russians” held its founding meeting in Moscow this week. More than 40 nationalist groups make up the new coalition, led by the Movement Against Illegal Immigration and Slavic Union, both banned by the Russian Judicial Ministry. Experts interviewed by the newspaper Kommersant feel that The Russians have no prospects and will succumb to the same fate of all previous nationalist organizations.

As Slavic Power leader Dmitry Demushkin told Kommersant, this unification of nationalist organizations became possible after the Movement Against Illegal Immigration (DPNI) was banned. “After that we decided to unite all of Russia’s nationalist forces into a new movement, The Russians. At its core are the largest nationalist organizations – the DPNI and the Slavic Union,” explained Demushkin. At the very least, the new organization’s goal is to further general ethno-political Russian solidarity, and at the most – to establish a nationalist government heading a nationalist Russian state.

The DPNI was ruled extremist and subsequently banned by a Moscow court in April 2011. The Slavic Union was banned a year earlier, after which it changed its name to Slavic Power.

The structure of The Russians can be found on the DPNI’s website. In particular, it lists the names of the agencies of its administration, including: the Council of Nations (an all-Russian meeting to define strategies for the existence and activities of the organization), the High National Council (to correct strategy and ongoing activities and to confirm annual plans) and the National Observatory Council (to represent the interests of the organization and develop strategy). The first council will be chaired in turn by Aleksandr Belov, Aleksandr Turik, and Stanislav Vorobyov. The second council will be led by Demushkin, and the third by Belov.

The movement also named a number of other structures: the National Committee for Action, the National Committee for Control, and the High Court of Honor. This last one, Demushkin told Interfax, “is the movement’s highest judicial authority, led by Georgy Borovikov.”

As Demushkin explained to Kommersant, he and Belov will play a substantial role as authoritative figures for The Russians. “There’s no guarantee that the new movement won’t repeat the fate of the nationalist organizations that are already banned right now. But for this we purposely gave ourselves this awkward name. So the courts and law enforcement agencies would be banning not nationalists, but ‘Russians,'” Demushkin explained.

Human rights activist and head of the SOVA Center for Information and Analysis Aleksandr Verkhovsky told Kommersant that the emergence of a more radical sentiment among neo-Nazi organizations presents a blatant, prospectiveless dead-end for its followers. “The same thing’s going to happen as did to the DPNI,” Verkhovsky said. Svetlana Gannushkina, head of the committee Civil Assistance, sees the emergence of The Russians as a call for a change in constitutional order. “Actually, this is a disgrace for Russia,” she told Interfax.

Compiled from reports by Natalya Bashlykova and Dmitry Kozlov at Kommersant, and Interfax.