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Russia’s Ultra-Right Gathers Steam

For the past number of years, extreme right groups of nationalists in Russia were more or less successfully contained, co-opted, and incorporated under the structures of the ruling party, with the Nashi only representing the tip of the iceberg.  In more recent times, such as the explosion of street protests over the death of football fan Yegor Sviridov, the ultra-right has been willing to flex its considerable political muscle – and not always in accordance with the agenda of United Russia.  This was the topic explored in a recent translation we published examining Dmitry Rogozin’s attack on multiculturalism, and it is increasingly likely, unfortunately, that racism, hate speech, and xenophobia will feature heavily in the upcoming Duma elections.

Below, an excerpt from an interesting article published on RIA Novosti by Marc Bennetts and Alexei Korolyov who embedded themselves amongst nationalist activists, in particular profiling Dmitry Dyomushkin.  The interview seems to indicate a split between grassroots ultra-nationalists and high-level leaders such as Rogozin.

While Russia’s tiny pro-West, liberal opposition is marginalized and enjoys little grassroots backing, far-right movements can boast much wider support, some of which – according to analysts and nationalist sources – comes from within the security services.

Russia’s hawkish NATO envoy, Dmitry Rogozin, brought nationalist sentiments into mainstream politics earlier this month when he said at a political forum also attended by Medvedev that North Caucasus internal migrants were guilty of “a violation of Russian cultural norms.” (…)

He is adamant though that the “Russian Question” is the most crucial issue in the country today. “The well-being of the entire nation depends on the well-being of ethnic Russians,” he says.

But Dyomushkin is, surprisingly, unimpressed by Rogozin, and says that his predicted return from NATO headquarters in Brussels is simply a ploy to placate the some 50% or so of Russians who regularly admit in opinion polls to harboring xenophobic feelings.

“Rogozin didn’t make any amazing discovery,” Dyomushkin said. “It was just that he was allowed to say it. But we’ve been saying all this for the last 15 years…Only right now we have to say it in the back-streets.” “For nationalists, Rogozin is not a leader…he’s just some official.”