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Bulletin 6:8 - Special Issue: SOVA '11 Report

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  • Andreas Umland
    THE RUSSIAN NATIONALISM BULLETIN A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs Vol. 6, No. 8(164) - Special Issue, 18 April 2012 Between Manezhnaya and Bolotnaya:
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 18, 2012
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      THE RUSSIAN NATIONALISM BULLETIN
      A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs
      Vol. 6, No. 8(164) - Special Issue, 18 April 2012
      "Between Manezhnaya and Bolotnaya: Xenophobia and Radical Nationalism in Russia, and Efforts to Counteract Them in 2011"
      By Natalia Yudina and Vera Alperovich. Edited by Alexander Verkhovsky
      SOVA Reports and Analyses, 5 April 2012
      http://www.sova-center.ru/en/xenophobia/reports-analyses/2012/04/d24088/
      Formatted for RNB by Parikrama Gupta

      C O N T E N T S

      SUMMARY

      CRIMINAL MANIFESTATIONS OF RACISM AND XENOPHOBIA
      Systematic Racist and Neo-Nazi Violence
      Anti-State Terrorist Activities
      Violence Motivated by Religion
      Grassroots Xenophobic Violence and Xenophobia in the Army
      Vandalism

      PUBLIC ACTIVITY OF ULTRA-RIGHT RADICALS
      Unification tendencies in the ultra-right wing
      Contacts with "Inside-the-system" Parties
      Ultra-right Rallies and Marches
      Participation in the December Protests

      COUNTER-ACTION TO RADICAL NATIONALISM
      Public Initiatives
      Creation and Clarification of Regulatory Acts
      Criminal Prosecution for Violence
      Criminal Prosecution for Vandalism
      Criminal Prosecution of Propaganda
      Criminal Prosecution of Extremist Groups and Banned Organizations
      The Federal List of Extremist Materials
      The Banning of Organizations
      Other Administrative Measures

      ENDNOTES
      ==================================


      SUMMARY

      This report[1] was prepared during the period of continuing protests following the parliamentary elections of December 4, 2011, and in anticipation of the presidential elections of March 4, 2012. The Russian nationalist movement, which prior to late 2011 had perceived itself as the most active political force in the country, has not yet become a truly meaningful component of the protest movement. Nevertheless, its role in the current events is sufficiently noticeable to deserve our most thorough examination. In this report we attempt to analyze the developments that unfolded within the right-wing radical milieu in the time period between December 2010 (the Manezhnaya Square events in Moscow) and December 2011 (the post-election opposition rallies).

      On the one hand, the political weight of right-wing radical organizations has increased as they entered public discourse. They gained new opportunities for cooperation with the "inside-the-system" parties, and took an active, if not completely legitimate, part in the December protests. In 2011 publicly active nationalists separated into two distinct coalitions: a radical, partially neo-Nazi movement "the Russians" (Russkie) and the Russian Platform (Russkaya Platforma, RP), a relatively moderate group, which, nevertheless, have never openly disavowed violence.

      On the other hand the right-wing radicals have not put any of these achievements to practical use for strengthening their own movement. There are no indications that they succeeded in growing their social base or in finding comrades-in-arms among other opposition activists to any measurable extent. So far, despite the Russian society's growing demand for the ethno-nationalist ideology, the existing far right political organizations are unable to satisfy it. Autonomous ultra-right groups mostly don't trust them, while their potential supporters among Russian citizens with xenophobic views either never heard of them or consider them excessively radical. Even their successful propaganda memes, such as "Stop feeding the Caucasus," brought no substantial improvement.

      Repeating the success of the Manezhnaya Square riots to any extent proved to be impossible despite numerous attempts throughout the year. Meanwhile, the number of criminal actions committed by the ultra-right has declined, continuing the trend of the previous two years. Channeling the activists' energy into political activity and the overall course of the movement toward constructing "nationalism with a human face" can partially account for this tendency. Nevertheless, active police prosecution of violence-prone groups remains the most effective factor in bringing the number of hate crimes down. Fewer victims of racially-motivated crime, and, in particular, a diminished number of murders (especially in the centers of the ultra-right activity) could be considered the main positive outcome of 2011. However, the situation still remains quite tense; nobody is immune from the attacks by the ultra-right, including government employees, civic activists, and random passers-by, who dared to express their disapproval of the way the ultra-right activists behave on the streets.
      "Countering extremism" increasingly becomes a top law enforcement priority. This is evident, for example, from the fact that in 2011 the Interior Ministry's Department for Countering Extremism was the only known department, whose personnel grew, rather than shrunk, in the course of reorganization; moreover, it was restructured from a Department into a Chief Directorate. Regretfully, due to the flaws in the anti-extremist legislation, police resources too often end up being misspent, thus discrediting even legitimate measures in this sphere. However, investigations into truly dangerous crimes, primarily those involving violence, were conducted at least as actively, as they had been in the previous year.
      In 2011 several high-profile criminal cases resulted in convictions. Members of several major ultra-right groups were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment (including life sentences), most notably the Borovikov-Voevodin gang in St. Petersburg and the National-Socialist Society -North (NSO-Sever) in Moscow. In addition, a verdict was made regarding the notorious murder of lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova.

      Unfortunately, while the judicial quality of the violent crime-related verdicts continues to improve, the same cannot be said about the quality of prosecution for hate speech (xenophobic propaganda). The tendency to minimize incarceration for "mere words" was the only positive development observed in this area. Otherwise, the situation remains pretty much unchanged. Number of convictions is quite high, but most of the cases pertain to the statements that were either inherently not dangerous or not dangerous due to lack of publicity (such as graffiti or comments on social networks).

      Resolution No. 11 of the plenary meeting of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation "Concerning Judicial Practice in Criminal Cases Regarding Crimes of Extremism," adopted on June 28, 2011, became the most important and positive normative framework development of the year, because it contained important clarifications of the existing anti-extremist legislation. A single ruling could not resolve all the quandaries and deficiencies of the legislation, but, nevertheless, it indicates movement in the right direction.
      It has become increasingly obvious that classifying material as extremist constitutes a completely inefficient measure. The Federal List of Extremist Materials continued to expand actively, and by the end of 2011 its size exceeded a thousand entries. This growth only turns the List into an ever more complex and unwieldy instrument. We are convinced that the only way to solve the List-related problems is to abandon it altogether.

      The mechanism of banning organizations as extremist was used actively in 2011. Several organizations were banned, best-known of them being the Movement against Illegal Immigration (Dvizhenie protiv nelegal'noi immigratsii, DPNI). The ban did not prevent members of the proscribed organizations to continue their activities (in particular within "the Russians" coalition movement). Evidently, the ban mechanism requires some serious analysis and fine-tuning.
      =====================


      CRIMINAL MANIFESTATIONS OF RACISM AND XENOPHOBIA

      Systematic Racist and Neo-Nazi Violence

      In 2011 23 people died and 154 received injuries as a result of racist and neo-Nazi violence, and 10 more received credible murder threats. For comparison, in 2010 42 people died and 401 were injured; in addition, 6 people received credible murder threats.[2] While our 2011 numbers are not yet final,[3] the above-cited data allows us to conclude that the number of neo-Nazi and/or racially-motivated violent crimes is going down. According to our records, the violence peaked in 2008 (116 dead, 499 injured), and then its level started to drop. I have to emphasize that our data is far from complete and likely reflects only a fraction of occurring crimes. However, since our research methodology remains constant, we consider our conclusions regarding the developing trends, to be sufficiently well-founded, both for the totals and for each group separately.

      Incidents of racist violence were recorded in 40 regions of Russia (compared to 49 regions in 2010). Moscow (8 killed, 35 injured) and Moscow Region (5 killed, 12 injured) remained traditional hotbeds of such violence; so did St. Petersburg (3 killed, 27 injured). These geographic areas also showed the greatest reduction in violent crime statistics. (In 2010 we recorded 18 people killed and 144 injured in Moscow, 2 people killed and 33 injured in Moscow Region, and 2 killed and 43 injured in St. Petersburg.) In addition, a significant number of victims was recorded in Kaluga Region (1 killed, 12 injured). The situation has improved in Nizhny Novgorod, which usually holds the third highest place in crime statistics after Moscow and St. Petersburg, but this year we have only received information regarding two injured victims. This trend could be explained by the fact that law enforcement agencies have finally intensified[4] their prosecution of the ultra-right. In 2011 members of four neo-Nazi groups were convicted in the region. Statistics on violent hate crimes in other regions have remained stable for many years.

      As before, most victims of xenophobic attacks were migrants from Central Asia (10 killed and 25 injured). People from the Caucasus, who, up to the end of 2009, had constituted the second largest group of victims (and at some point before that they had been the largest group) have now moved to the fourth position on our list, with 6 killed and 14 injured. However, for 25 victims of racial violence in 2011, we know only of their undefined "non-Slavic" appearance.[5] Most often it was described as "Asian," however, in some cases it could have meant "Caucasian"(i.e. from the Caucasus), so we need to emphasize, once again, that our data is approximate in many respects, including ethnic classification - even more so because the crime victims tend to avoid any media contact and seldom report the crime to the police. Thus, the group of victims loosely defined as the "Caucasian-looking people," in fact, remains in the third place on our list.

      Information about the incidents, where the victims belonged to sub-cultural groups or radical anti-fascists, is much easier to collect. Such incidents ranked second in 2011 with one person killed and 26 people injured. This relatively high number might be due to the fact, that we are better informed about these attacks, since these groups have formed wide horizontal connections and ties with various NGOs and media outlets. However, we also know about the cases of radical anti-fascists trying to conceal their losses in street fights. The overwhelming majority of the victims come not from the ranks of "military antifascists;" but rather from among the concert audience of music groups that are popular among the anti-fascists. In addition, at least five victims, attacked by the ultra-right last year, were either environmentalists or members of left-wing organizations.

      Notably, members of the Nazi Straight-edge subculture often pick their victims among completely apolitical young people, who, according to their attackers, "lead an unhealthy lifestyle."

      For the second year in a row we have observed a stable high number of victims among dark-skinned people (1 murder, 19 people injured). Most probably, these numbers do not signal an actual increase in the number of attacks on dark-skinned people; the situation with this particular type of racist attacks have become much better tracked, since the Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy started its systematic information collecting about such incidents.
      In addition to ordinary attacks, we continue to observe racially-motivated explosions, organized by the ultra-right. In Nefteyugansk (Yugra) the right-wing radicals hid an explosive device next to Harbin Chinese restaurant; in Samara the explosion at the central market (which injured one person) was organized with the "nationalistic motives"; in Stavropol Region an apartment in a residential building suffered an arson attack at night (attackers also left anti-Semitic graffiti under the window). We know of at least two explosive devices planted in the vicinity of Danilov market in Moscow and near the trade stalls in St. Petersburg; fortunately neither of them detonated.

      The past year clearly demonstrated that nearly anyone could become a victim of ultra-right violence.

      Thus, in addition to Straight Edge subculture, the ultra-right milieu now also includes People-hate movement, which harbors much more radical views. The right-wing radical bloggers claim that the movement includes "just nationalists and national-socialists judging everyone and everything very harshly (it would be stupid not to admit that the RussianÂ…is not currently in his best shape). I don't have too many illusions regarding an average Russian IvanÂ…This vegetable is quite different."[6]

      In 2011 Russian People-haters idolized two neo-Nazi serial murderers from Irkutsk Akademgorodok ("mallet-killers"): Artem Anufriev (b. 1992) and Nikita Lytkin (b. 1993), responsible for a series of brutal murders and attacks (at least 16 cases resulting in 6 murders).[7] It seems that victims were selected at random. Their attacks began in December 2010. The killers attacked people on the street with a mallet and a knife, and in some cases mutilated their bodies.[8] Some of the attacks were recorded on camera and uploaded online (A. Anufriev was a moderator of "We Are Gods; We Decide Who Lives and Who Dies" user group on VKontakte social network.)[9] During police questioning Anufriev stated that he was influenced by the "nationalist slogans."[10] In custody the two young men explained their actions by their desire "to clean up the city."[11]

      In the period under review some people became victims of ultra-radical violence simply for expressing their disapproval. For example, in May 2011 in Chelyabinsk Nazi skinheads beat up a man, who reprimanded them for shouting pro-Hitler slogans. Passers-by were also injured during the Russian March for having expressed their opposition to this particular way of celebrating "the Day of national unity."
      ----------------

      Anti-State Terrorist Activities

      In 2011 the activities of ultra-right groups continue to show tendency toward anti-state terrorist activities. We recorded several arson attacks and bombings of police stations and government office buildings (for example, the explosion in the building of the Moscow Public Prosecution Office on Zhivopisnaya street or the arson attempt in the waiting room of Vadim Zhuk, a United Russia deputy to the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Legislative Assembly). Fortunately, as far as we know, nobody was hurt in these attacks.

      The attacks have clearly declined in numbers, compared to 2009 and 2010. However, monitoring the dynamics of the situation in detail is quite difficult, since, for the most part, we never learn who was standing behind these explosions and arson attacks. On the one hand attacks on police stations are practiced not only by far right groups but by far left groups as well (note that the radical anarchist members of the Anarchist Guerilla organization claimed responsibility for the explosions at a traffic police post in June and for the arson attacks on United Russia buildings in December; the group also reports on its web site the cases of attacks when they don't know their author). At the same time, for publicity purposes, ultra-right groups often assume responsibility for all such incidents indiscriminately (in 2011 they predictably assumed responsibility for burning the vehicles of law enforcement officials, the explosions at the United Russia buildings, and arson attacks on Public Prosecution Offices).
      Threats to Public Officials and Civic Activists, Punishing "Traitors"

      In 2011 the stream of public threats with incitement to violence continued unabated. Such threats were published against government officials and members of the judiciary. For example, in some radical right-wing blogs the news about the verdict in the Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova murder case was accompanied by the personal data of the judge (his portrait, his address and a photograph of his house) and the members of the jury. After the murder of Judge Eduard Chuvashov[12] these threats cannot be taken lightly. Judge Vadim Shidlovsky, who handed down sentences to members of -Voevodin gang, had to be put under state protection. In August 2011 police detained Andrei "Fighter" (Boets) Malyugin, a neo-Nazi and the gang member previously acquitted by the court, who is suspected[13] of plotting the assassination of the judge.

      Journalists and civic activists, who deal with xenophobia-related issues, have for many years comprised the other vulnerable target group. In mid-January Deputy Director of the Agency for Investigative Journalism (Agentstvo zhurnalistskikh rassledovanii, AZHUR) in St. Petersburg received a threatening letter, signed by the Combat Organization of Russian Nationalists (Boevaia ogranizatsiia Russkikh natsionalistov, BORN).[14]

      In additions, alleged "traitors" also face public threats. For example, some right radical blogs published the addresses of Ilya Goryachev, ex-leader of the Russian Image (Russkii obraz), and of Sergei "Oper" Golubev from the Blood&Honour organization, who testified in the Markelov and Baburova murder case.

      The published threats of this sort should not be underestimated. Over the years of our monitoring we have observed murders of the court trial participants as well as public executions of the "traitors". For example, on April 20, 2011 Nazi skinheads in Omsk brutally murdered and dismembered their 23-year "associate", suspected of cooperation with law enforcement.
      ----------------

      Violence Motivated by Religion

      The level of religion-motivated violence continued to grow in 2011. Members of various religious movements comprised the largest group of victims (24 people injured); almost all of them were followers of the Jehovah's Witnesses doctrine (at least 22 victims). The mass propaganda campaign against Jehovah's Witnesses have been going on for three years, and the recent increase in their victim count (19 injured in 2010, 12 injured in 2009) undoubtedly represents the consequences.

      Attacks on members of other religious groups, motivated specifically by religious hate, are uncommon. Thus in 2011 the victims included three Mormon missionaries, an orthodox priest,[15] and a man, who was taken for an orthodox priest.[16]
      ----------------

      Grassroots Xenophobic Violence and Xenophobia in the Army

      The dynamics of grassroots xenophobic violence are difficult to trace, since law enforcement and mass media tend to qualify most episodes as locally-motivated incidents. Based on indirect data, the violence level remains unchanged; even considering our limited capabilities, we still record at least ten violent incidents each year, where grassroots conflicts clearly had racist underpinnings.

      Traditionally, many incidents take place on August 2, the Airborne Forces Day, which is celebrated by mass brawls and, sometimes, by openly racist attacks, initiated by drunken troopers. On August 2, 2011 at least 7 people in Moscow and in the republics of Mari El and Khakassia were injured[17] (in 2010 there were at least 11 victims).

      The Army is one of the most insulated and problem-ridden areas; racial conflicts undeniably exist there (the stories about ethnically-based "fraternities" (zemlyachestva) have been circulating for many years), but the situation is impossible to analyze, since verifiable information about such cases is virtually absent. However, despite the isolation of the army life from outside observers, incidents of racist violence still sometimes leak out. For example, in February 2011 in a military unit stationed in Chelyabinsk Region, Private Zaynalabid Gimbatov forced three of his "Slav" fellow soldiers to dance Lezginka, beating them for making wrong dance moves. We believe that such cases are not uncommon.

      The cases of attacks against Jews are relatively rare, primarily because the Jews don't visually stand out. Nevertheless, we record cases of grassroots anti-Semitic violence every year. Thus, in 2011 a communal apartment neighbor beat up a woman in St. Petersburg while shouting anti-Semitic slurs.

      We also know of the xenophobia-motivated attacks against other ethnic "others", including some attacks on Russians. In 2011 we recorded two such incidents. In Orel a native of Ingushetia attacked an ethnic Russian in the restaurant, shouting "No Russians here!" (Russkim zdes' ne mesto). In Astrakhan Region a drunken Russophobe attacked school children, also shouting xenophobic slogans. Note, that all these attacks were committed by isolated individuals. In 2011 we have no information regarding any activities by organized racist groups of ethnic minorities (such as the Black Hawks[18] group) or regarding attacks by their members against people of Slavic appearance.
      ----------------

      Vandalism

      We observed a sharp reduction in the scope of vandalism motivated by religious, ethnic or ideological hate. In 2011 at least 90 incidents of this kind took place in 34 regions of the country, while in 2010 we recorded 176 incidents of hate-motivated vandalism, and in 2009 the number stood at 180 incidents.

      Ideologically motivated vandalism still predominates (26 cases). Neo-Nazi graffiti and stickers appeared on Lenin's monuments, the Great Patriotic War memorials and similar monuments. The number of such actions went down significantly, compared to 100 incidents, recorded in 2010. This reduction was likely the consequence of decreased graffiti activity by the Russian Image and Resistance (Soprotivlenie) members - over the last year both organizations switched to propaganda of healthy lifestyle and organizing the Russian Runs.[19]

      As for vandalism motivated by religious hate, the targets were distributed as follows:

      - Sites belonging to new religious movements suffered 17 incidents, one of them targeting Hare Krishna followers and the other 16 relating to Jehovah's Witnesses; the incidents included one explosion, one case of gun fire, and three cases of arson;
      - Jewish sites suffered 14 incidents, including one case of arson, 8 of them were motivated by religious hate;
      - Muslim sites suffered 17 incidents, including one explosion;
      - Orthodox sites suffered 12 incidents, including 3 cases of arson;
      - Sites of various protestant denominations suffered 4 incidents, including 1 case of arson;
      - Pagan sites suffered one incident.

      The data shows no significant changes compared to 2010. The slowly growing number of attacks against the sites, belonging to Jehovah's Witnesses (including the ones involving explosives) has landed them on the top of our list for the second consecutive year. Attacks against sites belonging to the Russian Orthodox Church decreased in number (our records show 16 cases in 2009 and another 16 in 2010), while the incidents of anti-Muslim vandalism became more frequent (9 cases in 2010, and 8 cases in 2009), due to systematic desecration of Muslim graves in Nizhny Novgorod cemeteries (10 cases in 2011).[20] Jewish targets suffered the same number of attacks as in 2010; however, in 2009 we recorded 22 such attacks, and prior to that their number had been even higher.

      We observed a moderate reduction in numbers for the most dangerous acts - bombings, gunfire and arson (11 out of 90 cases in 2011 vs. 36 out of 176 cases in 2010). However, the overall share of such acts still remains quite high.
      =================


      PUBLIC ACTIVITY OF ULTRA-RIGHT RADICALS

      Unification tendencies in the ultra-right wing

      For the ultra-right movement 2011 became the year of an attempted entry into the legal political spectrum, while as recently as summer of 2010 they seemed destined to remain outsiders for many years to come. While in early 2011 riding the wave of success, achieved on Manezhnaya Square on December 11, 2010, seemed to offer the most promising course for the movement, it became obvious, as the year went on, that reality did not conform to expectations. However, by the end of the year a completely different trend came to fruition, which emerged prior to and independently of the movement inspired by Manezhnaya Square, and this trend deserves to be addressed first.

      After signing the "Declaration of the Russian National Organizations" by the DPNI and the Russian Image in September 2010[21] publicly active nationalists achieved a degree of consensus on possible measures to overcome their marginal status. The principal element of their new strategy was a change, albeit partial, in the movement's orientation away from xenophobic, and in some cases openly racist, rhetoric and toward the language of more moderate ethnic nationalism (even with some elements of civic nationalism), with emphasis on belonging to political opposition and defending democracy. This change was inspired by their desire to get rid of their marginal status of "political untouchables", join the ranks of the increasingly active democratic opposition, and thus present themselves in a more attractive light to an average xenophobia-inclined citizen.

      In order to fulfill this plan the far right needed to pool its resources and project at least an appearance of unity. Thus, the existing ultra-right organizations adopted a coalition strategy. New structures were to be presented to the public as"nationalism with a human face."
      The increasing police pressure on ultra-right organizations further strengthened their trend toward integration. In February 2011 the process of recognizing the DPNI as an extremist organization began;[22] then, in spring the court charges were filed against the Russian All-National Union (Russkii obshenatsional'nyi soiuz, RONS).[23] The criminal case was opened against Dmitry Demushkin,[24] the leader of the Slav Power (Slavianskaia sila, SS) movement, previously known as the Slavic Union, and renamed after its ban in 2010).[25]
      "The Russians" Ethno-Political Association (Etnopoliticheskoe ob'edinenie - Russkie) became the first such project and still remains the largest. It brought together the most visible right-wing radical organizations: the DPNI, the SS, Dmitry Bobrov's National Socialist Initiative (Natsional-sotsialisticheskaia ititsiativa, NSI), Stanislav Vorobyev's Russian Imperial Movement (Russkoe imperskoe dvizhenie, RID) Alexander Turik's Union Soiuz russkogo naroda, SRN), Georgii Borovikov's RFO Memory (Pamiat) and Sergey Gorodnikov's National Democratic Party (Natsional-demokraticheskaia partiia, NDP). Leadership positions were almost equally distributed among the leaders of the coalition partners. In practice, however, the organization is represented mostly by the former DPNI leader Alexander Belov (the DPNI was banned on April 18, 2011) and by Dmitry Demushkin. All the other leaders, except the DPNI members (such as its last formal leader Vladimir Ermolaev) mostly continue to position themselves publicly as the heads of their own separate organizations, not as part of the coalition leadership.

      This partnership certainly had a positive effect on the nationalists' political weight; however, it failed to introduce anything radically new into their practice. As far as we know, it never prompted any noticeable influx of new, previously unaffiliated, members. Acting leaders of "the Russians" had no mass support in the ultra-right circles, and the coalition did nothing to change this situation. On the other side, the emergence of "the Russians" movement, which includes the open neo-Nazis Bobrov and Demushkin among its leaders, once again indefinitely postponed the DPNI's aspirations to create a non-marginal nationalist movement.
      A rival coalition project emerged almost simultaneously with "the Russians" with the Russian Social Movement (Russkoe obshchestvennoe dvizhenie, ROD, led by Konstantin Krylov) at its center. As far back as last winter the ROD refused to join "the Russians," considering it strategically unwise to unite all the ultra-right organizations around the DPNI, which was about to be declared extremist, and the Slav Power, the successor of the already banned Slavic Union. This conflict provoked one of the DPNI leaders Vladimir Thor (Vladlen Kralin) to leave the movement, and instead join the ROD. In spring the ROD announced its reorganization from a single organization with regional branches to the association of equal partner organizations and invited everyone to find their place in the new structure. To date, the ROD Association includes: ROD Moscow, ROD Saint-Petersburg (Andrei Kuznetsov), ROD Volga Region (Alex Razumov), ROD Primorye (Tatiana Uvarova), ROD Siberia (Rostislav Antonov) and ROD Krasnodar. Apparently, by switching from vertical to horizontal integration the ROD expected to attract small right-wing groups in the regions and to encourage local leaders to be more proactive, by turning them into the leaders of individual organizations, rather than the heads of local branches, directed from the capital. It is hard to judge whether the expectations of K. Krylov and V Thor to attract new supporters came true, but the leaders clearly succeeded in stimulating the activity of the ROD's regional branches.
      In September the ROD together with the allied Russian Citizens Union (Russkii grazhdanskii soiuz, RGS) and its leader Anton Susov formed the Russian Platform coalition. Shortly, it was joined by the previously unknown Moscow Defense League (Liga oborony Moskvy, Daniel Konstantinov),[26] S. Vorobyev's RID, D. Bobrov's NSI and several smaller organizations. The fact that the RID and the NSI - both members of the rival coalition "the Russians" - have joined the RP means that neither coalition can yet serve as a full-fledged unifying prototype, and that the more promising competitor is not yet obvious (we have a reason to believe that the RID and the NSI believe the RP to be more promising).

      Besides the Russian March, "the Russians" only distinguished themselves once by dispatching a delegation to Ramzan Kadyrov of Chechnya.[27] Meanwhile the RP managed to organize its own, even if not very broad, campaign "No more feeding the Caucasus" (see below) and publicly demonstrated their association with popular blogger Alexei Navalny, who participated in the above-mentioned campaign and walked with the Russian Platform members during the Russian March.

      Relatively moderate "old" (i.e. founded back in the 1990s) national-patriotic organizations also attempted to create a unifying project, the National-Patriotic Front "Sovereign Union of Russia" (Derzhavnyi soiuz Rossii, DSR). Originally it brought together 17 organizations, among them Sergei Baburin's Russian All-People's Union (Rossiiskii obshchenarodnyi soiuz, ROS), the Officers Union (Soiuz ofitserov, Stanislav Terekhov), the Military Imperial Union (Voenno-derzhavnyi soiuz, Leonid Ivashov), the Volya party (Svetlana Peunova), the Russian Cossacks Union (Soiuz kazakov Rossii, Pavel Zadorozhnyi), the Slavic Union of Journalists (Slavianskiy soiuz zhurnalistov, Boris Mironov), the Union of the Russian People (Souiz russkogo naroda, Valery Erchak)[28] and the others. Later about 20 additional representatives from various groups joined the DSR as well. The project's primary task was to launch a "people's candidate" campaign for the upcoming presidential elections. Subsequently, the DSR in concurrence with other organizations chose Leonid Ivashov as their representative. Besides Ivashov's nomination (failed, of course, since the organizers never even managed to hold an official nomination meeting), we observed no other activity by the DSR.

      Meanwhile, in December Sergei Baburin's ROS - the leading coalition member - started developing its own project to transform the ROS into a political party (in the past the ROS had voluntarily rejected this designation). As a result of the convention, which took place on December 17 in Moscow, the following people formed the party's political council: Nikolai Kuryanovich (former State Duma deputy from the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, known for his proximity to various right-wing groups), Roman Zentsov (leader of the Resistance group), Ivan Mironov (the son of Boris Mironov, implicated in the Anatoly Chubais assassination attempt), and A. Turik (SRN). The convention was also attended by the Russian Image representative Eugeny Valyaev; however, there were no reports regarding his organization's participation in the ROS party.

      Speaking of the Russian Image, we have to point out that the organization struggled throughout 2011 and missed all the unification projects. The underlying cause of it crisis was the scandal caused by the publication of the interrogation protocols of the former Russian Image leader Ilya Goryachev and Sergei Erzunov (soloist of the Right Hook ("Huk sprava") music group, connected to the Russian Image). Both witnesses gave testimony (important for prosecution) in the case of Nikita Tikhonov and Eugenia Khasis. The organization came to the defense of the "traitors," and its credibility in the right-wing circles fell almost to nothing.
      Besides attempts to unify publicly active organizations, their leaders constantly try to regain the trust of autonomous ultra-right groups. The projects to help the "right-wing political prisoners" constitute an important outreach method in this regard. This activity is definitely not new for the right radical milieu; however its visibility and popularity have increased noticeably following the high-profile trials of neo-Nazi groups in spring and summer.
      A good example of this trend is the Day of Solidarity with Right-Wing Political Prisoners observed by the right radicals on July 25 (on this day in 2002 the law "On Counteracting Extremist Activity" was adopted). While on prior occasions the Day of Solidarity had been used as a reason for a series of small public actions (the more of them, the better), in 2011 almost all major organizations of the radical right concentrated on collecting money for the prisoners: The ROD, the Russian Verdict (Alex Baranovski), the Right League (Alexei Samsonov), Phoenix (Maxim "Tesak" Martsinkevich,)[29] and the NSI. However, these projects do not necessarily enjoy unanimous right-wing support. The inevitable squabbles have their impact. Moreover, once the veteran of United Brigades-88 Sergei "Oper" Golubev served as a witness against Tikhonov and Khasis, the entire structure of POW-Center[30] aid organization came crashing down, and some voices within the movement started calling for not trusting the other ones as well.

      Public nationalist leaders never forget to stand up for the "right-wing political prisoners" in their speeches. In addition to demanding the abolition of the Criminal Code Article 282 (actually, a greater threat to these very leaders than to those, whom they refer to as "the guerillas"), these leaders always - including their statements during the December protest rallies - mention "thousands of political prisoners," referring to the members of the far right, currently held in custody for violent crime.

      Thus, in 2011 the public segment of the far-right slightly changed its organizational structure, but the main players remained the same. As shown below, their consolidation failed to solve the basic problems of legal right-wing organizations: their lack of respect from autonomous neo-Nazis, their narrow social base and the government pressure.
      ----------------

      Contacts with "Inside-the-system" Parties

      The new strategy of ultra-right groups was aimed not just at attracting new activists, but also at establishing contacts with other players on the political arena.

      Their movement into the ranks of the democratic opposition began with the "outside the system" segment (similarly in need of allies). The relationship was originally supposed to be built solely on the basis of a general aversion to the existing political situation.

      Thus, in early February prior to his departure from the DPNI Vladimir Thor had a series of meetings with Boris Nemtsov, Denis Bilunov (the Solidarity), Sergei Zhavoronkov (the Democratic Choice), and Alexei Nekrasov (the Five Demands (Piat' trebovaniy) project). According to V. Thor, the purpose of the meetings was to discus prospects for cooperation and conducting coordinated actions with the common purpose of "protesting against the current political regime." However, in practice, their cooperation has never developed.
      In addition to their negotiation initiatives, ultra-right organizations have decided to strengthen their contacts with other opposition leaders simply by joining their actions. For example, on March 18 the ROD Siberia, headed by Rostislav Antonov, practically led the retirees protest march in Novosibirsk against the abolition of transportation benefits, although the event was organized by other movements and initially had nothing to do with the extreme right. Other examples include participation of the DPNI and the NSI activists in the April 3 rally in St. Petersburg, organized by Yabloko party, or in the actions to protect the Khimki forest.[31]
      However, the presence of right-wing groups on the actions was often welcomed neither by the opposition nor by other far right groups. For example, the news of Thor's meeting with liberal politicians was ill-received even in the DPNI, where he was a member. The activists of the Yabloko party in St. Petersburg demanded that nationalists present at the rally take down their imperial flags and even asked the police to intervene. Yevgenia Chirikova took a lot of criticism from her colleagues, who felt that her association with right-wing radicals was unacceptable.

      In spring and summer, as the elections approached, many political actors, including the "inside-the system" parties, felt the public demand for ethno-nationalism and began to include its elements into their rhetoric. This, in turn, increased their possible basis for cooperation with the far right, since now their relations had a broader base than just their shared opposition to the current political regime.

      Thus in March the Just Cause (Pravoe delo) party conducted a round table with participation from the nationalists K. Krylov, A. Susov, A. Khramov, I. Lazarenko and Victor Militarev (the "former ROD"). The event demonstrated that the Just Cause included a significant number of those who partially or fully shared the nationalist views and were ready for cooperation.[32] When Mikhail Prokhorov joined the Just Cause party the situation didn't change. V. Militarev remained on the list of candidates for the Moscow Regional Duma. Certain activists started making mildly nationalist statements, and the leaders of the party's Moscow Regional branch and the Saratov branch declared that the Just Cause is willing to compete for nationalist votes. Changing the party emblem colors to the colors of the Russian imperial flag was intended as a positive signal toward the ultra-right. Another signal was Mikhail Prokhorov personally inviting Yevgeny Roizman to join the party. Roizman, the head of the City without Drugs (Gorod bez narkotikov) organization, has often made xenophobic statements, and became a popular figure among the right-wing activists after the events in Sagra.

      However, in August the issue of nationalism in the Just Cause sparked a scandal. Izvestia newspaper published an article, alleging that Boris Nadezhdin was supposedly recruiting "young skinheads" into his organization. Prokhorov then declared that the party included no nationalists, the Just Cause leaders stopped making questionable statements on the subject, and V. Militarev was taken off the party list of candidates to the Moscow Regional Duma. Later Prokhorov resigned as the party leader, and the Just Cause practically left the election process. Any possible attempts by the right-wing radicals to restore relations with the party would have served no purpose. However, the inner nationalist club ("the Republican Club") of the party still exists. [33]

      The Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (Liberal'no-demokraticheskaya partiia Rossii, LDPR) became yet another party willing to establish contact with the far right. In late spring the party began to organize round tables with participation from right-wing organizations ("the Russians", the ROD, the Russian Image, the RGS and the NDA) and other known right radical activists. In the early July this activity led to the establishment of the Russian Public Committee, with the K. Krylov and A. Belov among its leaders.

      Moreover, on June 11 the LDPR conducted a joint rally with the ultra-right, the Day of the Russian People, where the speakers, in addition to Zhirinovsky, included A. Belov, K. Krylov, V. Thor, the leader of the Union of Orthodox Banner Bearers (Soiuz pravoslavnykh khorugvenostsev) Leonid Simonovich-Niksic and the leader of the Danish National Front Lars Wittmann.[34] The party also introduced in the State Duma an obviously impassable bill that called for the abolition of the law "On Counteracting Extremist Activity" (hated by right-wing radicals).[35]

      However, to the extreme right's disappointment, the LDPR's electoral lists included none of their representatives, and their joint activity (if exists) no longer enters the mediasphere.
      The LDPR, unlike the Just Cause, have never repudiated its nationalist attitude. In the fall they took part in an anti-Islamic campaign unfolding around the Kurban Bayram (Eid al-Adha) holiday celebration, by introducing a draft bill in the State Duma that suggested regulating sacrifices on Muslim holidays.[36] In November Vladimir Zhirinovsky, commented on the ethnic situation in Komi Republic in such a manner that the Head of the Republic declared the LDPR leader persona non grata until he apologized. In December the LDPR faced a new scandal in connection with the anti-Semitic statements by its Duma deputy Andrey Tkachenko.[37]

      The Just Russia (Spravedlivaia Rossiya) party has also been observed making contact with right-wing radicals. In June, the party's youth organization (OSA) became a collective member of the People's Cathedral (Narodnyi Sobor) movement; OSA's leader, Nikita Slepnev at that time was a member of the Just Russia's Central Council. In the autumn of 2011 Slepnev left the party.

      However, the party's contacts with right-wing radicals continued. On October 22 activists of the Just Russia took part in an unsanctioned rally "No more feeding Moscow!"[38] organized in Novosibirsk by the ROD Siberia, and on November 4th Ilya Ponomarev, the State Duma deputy from the Just Russia, addressed the Novosibirsk Russian March.

      In contrast to all the above-listed parties, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) had no significant contact with ultra-right organizations and their activists. However, this lack of communication did not prevent their campaign from acquiring a xenophobic tone. In January, apparently inspired by the Manezhnaya Square events, they formally established the Russian Harmony (Russkii Lad) nationalist movement, headed by the State Duma deputy from the KPRF Vladimir Nikitin.[39] For three quarters of the year the movement barely functioned but in October the KPRF once again started actively promoting it, thus indicating its position on the "Russian question". In addition, in the same month of October a scandal unfolded around the Communist Party following the anti-Semitic statements of Sergei Igumenov,[40] its Samara Provincial Duma candidate. In November the KPRF candidate Pavel Grudinin was taken off the Moscow Regional Duma list for making a series of discriminatory statements in his interview to the Russian Reporter (Russkii Reporter) magazine.[41]

      The ruling party also responded to public demand for ethno-nationalism. Over the summer the Congress of Russian Communities (Kongress russkikh obschin, KRO) reentered the political arena along with its former leader Dmitry Rogozin. Rogozin later called on the KRO members to support United Russia and Vladimir Putin personally.[42] In August the KRO received its registration from the Ministry of Justice, and in the fall they even worked out a deal for a bilateral agreement with United Russia (never actually implemented. During his brief reemergence, D. Rogozin, managed to provoke a scandal with his anti-Islamic statements regarding the Kurban Bayram[43] holiday celebration. He also held an early October meeting with representatives of youth organizations in the Presidential Administration building that included one of the Russian Image leaders among the attendees.
      In general, the government policies in this area during the election period seemed ambivalent and even inspired a theory that the authorities wanted to "privatize" the topic of ethnic nationalism, in order to gain additional political points. On the one hand, President Dmitry Medvedev in summer and fall of 2011 repeatedly called on the "inside-the system" parties to exclude any ethno-nationalist rhetoric from their election campaigns,[44] and, judging by the drop in xenophobic statements in the autumn months, the parties heeded his request.

      However, on the other hand, United Russia continued the above-mentioned contacts with the KRO and Dmitry Rogozin. Even more importantly, in response to the conviction of two pilots, the Russian and the Estonian, in Tajikistan, Russia initiated the deportation campaign against Tajik labor migrants, which was widely perceived as xenophobic. The ultra-right groups certainly welcomed the campaign, and several of them, such as the Moscow Defense League and Igor Mangushev's Bright Russia (Svetlaia Rus'), even participated in the raids against Tajiks in the Central and South-Western Administrative Districts of Moscow alongside the police officers (which was, in our opinion, completely inappropriate).

      The contacts between ultra-right parties and the accepted "inside-the system" parties only increased the overall xenophobia level of the election campaign, but never delivered any tangible benefits to the parties (the LDPR, which gained some votes from additional constituents with xenophobic views, might be the only exception). However, the mere fact that almost all of the "inside-the-system" parties participated in the ethno-nationalist discourse in one way or the other brought its visibility to a higher level.
      ----------------

      Ultra-right Rallies and Marches

      After the events on Manezhnaya Square in Moscow and the ensuing riots ultra-right groups enthusiastically took to organizing various public events, hoping to repeat the success of December 2010.

      However, in the early months of the year, when the law enforcement agencies were demonstrating in every way their willingness to suppress any right-wing rally, the far-right was unable to organize a mass gathering. For a while actions, proposed by the December 11th Movement, seemed to represent the most promising option. The Movement's proposal was to hold rallies on squares in different cities on the 11th day of each month in order to remind the public about the Manezhnaya Square events and about the existence of activists.[45] Despite their vigorous promotion of the first few actions, despite attendance by the leaders of extreme right organizations, and despite the fact that the majority of autonomous nationalists supported the idea, organizing anything that could qualify as a mass event proved to be impossible. By the fall right-wing radicals abandoned their futile attempts to conduct any events on the 11th day of each month and switched to other subjects.

      The "No more feeding the Caucasus" rally in Moscow, organized by the ROD and the RGS on April 23 became the first significant public action of 2011.[46] The event attracted only about 250 participants, but the organizers did not abandon the issue; on the contrary they doggedly continued to pursue it further.

      The Russian May Day[47] was the second relatively mass action which became a test of strength for "the Russians" coalition, even more so due to their conflict with the DPNI. The ROD Association did not participate in this Moscow event. The march brought together about 600 people, the same number as in the previous year. Given the fact that this was a traditional event that needed no further promotion, held against the backdrop of hope, triggered by the increased number of participants in the Russian March of 2010 and continuing high "post-Manezhnaya" right-wing mobilization, the attendance of 600 people was perceived as somewhat of a failure for the new coalition. "The Russians" were more successful in St. Petersburg, where the RID and the NSI (both of them the coalition members) were quite active. The event brought together about 250 people compared to 150 last year.[48]

      The Russian May Day was also successful in Saratov. The Saratov march was organized by the Russian Bloc coalition, which, in addition to the National-Patriots of Russia (Natsional-Patrioty Rossii), led by Ilya Mayorov and the local DPNI branch (Pavel Galaktionov) also included the ROD Volga Region.[49] About 100 people attended the action, despite the fact that this was the first ever May Day event conducted in the region by activists of the radical right, and that their Russian March in the autumn of 2010 brought together no more than 50 activists. However, later the Saratov action provoked a conflict between the members of the Russian Bloc coalition, unhappy with the ROD Volga Region taking an exclusive credit for the event's success.

      In the summer right-wing radicals had several opportunities for high-profile public actions: the murder of ex-Colonel Yuri Budanov on June 10 in Moscow; the conflicts in two villages, Sagra and in Nevskaya Dubrovka, which occurred on July 1 and 11 respectively,[50] and the death of student Ivan Agafonov in a confrontation with athlete Rasul Mirzaev in Moscow on August 15.

      Each of these events received considerable attention, partly due to the advocacy of the extreme right, but none of the associated actions attracted mass participation. Right-wing radicals attempted to publicize Sagra and Nevskaya Dubrovka incidents using the now-familiar "Kondopoga technology," but the outrage regarding the Sagra events dissipated as soon as the arrest of the bandits, who had attacked the village, was announced, and Nevskaya Dubrovka residents remained altogether indifferent to nationalist's appeals call to come out for a public gathering. With regard to Sagra and other similar events, it should be noted that many media outlets play into the hands of right-wing radicals by interpreting conflicts as ethnic, even in the cases when they are, in fact, purely criminal in nature.

      However, the largely accidental death of I. Agafonov and even the obviously political
      assassination of Yuri Budanov failed to generate anything even remotely resembling a "second Manezh" despite the expectations of many right-wing activists and mass media. Several possible explanations can be found in each case, but it is generally apparent that disturbances and riots are impossible to predict and not so easy to organize. Note that the ROD and the RGS, who pose as moderates, also undertook an attempt to organize the protests, fraught with the possibility of rioting, in connection with the Agafonov's case.
      As the election season approached, the street activity of right-wing radicals kept growing as well. The Russian Platform, established in the fall of 2011, declared and actually tried to organize a countrywide campaign under the slogan "No more feeding the Caucasus!" The first action of this new campaign was timed to coincide with the Day of Remembrance for Victims of Ethnic Crime, traditionally held on October 1. This provoked another conflict between the RP and "the Russians" coalition - the latter concluded that the RP wants to steal their idea (the idea of action "against ethnic crime" was proposed by the DPNI in 2009) and refused to participate in the campaign, organizing their own event instead. The RP managed to outperform "the Russians" bringing 300 participants to their march, compared to the 150-200 participants at the competing event.[51]

      The Russian Platform tried to build on this success by imposing their "No more feeding the Caucasus!" slogan on other members of the far-right movement as the main theme of the upcoming Russian March. Soon, however, the organization abandoned confrontation. Probably, the small number of participants attracted by the nationwide event held under this slogan on October 22[52] cooled the RP's ardor. In Moscow even widely announced participation of popular blogger Alexei Navalny had no effect on the size of the meeting (once again, about 300 people). Nevertheless, the action attracted media attention, and nationalists managed to become a significant element of the public agenda for the first time since the Manezhnaya Square events. The slogan was actively discussed outside of the far-right circles and was even mentioned during the December Straight Line (Priamaia Liniia) TV program with Vladimir Putin.

      Traditionally, the Russian March became the main event of the autumn, taking place in at least 35 cities of the country (compared to 29 the year before)[53] on November 4, 2011. Despite being able to add several new cities to the list of participants (and, in some cases, gathering more activists than in previous years under the nationalist slogans) the Russian March of 2011 did not become as much of a sensation, as it was in 2010, because the number of activists on the most important sites - Moscow and St. Petersburg - did not increase. About 6000 people gathered In Lublino area of Moscow (vs. 5500 the year before), and only 500 (vs. 1000 the year before) in St. Petersburg's South Seaside Park, despite the performance by the singer from the Kolovrat band, popular among the neo-Nazis. The Moscow event cannot be really considered a failure - after all, it was the highest attended Russian March in the event's history - but the March clearly did not meet the expectations of its organizers, who projected the attendance of 20,000 people.[54]

      Even participation of popular blogger Alexei Navalny had no effect on the size of the meeting. After the Russian March it became evident that the blogger's fans mostly don't share nationalist ideas and don't plan to follow him to public actions organized by the radical right.

      An annual rally in St. Petersburg, conducted for the past two years by the organizations that currently constitute "the Russians" coalition, showed that unification failed to produce even a medium-term cumulative effect. On the contrary, it led to a noticeable decline in numbers of activists ready to follow the leaders. Bobrov's NSI suffered perhaps the greatest image losses from entering into a coalition; until then it still managed to maintain their authority and respect in the eyes of autonomous neo-Nazis (the NSI's principal audience).
      Finally, we would like to comment on the "Russian Runs" (Russkie probezhki), a new form of street action mastered by the ultra-right in 2011.
      The "Runs" was a natural outgrowth of the two trends previously observed in the ultra-right movement. First, for the past several years nationalist organizations have sought to be included in various social projects (donorship, aiding orphanages and families with many children, neighborhood clean-up, supporting healthy lifestyle, etc.). These projects help right-wing radicals to build a positive image in the eyes of their potential supporters, the authorities and the general public. They also provide an opportunity to communicate directly with ordinary people, especially the youth. However, apparently due to the growth of specifically political activity, most of these projects went into decline (except for a few projects of the slightly isolated Russian Image), while the imperative to reach a fresh young audience remained.

      Second, a significant number of people among the far-right youth are engaged in a variety of sports, usually martial arts or strength training. The Straight Edge subculture focused on the "healthy lifestyle" (HLS) has recently grown in popularity. The popularity of the "healthy lifestyle" has been a valuable resource for the ultra-right.

      In early January of 2011 a new initiative was born and immediately attracted the attention of right-wing groups and the nationalism-inclined youth - jogging events under a general slogan "Russian Means Sober" These actions (thanks largely to the TV reporting) quickly gained prominence and continued in many cities even after the winter break. Right-wing organizations joined in actively promoting the races, taking part in them, and even organizing similar events of their own. Their interest in the action was further fueled by the official opposition, soon faced by the runners (activists were detained, and attempts to receive permission often failed) - so the event conveniently acquired a political interpretation, "the authorities prohibiting the Russians to jog." Ina and of themselves, these activities carried no threat, but gradually they began to develop into a mechanism for involving secondary school students into the ultra-right movement. For example, during the Russian March in Moscow a separate column of young people held the "Russian Runs" banner, in St. Petersburg some activists arrived at the event after having attended the "Russian means sober" race, and in Vladimir, the "Sobriety Race" became the principal format of the event. Far-right groups lost interest in the races, once the government stopped official resistance, apparently having realized that creating obstacles for these events was bound to make things worse. The "Russian Runs" still continue.
      ----------------

      Participation in the December Protests

      The situation changed dramatically for the nationalists as a result of the December 4 elections. Prior to that, they rightly viewed themselves as the most active political force in the country (it is sufficient to consider to size of their public events, once we exclude holiday "folk festivals" organized by the KPRF and United Russia from comparison). They were confident that an event was about to happen that would bring out tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of their supporters. However, the post-election public protest spilled onto the streets not under nationalist slogans, but under liberal ones.

      One of the prominent distinct ultra-right actions was an unapproved rally in the evening of December 4 near the Revolution Square metro station, announced as far back as the Russian March. Besides the leaders of the ultra-right organizations only 100-150 people attended the action; most of them were detained.
      On December 5 some representatives of the ultra-right movement took part in a protest rally held on Chistye Prudy in Moscow. Activists from the organizations which sought contact with the Liberals back in 2010 - the Russian Citizens Union (Alexander Khramov, Anton Susov) and the National-Democratic Alliance (Ilya Lazarenko, Alexei Shiropaev) were standing with their flags. Lazarenko and Khramov even addressed the gathering. The rally was attended by K. Krylov and V Thor (the ROD), but they were not admitted on stage.
      It is also remarkable, that during this action A. Navalny for the first time tried to emphasize his loyalty to the ultra-right in front of the mostly liberal and left-wing audience, ending his speech with a popular nationalist slogan "One for all and all for one." Known to each (post)Soviet man and woman, the slogan was picked up by the crowd, as people apparently, simply didn't catch the nod to the nationalists.

      The ultra-right also attended the unapproved December 6 opposition rally on Triumfalnaya Square in Moscow. Alla Gorbunova (from K. Krylov's ROD) was seen on the square. Some right-wing radicals on the Square joined the other opposition (for example, the Freemen (Vol'nitsa) group), while others took part in the counter-rally of the United Russia's Young Guard (Molodaia gvardiia 'Edinoi Rossii', MGER). Later, many right-wing radicals called for "exposing" those who participated in the MGER rally).

      The post-election political activity caused a split in the ultra-right movement. Some right-wing radicals regarded the rising tide of protests as a sign of an impending revolution and urged their supporters to participate in the new actions as actively as possible in order to seize the initiative. In particular, "the Russians" suggested that nationalists stand as a separate column, use as much imperial symbolism as possible, and shout down liberal slogans with their own ones. The Russian Platform member organizations took a similar position. The other activists characterized the actions as "Jewish", "Orange" (referring to the Orange Revolution in Ukraine), and "paid for by the US State Department," and urged the far right not to participate in them, and even to counteract the protesters. This category includes, first of all, a substantial part of autonomous neo-Nazis, although not all of them (see above re: the Freemen). [55]

      The Moscow rally "against election fraud" on December 10 showed that the majority of the capital's right-wing radicals chose not to participate. Those, who still decided to attend, gathered mainly near the Revolution Square metro station (the original intended location, before the authorities moved the action to Bolotnaya Square) in order to demonstrate that, unlike the liberals, they will not "bow to the rulers." However, as time went on, it became clear that all political groups arrived at the same decision - to gather on the Revolution Square and march from there to Bolotnaya Square, so nationalists found themselves in the same column with anti-fascists (however, no clashes were observed). The action was attended by leaders of "the Russians" coalition and the Russian Platform, as well as by Valery Solovey,[56] the MGIMO professor, whose popularity among the moderate wing of the ultra-right has been noticeably increasing. Overall about 500 people walked in groups with the imperial flags and the RGS flags.

      The rally organizers gave the floor only to K. Krylov (at Alexei Navalny's request) from among all the nationalists. Krylov's address almost completely matched the liberal tone of the meeting, and after his single reference to the "Russian Revolution" the majority of those present at the rally expressed their obvious disapproval. Other attendees also explicitly protested any attempts by ultra-right activists to shout their own slogans, use torches, etc.
      Unlike the Moscow rally, the rallies in other cities had no overwhelming majority of purely "non-partisan" but rather liberally-oriented attendees over activists of various political groups, so the latter played a more visible role. Right-wing radicals particularly benefitted from the situation, since their activity was much more visible than in Moscow. In St. Petersburg the right-wing radicals booed several speakers or silenced them by clapping, for example, not permitting Viktor Shenderovich to finish his address.

      A rally in Nizhny Novgorod brought together about 5000 people, including a very active subset of nationalists. They got the crowd excited and led it in the singing of "Katyusha" (a protest activity suggested by the December 11 Movement). Several times the crowd, directed by the nationalists, chanted the slogan "Glory to Russia." However, a conclusion about the mega-popularity of nationalists in Nizhny Novgorod would be premature, since the rally attendees could have failed to identify the "Katyusha" song and even the "Glory to Russia!" slogan as the ultra-right attributes.

      After the high-profile events of December 10 one could expect many nationalists, unhappy with the success of the "liberals," to retaliate by attending the December 11 action marking the anniversary of the Manezhnaya Square riots. [57] However, even in Moscow their approved meeting on Bolotnaya Square failed to attract more than 300-400 people, much fewer people than gathered at the same place the day before. Part of the crowd attempted to break through onto Manezhnaya Square, but almost all of them were detained by police.
      The following round of the opposition-wide protests was planned for December 24, but, in the meantime, other rallies, also attended by nationalists, were taking place. At the December 17 Yabloko rally on Bolotnaya Square nationalists had little visibility, but the organizers still gave the floor to V. Thor, despite the fact that the Yabloko party had repeatedly proclaimed its refusal to collaborate with even moderate nationalists. In St. Pet<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
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