Today’s Moscow Times has an article on the Trial of “Decembrists”, the trial of 39 National Bolshevik members for seizing a Presidential office last December. The moniker “Decembrists” shouldn’t slip notice. The Decembrists were nobles and about 3000 soldiers who tried to prevent Nicholas I from being crowned Tsar after the death of Alexander I. It was said that the nobles that headed the revolt sought to install a constitutional monarchy. Always conscious of history, Limonov’s group staged their siege on December 14, the same day the original Decembrists revolted.
The Moscow Times article describes the court’s hard handedness toward the “Decembrists.” This is only going to get the Natsbols support since many Russians will probably sympathize with their and their parents’ claims that their crime doesn’t fit their treatment.
There is something to be said about the Time’s claims that Limonov’s group is “arguably the most popular political movement among urban youth.” I believe there is some truth to this because of some of the things I wrote in the previous post on them. Their radical rhetoric and political aesthetics make them attractive to a section of Russian youth culture that is looking to strike back at the government. The Natsbols are not punks. They are punk rockers.
But the concentration on the Natsbols diverts attention away from what I think is a much more frightening group. That is Nashi, (Our own). Here is an except from a recent interview in Novaya Gazeta with its leader, Vasili Yakemenko:
Question: You have frequently labeled people with quite liberal beliefs as fascists.
Vasili Yakemenko: Well, there are fascists – Wahhabis, extremists – and then there are their sympathizers: Yavlinsky, Khakamada, the Free Choice 2008 Committee, and Garry Kasparov.
Question: Don’t you think that Kasparov, as a Jew, is by definition incapable of being a fascist or Wahhabi sympathizer?
Vasili Yakemenko: It doesn’t matter to me who he is. You’re asking the questions of a three-year-old child. Let’s have a normal interview, otherwise I will stop talking to you.
Question: And you don’t count the skinhead gangs as fascists, although they actually do kill people on racial grounds?
Vasili Yakemenko: Those who kill people on racial grounds are always fascists. Nonetheless, “skinhead” is not a system of values; these gangs have no ideology. These are simply socially maladjusted guys. This is a category of people with whom it is possible and necessary to work.
Question: It has been rumored that your movement includes the football fan groups. One of the leaders, Vasya the Killer, was even seen at your congress. It was rumored that he attacked the bunker of National Bolshevik Party according to your request?
Vasili Yakemenko: This is not true. I am against violence.
Question: Yes, but in a speech you gave in in Kursk you stated that if you “contacted some colleagues from fans of the Spartak football club” and brought them to Kiev, they would havedispersed all the orange protesters.
Vasili Yakemenko: I have no Spartak supporter colleagues. I said that if a group of a few thousand people with physical strength was brought in from Moscow to counter the demonstrators in Kiev, there would be no trace left of the demonstrators.
Question: Of course, this contradicts the statement that you are against violence. But you admit cooperation with football supporter gangs?
Vasili Yakemenko: They are young people being football enthusiasts, that is all. If we need them for some reason, I do not see any problem in this.
Question: Is a color revolution possible in Russia?
Vasili Yakemenko: If everyone stands by and watches indifferently as these processes develop, including financing from foreign foundations, yes.
Question: If you had been in Leonid Kuchma’s place, what would you have done?
Vasili Yakemenko: There wouldn’t have been a revolution. I would have brought in the armed forces two days earlier to make everything secure, and nobody would have dare to go there. But no one had the will to do that.
(Source: David Johnson’s Russia List #9191, Translation: Pavel Pushkin)
And they call the National Bolsheviks fascist?!
According to today’s Kommersant, this past weekend Nashi opened a camp for its members in Tver oblast. The camp was for developing “nationally orientated managers and plans.” At the two week camp, members will play sports and listen to lectures by Sergei Markov, Director of the Institute of Political Research in Ukraine, Viacheslav Nikonov, President of the Polity Foundation, and economist Andrei Parshev. The article notes that opponents of Nashi, like Ilia Yashin from Yabloko Youth simply see the youths at the Nashi camp as shock troops and suggests that there is a special “detachment” of Nashi members called the Power Bloc, which is made of up football hooligans. Considering Yakemenko’s statements above, that might not be to far from the truth. Yakemenko’s response to charges that the Nashi camps is for “shock troops” was to point out that the attendees are “very polite boys and girls, and don’t look like shock troops.”