As a few of us discovered yesterday, the website for the pro-Kremlin youth organization Nashi is blocked for users with non-Russian IP addresses. Entering www.nashi.su into your favorite browser will turn up a “403 Forbidden” error. I’ve had limited success getting around this block using Russian proxy servers. While it happens that some websites and blogs are blocked by some countries (as Nathan Hamm at Registan.net recently discovered), I assume it seems less common that a site will block access to readers outside the host country.
Then again, one wonders if the problem has deeper meaning. According to a report from February a number of Russian nationalist sites have been blocked by the authorities. Hackers have retaliated with targeting pro-Kremlin sites.
The websites might also be out of service because of hackers’ back-to-back attacks on behalf of the nationalist and anti-fascist movements in
. Websites of the youth Nashi and Molodaia Gvardiia movements had also been out of service for some time. Russia
At the moment the Molodaia Gvardiia site is accessible and working. This brings me to believe that Nashi has blocked access to their own site. Kinda gives a whole new meaning to “Our own.”
If anyone has any additional information or theories, please pass them along.
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By Sean — 11 years ago
It was only a matter of time before this was going to happen. The Moscow City Court has ruled that the National Bolshevik Party constitutes an “extremist organization.” This ruling legally liquidates the NBP since authorities can now arrest anyone who participants in the group. Participation in an “extremist group” comes with the penalty of a 200,000 ruble fine and up to two years in prison.
NBP lawyer, Sergei Belyak, called the rulling “shameful and appalling, it is not based on law at all.” Eduard Limonov declared it a “farce.” That is, he backed away from any responsibility for leading the group. “An organization called NBP has not been registered with any state agency, and there is no evidence that I am leading any organization or party.” Now all of a sudden Limonov is no longer the leader of an organization that is wholly identified with him. “I am a famous writer and ideologist,” he told the court. “But I cannot be the head of an organization that does not exist.” He also apparently explained that “he now attends events as an individual and insisted he is no more than a symbol of the group.” Way to take a stand, Eddie.
Garry Kasparov is also under the “extremist” lens. The chess champion was summed by the FSB on Tuesday for a “meeting.” A statement on his website said that “the FSB was investigating whether, in a radio interview he gave before the protest and in a newspaper published by the opposition movement, he made calls for extremist action.”
The State Duma is also looking to add amendments to the extremism law. Amendments were passed a second and third reading on Wednesday that introduces “fines of 2,500 rubles for individuals and 100,000 rubles for companies that make, sell or purchase Nazi paraphernalia” and increased the penalty for “vandalizing property during political or ideological protests to a maximum of three years in prison.”
The amendments will surely make things worse for the rank and file NBPer. Their symbols and activities can easily be classified under both these amendments. And they don’t have the luxury, like Limonov, to declare themselves a “famous writer and ideologist” nor can they find sanctuary in the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal, like Gary Kasparov did, and cry injustice to the corporate intelligentsia. For a taste of how National Bolsheviks and other protesters are treated by the Russian police, I suggest reading Galina Stolyarova’s article “Brutality as Usual” on Transitions Online. She writes,
Andrei Dmitriev, National Bolshevik leader in
, says he has firsthand experience with the subject [of police abuse]. St. Petersburg
Dmitriev was taken to the police station for talks in the run-up to last July’s G8 summit in
. Since June the police had been pressuring opposition activists to “keep quiet” during the prestigious political event. St. Petersburg
He said the talks swiftly turned violent. “The officers attacked me, handcuffed me, and ripped off my clothes,” he recalled. “They threatened to rape me and were saying all sorts of humiliating things, while also taking photographs of me crawling on the floor.
“It continued for five hours, and it was a nightmare,” he added. “If I had a choice I would probably have preferred being beaten.”
Dmitriev says torture is used systematically against members of protest groups and small opposition parties.
“After our men are detained and taken to police stations after a street protest, it typically involves an excruciating level of violence against us,” he said. “They beat us so hard there are puddles of blood on the floor at the scene.”
During the beating the police reportedly demand “cooperation,” seeking to recruit informants, try to obtain confessions, or even prevent a protest event.
This kinda throws Limonov’s and Kasparov’s “heroics” into a whole new light. As always, when leaders are dancing in the media limelight, the only stars the rank and file youths are seeing are those spinning around their bludgeoned heads.Post Views: 39
By Sean — 10 years ago
Rubashov from Darkness at Noon has been hibernating for the past month or so after returning from research. He has returned with an great post titled “The Sound of Marching Boots . . .” about DMD and Nashi and their role in the upcoming Duma elections. He also links the informative Moscow Times article on the subject. I strongly urge readers to check out Rubashov’s discussion.Post Views: 41
By Sean — 12 years ago
Youth political activism in Russia is a tale of two youths. One stands in front of a line of police in riot gear in St. Petersburg, a black or red handkerchief over his nose and mouth to disguise his face. He is probably a member of Red Youth Vanguard (AKM), the National Bolshevik Party, an anarchist, or an environmentalist. He will most likely get beaten and then arrested. He will spend up to 10 days in jail or until the Russian authorities decide to release him.
In many ways he is lucky to get this far. Many activists protesting at the G8 Summit this past weekend, like St. Petersburg Natsbol leader Andrei Dmitriev and AKM leader Sergei Udal’?tsov were victims of preemptive arrests. According to Kommersant, Udal??tsov was scooped up with several other AKMtsy and taken to Moscow, where they were then released. On June 13, Dmitriev was arrested and taken by bus to Tver Oblast, where he was kept incommunicado for more than a day. His relatives made a complaint to the Petersburg prosecutor arguing that his disappearance was “comparable to abductions in Chechnya.”? Official charges against Dmitriev were never filed. He says that UPOB officers (the Department for the Struggle Against Organized Crime) told him that the leadership wanted him held until the end of the Summit. As of today the Russian State still holds 200 activists in prison without charges or for minor offenses of “disrupting the public order.”? Such is the nature of youth political dissent in Russia.
The other Russian youth is currently at Lake Seliger in Tver Oblast at the second annual Nashi summer camp. Last year this time, 3,000 Nashi commissars met for festivities and training. This year the camp holds 5,000 Nashi members from over 50 cities. If last year’?s camp more resembled the Soviet Pioneers, with Soviet songs drifting through the camp grounds and youths meeting with important officials from Putin’?s government, this year’?s Camp Seliger has taken more pages from the Soviet Komsomol rather than its younger charges. The youth at this Nashi Camp was treated to lectures in “Putin’?s Domestic Policies”? and the “?Ideology of Vladimir Putin”?. Putin has enjoyed a personality cult among the Nashisty from its inception. Adulations to Putin aside, the main focus of this years camp was much more nationalistic and militaristic. The main theme of the camp revolved around its new program called “?Our Army,”? which was adopted at Nashi’s Congress in April. Like the Komsomol before it, “Our Army”? specifically looks to encourage youths to join the army. They even get a taste of army life at the summer camp. “We must explain to the entire generation that the question of whether to serve in the army or not does not have a right to exist,” says then Nashi leader Vasilii Yakemenko.
Providing paramilitary training to Nashi members immediately raises the systemic problem of dedovshchina. I won’t belabor this issue again since I’?ve written about it several times before. It also can’t help Nashi’?s cause when two more brutal cases of dedovshchina came to light this week. The Kremlin has done nothing but give lip service to the problem, and it seems that, according to the St. Petersburg Times, the trial of Private Sychyov assailants has hit a roadblock because on the prosecutions “star witnesses,” one Artyom Nikitin, has recanted his testimony. Sychyov was severly beaten six months ago to the point where his legs had to be amputated because they developed gangrene.
Still, the fear of dedovshchina among Nashisty is probably fairly low. You can’?t sway the converted. For them, the culture of hazing in the Russian military is the result of a few bad apples and not a systemic culture that has been born, bred and tolerated, if not encouraged, but the authorities. Good, well trained and dedicated Nashisty, like their Komsomol forefathers, will simply solve the problem by their sheer presence in the armed forces. After all, members of “Our Army”? being trained at Segiler are addressing the question of hazing so that “it will not occur.”? After all, like in Soviet times, if the Party says “????!,” the Komsomol replies, “????!”
So there you have it, two youths. One anti-Putin to the core. The other ready and willing to act as his shield and dagger. There is a middle ground between them that is occupied by more moderate, and liberal forces. And like always, a mass of politically neutral, if not apathetic, Russian youth surrounding them all. We should not forget that even to Nashi’s right there are the skinheads and other anti-immigrant and racist youth groups like the Eurasian Youth League. These only help Nashi appear like they occupy the center and gave their antifascist slogans sincerity. In reality, they have more in common with these political undesirables than with the radical left.
While Nashi may conjure illusions to the Komsomol, the far left is not antithetical to the League’s history. Not all Komsomol members kowtowed to the Party. In fact, post-revolutionary militancy found a home in the organization. During the doldrums of the New Economic Policy in the 1920s, many Komsomols felt that the Revolution entered a Thermidor, as they were told to “learn”? communism rather than fight for it; and to tolerate class enemies rather than liquidate them and throw their remains into the dustbin of History. The Bolshevik Party appeared moribund and conservative, and after Lenin died in 1924, many Komsomol youth felt it was them and not the Party that carried the true banner of Leninism. These were the youths often took to Trotsky’?s message of anti-bureaucratism and the destruction of NEP. That is, until he was exiled and they were expelled in a wave of Komsomol purges in late 1920s. Ironically, these “bratishki” as they were called because of their adherence to Civil War methods, found solace when Stalin called on them to “?liquidate the kulak as a class”? and root out class enemies in his Revolution from Above. One gets the impression that if the tables were turned, and the Natsbols or the AKM were in the same position of power as Nashi, the Civil War myth of the bratishka would find a new audience.
Some may point to the fact that the present youth movement in Russia is marginal. Even Nashi has small numbers in relation to population. Enthusiasm, belief and will backed with power, however, can overcome most numerical deficiencies. The Komsomol was only 2 million in 1928 and it moved social, political, economic, and cultural mountains. Putin’?s camp as well as Limonov’s seems to understand this.
Even if groups like Nashi and the Natsbols are hatched from the same historical ilk, they are as reconcilable as Cain and Abel. The Komsomol had to squash its opposition on both the left and the right, and I would imagine that Nashi will try to do the same. There is already some indication that they are already making an attempt, if last August’s attack on a meeting of radical left youths near Avtozavodskaya is any indication. One would also suspect that the far right will be gradually assimilated. Skins and Eurasian Youths are not a contradiction to Nashi’?s ultimate goals; only their rhetoric is misguided.
As of now our two archetypical political youth are more standing face to face rather than fist to face. But opposing mass movements can??t withstand detente for long. Leftwing youth promise to push forward during the 2008 Presidential election. Nashi plans to push back and prevent any disruption of a smooth transition to Putin’s handpicked successor. As for the Russian security forces, they got to test out a variety of repressive methods this past weekend. In two years we just might see Nashisty next to them, cuffing and dragging away a Natsbol for a stint in the black hole of incommunicado.
Photos: Kommersant and Reuters.Post Views: 62