This was the 3rd annual such march in Moscow. While last years march resulted in many arrests, this year Moscow police issued a march permit for a relatively low-traffic area of the city.
The march included the cowboy hat wearing Preston Wiginton, a white supremacist from Texas. Wiginton spoke to the crowd, cheering "Glory to Russia," with the audience responding "white power" back to him in English.
Hey, so there is something we Americans and Russians have in common. Racist bigots. Hurray.
"Russia for Russians!" the demonstrators shouted in unison, followed by slogans such as "For a Slavic, Russian nation!" or "Slavic, Russian, Powerful!" The demonstrators stretched out their arms in the Hitler salute between slogans. Their loud shouts of "Slavic Russia!" were followed by the sound of drum rolls.If the use of the word Caucasians in the negative sounds unfamiliar to the less traveled American readers, it is because while we use the word Caucasian to indicate anyone of white race, Russians (and many Europeans) use the word to indicate people from the Caucasus Mountains. Again, for the unfamiliar - many Russians perceive such people to be non-white.
"We are opposed to the immigration of Caucasians and Asians to Russia. Our people must remain pure. Russia belongs to us," 32-year-old Andrey Bukov explains. The trained media expert says he has been "serving" in the Movement Against Illegal Immigration (DPNI) for four years. He waves its white, yellow and black flag, which features a symbol resembling a swastika.
Nineteen-year-old Sergei carries the red flag of his group -- the "Slavic Union" -- tied around his shoulders. "We Russians are part of the white race," he says. "The blacks -- the Caucasians, the Chechens, the Dagestani -- should stay away," says the Muscovite, a student at the Finance Academy.
The utter brilliance of the marchers is demonstrated further into the Spiegel article, by a short interview with Olga and Darya:
Pensioner Monika Nikolayeva [says] "When it comes to our children, there is not even enough money to send them to university in Russia." That is why she believes it is good that young people take to the streets and protest. "Young girls in particular only get limited education!"Further analysis in the article is provided by Andreas Umland, "an expert in comparative fascism studies who specializes in Russia." Mr. Umland believes that these neo-nazi's are welcome bogeymen by the Kremlin, that their existence justifies strong-armed tactics by the government, with the increased use of extremism laws and other crack-downs on civil liberties. Of course, the Kremlin and law enforcement officials seem loathe to use those laws and measures against the ultra-nationalist bogeymen, preferring instead to crack the heads and knuckles of any organized liberal parties and individuals who dare fault or make a joke about Putin.
The young girls she means are technical university students like Olga and Darya, who are marching beneath the flags. "We're against everything. We're patriots," rants 18-year-old Olga. She and her 19-year-old friend have traveled to Moscow from Rostov-on-Don in southern Russia to attend the demonstration. Asked what they are demonstrating against, she is at a loss for a moment. Then she stutters: "Against the anti-Russian policy in the world -- I can't say it any more clearly."
From the Associated Press article on the event:
"This is just an outbreak of national identity feelings, which is noticeable worldwide, and it has affected Russia too," said Vyacheslav Postavnin, deputy director of the Federal Migration Service, the Interfax news agency reported.I encourage you to read the rest of the article for additional details and observations by Simone Schlindwein.
In the first Russian March in 2005, thousands marched through central Moscow, some shouting "Heil Hitler." The march horrified many Muscovites, and the following year it was blocked by police.
"The first Russian March was unexpected good luck, the second one was about overcoming the resistance of the authorities, and the third one is already a new Russian tradition," said Konstantin Krylov of the nationalist Russian Social Movement.
Other marches on National Unity Day included the Yabloko party rally against fascism and xenophobia. The pro-Kremlin Nashi youth group assembled a "peace quilt" from the contributions of thousands of young people across Russia.
Sean's Russia Blog discusses how National Unity Day has actually served to highlight Russia's fractured and disunited nature. Neo-Nazi marches certainly add an exclamation point to his discussion.
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