Ukrainian and Russian bloggers published a list of accounts in various social networks, belonging to “volunteers” from Russia who are fighting for Donetsk and Lugansk “people’s republics”. It is noteworthy to see how they represent a whole spectrum of various Russian nationalist groups: there is a clear sensation that one dives into the world of the 1990s with its various blooming black and brown shirts organizations.
Back then it was the supporters of Edward Limonov’s National-Bolshevik Party (NBP) and the ideologist of the “Eurasian way” Alexander Dugin who established close ties with Russian bonehead neo-Nazis. Some time later the alliance between these two nationalist politicians seemed to have been annulled as the former became a notorious oppositionist to Putin, made an alliance with liberals and even pretended to be a human rights’ activist making numerous appeals to Constitutional court against various violations, while the latter became a “man of science”, getting a degree and a position of a professor in the Moscow State University. But those who remember the mid-1990s well were not surprised at the sight of re-emergence of the ideological union between the two old ultra-nationalist friends and the odious support they gave to the most outrageous marginal Nazis and their violence. We remember quite well that 20 years ago they, too, attacked antifascists in unison.
Another forgotten figure of the 1990s also re-emerged recently – the guy who back in the 1990s openly called himself a Russian fascist, Alexander Barkashov, the leader of the infamous Russian National Unity (RNE). Besides that we saw re-emergence of “Pamyat”, Russian All-Military Union (ROVS) and a multitude of Orthodox monarchists wearing black shirts. For the last 15-20 years all of these people were preoccupied with “historical reconstruction” societies, but now it’s getting more and more scary to see how the ideas that they nourished in their ill minds are being applied to reality in the regions where real military conflicts take place. Many of them post quotations from Mikhail Buklgakov’s “White Guards” as if taking part in the reconstruction of the civil war that followed the First world war and the revolution (of course, on the side of the Whites). It is also noteworthy that many of the people are old-time war buddies in their forties and fifties – many of the members of RNE, the Orthodox black shirts and the ex-head of the armed forces of the “Donetsk people’s republic” Igor Strelkov have all fought in Trans-Dniester Republic, in the Caucasus or the ex-Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
The younger generation of the fighters is represented by people who are 20-22 years old, among them people like Kirill Rimkus (Zenit’s right wing ultra), Alexey “Fritz” Milchakov (notorious Nazi activist from Saint Petersburg known for his extreme cruelty against people and animals), Dmitry Deyneko, known for his participation in the infamous “Russian jogging” initiative, who was criminally charged for violently attacking a LGBT picket about half a year ago, neo-Pagan “Veliky Slavian” and other Nazi activists. “Sputnik & Pogrom” website, fashionable among the young nationalists, sympathetically reports about recruiting of “volunteers” and collecting special equipment for “Novorossiya” by a member of the National-Democratic party (NDP) Alexander Zhuchkovsky: “You are either with us (Russian) or you are for the Ukraine (unter-Russian)”. It is also interesting to note that these groups have connections to people in power, i.e. Russian Imperial Movement (RID) reports that “RID together with Rodina (Motherland) party recruits volunteers from Saint Petersburg to fight against genocide of Russians on the territory of the “Kiyevan Rus””.
The very notion “antifascism” becomes an ugly mask for something directly opposite. Thus “Novorossiya” website is described as “the Coordination center “New Russian Antifascism: for Great Russia, for Holy Russia, for United Russia!”, while it also claims to be the place “where great common history of Russia, Soviet Union and the modern day Eurasia continues”. “Antifascist Forum of Ukraine” is supported by the notorious Russian right-wing newspaper “Zavtra” and publishes articles by extreme right wing nationalists Glazyev and Kalashnikov. “Slavic Antifascists Front” in Crimea is supported by the nationalistic Congress of Russian Communities.
There is nothing particularly new or surprising in this, but no doubt it is very scary, sad and shameful. One cannot consider the troubles these people cause to be something not important and none of our business.