By Paul Goble
Following the split in their ranks caused by Russian intervention in Ukraine and the arrests by Moscow of their leaders, far-right Russian nationalists had been largely inactive for nearly five years. But that situation has changed in the last few months, according to Vera Alperovich of the SOVA Information-Analysis Center.
This summer and fall, she writes, “on the ultra-right flank, there have been more or less active efforts to overcome the divisions and marginality” that had characterized this group in the recent past (sova-center.ru/racism-xenophobia/publications/2019/12/d41899/ and theins.ru/politika/194475).
Some older leaders on their release from prison have resumed their activities, Alperovich says; but the most important development has been the expansion in the activities of Konstantin Malofeyev, the Orthodox businessman who has the money and connections to support a broader network of right-wing organizations.
He operates through various groups, but to the right of him are radical organizations like the Black Corps and the racist White National Unity. They too after a period of inactivity have moved from being simply internet projects to organizing protests and actions in the streets.
At the same time, Alperovich continues, there has emerged what might be called a more liberal Russian nationalist group, the Russian Democrats who want a Russian national state, oppose radical Islam and want to restrict immigration into Russia from Central Asia and the Caucasus.
The SOVA analyst notes that the lifespan of Russian nationalist groups has not been long but suggests that Malofeyev’s money and shifting attitudes in the regime may mean that some of these newly active groups will last longer and have a larger impact than their predecessors even though many consist of the same people.