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Russian National Unity Party

RUSSIAN NATIONAL UNITY PARTY

The Russian National Unity Party (Russkoe nationalnoe edinstvo) emerged in the fall of 1990 and subsequently became one of the most active of the small fascist-style parties that sprang up in Russia in the first post-Soviet decade. Founded by disaffected members of Pamyat, the party was led by Alexander Barkashov, a former electrical worker and Pamyat activist. The party espoused an ultranationalist, anti-semitic ideology. Its program, as set forth in Barkashov's Azbuka russkogo nationalista (ABC of Russian Nationalism ), advocated the establishment of a "Greater Russia" encompassing Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. The rule of ethnic Russians would be assured through a national dictatorship that would preside over a council dominated by ethnic Russians representing labor, management, the intelligentsia, and other groups. Non-slavic peoples would be confined to their "historic homelands" and the state would protect the genetic purity of the Russian nation through the prohibition of mixed marriages. The party advocated a foreign policy that would confront the United States, which was depicted as controlled by Jewish capital, and would be dedicated to ensuring Russia's world supremacy.

Russian National Unity operated as a paramilitary organization, rather than an orthodox party. Members were organized into detachments, underwent military training, and wore uniforms. The Party claimed that its symbol, the left swastika, had been worn by medieval Russian knights and conferred mystical powers on party members. Though Party membership probably never exceeded ten thousand, local organizations were particularly active in Moscow and several other regions. In some cities sympathetic local officials allowed party detachments to operate as informal druzhiniki (volunteer social monitors), a practice often accompanied by acts of violence and intimidation against ethnic minorities. In the few instances in which the party put forth candidates in elections, they were soundly defeated. After 1999 the party suffered a decline, the result of increased criticism of its program and tactics and feuding among the leadership. The party's electoral bloc, called Spas, was denied registration in the 1999 Duma elections, and court orders banned local organizations in Moscow and other key regions because of their advocacy of racial hatred and their use of Nazi symbols.

See also: pamyat

bibliography

Jackson, William D. (1999). "Fascism, Vigilantism, and the State: The Russian National Unity Movement." Problems of Post-Communism 46:3442.

Shenfield, Stephen D. (2000). Russian Fascism: Traditions Tendencies Movements. London: M. E. Sharpe.

William D. Jackson

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