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Rally Shows Rise of Nationalist Sentiment

Published: November 6, 2013 (Issue # 1785)



  • Participants in the nationalist Russian March, held across Russia on Monday, hold a banner at one of the Moscow events.
    Photo: Vladimir Filonov / SPT

Thousands of Russians poured into the streets of dozens of towns across the country Monday to voice nationalist sentiments on a holiday that was established by the government in 2005 to celebrate the unity of Russia’s diverse population.

Nationalism has been on the rise in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union, with both the state and numerous civil society organizations trying to pigeonhole it within formalized limits, but it has come to a fever pitch in the aftermath of ethnically charged riots in Moscow’s district of Biryulyovo on Oct. 14.

The riots, triggered by the killing of a young Russian man, allegedly by a migrant worker, led to numerous public calls to toughen the country’s immigration legislation, apparently emboldening many nationalists.

The task of keeping nationalism contained has proved to be a tough challenge for authorities, as radical nationalists are still able to attract many young people to their cause by providing what many say the nation as a whole lacks: a guiding ideology and a sense of purpose in life.

In a sign of the intensified nationalist atmosphere ahead of Monday’s Russian March, the country’s biggest annual nationalist rally, the Nazi flag was displayed during a football match Wednesday between Spartak Moscow and Shinnik Yaroslavl.

On Monday, crowds made up mostly of neo-Nazis put their discontent into words, chanting various slogans, perhaps the least inflammatory of which was: “Stop taking it and take up arms!”

Other slogans insulted Islam and urged violence and drastic measures against minorities.

The crowd, which according to police amounted to 8,000 people, consisted mostly of young men in tight jeans and black jackets. They marched across the southeastern Lyublino district, with a nationalist thrash metal band, Kolovrat, performing at the end.

The organizers claimed that at least 20,000 people attended the march.

“Who are we?” one of the ringleaders kept asking participants, with the crowd shouting “Russians!” in response.

The march was escorted by a helicopter and hundreds of policemen. Thirty people were detained for covering their faces and shouting Nazi slogans, police reported.

“There is no doubt that the Russian nation is in danger today,” said Gleb, 32, who declined to give his last name in order to conceal his identity. “People are losing patience — this is exactly what you see here,” he said.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Nov. 28


Join table-top game aficionados at the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening. Held every Friday at 5 p.m., aficionados and amateurs alike can come take part in a variety of different games that test one’s intellect and cunning.



Saturday, Nov. 29


Cats, dogs, birds, rodents and reptiles are just some of the things that will walk and crawl at Lenexpo convention center this weekend as part of Zooshow, a two-day exhibition featuring not only man’s best friends but a four-legged fashion show, as well as a food fair that will help pet owners find out more about which kibbles are best for their hungry pets.



Sunday, Nov. 30


Remember the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Russo-Finnish war in 1939 during today’s reenactment titled “Winter War: How it Was.” More than 200 people will take part in recreating the opening salvoes of the battle for the north in Kamenka, a small village situated between Vyborg and St. Petersburg, using authentic equipment and vintage vehicles from the era. The faux battle begins at 2 p.m.



Monday, Dec. 1


Serbia filmmaker Emir Kusturica is the featured guest this evening at the Lensovet Palace of Culture the Petrograd Side. Fans of the director will get the chance to watch his movie “Black Cat, White Cat,” as well as ask questions about his award-winning filmography. Tickets for the event, which starts at 7 p.m., start at 2,000 rubles ($42.50).



Tuesday, Dec. 2


Today is the final day of “Takoy Festival,” a three-week program of plays based on the works of Dostoevsky, Remarque and other famed European writers, whose work is transcribed for theatrical performances. Tonight’s festival finale is “Fathers and Sons,” a two-act drama staged by the Novosibirsk Academic Drama Theater based on Turgenev’s classic about familial relations.



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