Political situation in Russia has always been interesting to look at. The reason why the country gets to be so big and one of the most powerful ones in the world is solely because of its politics. Russia believes that the only way to get the people together, especially in such a massive country with extraordinary diversity, is through politics. An interesting event in the nation’s politics happened from 1993 to 2007 when the National Bolshevik Party became an issue. What party was it and why it mattered? Let’s learn about the facts.
Russian Politics Today
Currently, Russia is a federal semi-presidential republic. It means, the President of Russia is head of state, but the executive power is exercised by the government which is headed by the Prime Minister appointed by the President with the approval of the parliament. Russia’s political view is a multi-party system, which means the government offices are run by many political parties chosen through the national election. These parties, though, should be the ones registered by the Ministry of Justice. Currently, the approved parties in Russia are:
- United Russia
- Communist Party
- Liberal Democratic Party
- A Just Russia
- Civic Platform
- Patriots of Russia
- Communist Party of Social Justice
- Party of Growth
- Russian Party of Pensioners for Social Justice
- Green Alliance
- People’s Freedom Party
However, from 1993 to 2007 there was a political party that was banned by the Russian courts and never officially registered as a political party. The organization was named the National Bolshevik Party and founded on May 1st, 1993 by Eduard Limonov, Aleksander Dugin, and Yegor Letov. According to the National Bolsheviks: “The NBP stands for social justice in the economy, imperial dominance in foreign policy, civil and political freedoms in domestic politics. The National Bolshevik state is tough on the outside, for external enemies, and soft on the inside, for its own citizens.” Initially, the NBP largely copied the ideological and stylistic approaches of Italian fascism.
The National Bolshevik Party from 1993 to 2007
In 1993, The NBP was created as a party with an ideology that combined ultra-left and ultra-right ideas. The idea of creating a party that combines ultra-right and ultra-left ideology belongs to the famous writer Eduard Limonov and philosopher Alexander Dugin. In 1998, Dugin left the NBP and is currently the leader of the International Eurasian Movement.
In 1994, the NBP was conceived as a circle of underground artists, the avant-garde in the broadest sense of the word, as a collective image of the party members was a student, sticking far right ideas professed by the founders of the NBP. For the first three years, the National Bolshevik Party acted not as a political organization, but simply as a community of people with underground views on politics, the economy, and art. In the same year, NBP began to publish Limonov, the party’s official newspaper.
After Dugin left, the political position of the party shifted noticeably to the left. Among the National Bolsheviks, young people aged 16–25 years of the most varied social status prevailed, from unemployed to university teachers. The main condition for membership in the organization was a radical disagreement with the current course of the government and the President of the Russian Federation. From 1999 to 2006, the party ran many actions of protests against the government from seizing the tower of the Sailor Club in Sevastopol, riots, rally outside of the US Ambassador’s residence, to terrorism by its leader that resulted in arrest and imprisonment.
In June 2005, after the assault on GUIN special forces, the party’s main headquarters in Moscow was closed. On November 15, 2005, by decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, the Interregional Public Group “NBP” was liquidated.
On April 19, 2007, the Moscow City Court recognized the NBP as an extremist organization and banned its activities on the territory of the Russian Federation. Nevertheless, the National Bolsheviks are formally considered not to be members of the NBP, but simply to be National Bolsheviks, “Limonovites,” and are still part of the Other Russia coalition.
Why NBP was considered dangerous
The NBP and ideologically close organizations were criticized by Russian neo-Nazis. The National Bolsheviks, in their opinion, are not nationalists, since ethnic origin does not matter to them. As they declare, a “Russian person” is “one who considers himself Russian, who speaks Russian and recognizes Russian culture and history, who is ready to fight for the good of Russia and does not think of any other Motherland,” in reality, the NBP considers Russian to anyone who speaks Russian. This showed a very clear fascism that would definitely threatened the unity of Russia’s diversity.
In particular, according to critics, the style of the NBP symbolism is similar to the style of the Third Reich symbols: the NBP flag is similar to the banner of the Third Reich, with the exception of the symbol of the Soviet Bolsheviks – the hammer and sickle, located at the place where the swastika was located on the flag of the Third Reich. In this regard, the sickle and hammer on the flag of the National Bolsheviks are often called the “stylized swastika”.
The combination of red, white and black gives a good contrast in visual perception. However, since 2007, after the NBP was recognized as an extremist organization and, accordingly, its symbolism was recognized as the same, the National Bolsheviks began to use the flag in which the red background was replaced with black, as well as the flag in which the sickle and hammer were replaced with a grenade.
That was what happened in Russia’s political scene from 1993 to 2007 which revolved around the National Bolshevik Party that clearly gave the country a shake and loss of peace of mind.