Moscow Friday, November 4, 2005 - 5,000 people paraded through downtown, carrying icons of Jesus Christ among other symbols. There was no violence, a great attitude, and very loud shouts of "Seig Heil", "Heil Hitler", along with "Russia for Russians", "Glory to Russia, Russians rise!"," Russia is everything, everything else is nothing".
"God, this is just like Germany in 1933," -- said one old lady observing the march, while taking her dog for a walk in downtown park, - "didn't we fight exactly this stuff?"
Putin's administration is confused, the Russian media is frenzied, and the Russian nation is either indifferent or thrilled! The Kremlin did not want Russian TV channels giving publicity to the fascists and communists, but people talk, and read, and learn, and choose; and it seems like many young Russians have made their choice.
November 7th has always been the date of "the glory of the great Bolshevik revolution", a day for huge military parades through Red Square (the word for red in Russian, krasnaya, can also mean "beautiful", so the name has not been changed) and holidays. The Yeltsin and Putin administrations wanted to move Russia away from the Red ideology, and so they replaced the Revolution celebration with the Russia's National Day of Peace and Unity. The reason is simple: Russians love federal holidays and days off; and this was a smart decision to get the best out of the situation. However, the grand finale of this year's parade was shocking for everyone.
In the past I've talked about the national competitions to find a new "national idea"; these competitions have failed, because the "ideas" from various writers and poets did not appeal to the Russia people. Western and American protection of Khodorkovsky and funding for NGOs in Russia didn't succeed -- no more than 200 people at a time came out into the streets to defend "democracy". Pro-Putin demonstrations paid for and organized by political groups like "Going together" and "Nashi" are too fake to attract much interest from most Russians. Communist demonstrations are for people 70 years of age and older, to feed them with some hope, because hope is the only thing they have left in their lives.
Fascism -- that's the answer to the corruption, poverty, despair, terrorism and humiliation.
My father, who talked at Discovery Institute two weeks ago, mentioned the issue of fascism growing today in Russia, and all Americans present at the event were shocked by this news. Yuri Mamchur Sr. said that "America is spending too much time and money trying to defend [democratic] values, which Russian people in their current circumstances don't even care about. While wasting time and dollars America is absolutely missing the greater danger -- [the rise of a] fascist nation in the biggest country in the world, with most of the natural resource reserves and the biggest nuclear arsenal."
"There is no money in the budget and hope to recover economically any time soon. With 1.3 billion population China next door, even a mandatory army draft can provide the Russian army with barely 500,000 new recruits every year; there are total of 30 million men who are capable of fighting, against nearly half a billion Chinese men of military age. Economic revival and advanced nuclear weapons are the only hope for Russia to maintain its borders in the 21st century, and Putin knows it. The Russian army isn't getting new jets or tanks, but nuclear weapons are constantly developed and advanced; stories about terrorists buying nukes in exchange for BMWs are Hollywood fairy-tales."
Putin's positive reforms are going too slow for most of the country. Russian youths have to take old Kalashnikovs and serve their country under the mandatory military draft, rich oligarchs get richer, poor people are facing unimaginable poverty. Class hatred, racism, and an unbelievable amount of weapons and nuclear weapons are all that's left for the Russian nation to find its identity. In this environment, fascism becomes appealing to many young Russians.
The parade was organized by the Eurasian Youth Union, leaded by Alexander Dugin. Dugin was "hired" by pro-Kremlin forces to oppose the "Orange" virus spreading from Eastern Europe to Russia, and Dugin did his job well. Could the Kremlin imagine where this national despair are going to lead? It seems like it could not; this parade scared everyone -- the government and the feeble "liberal" opposition. The Kremlin has worked hard to prepare a generation of leaders who would favor a strong hand in charge, but many young Russians find Putin far too weak and want a leader who will drive out ethnic minorities and foreigners.
Today, according to the Kommersant newspaper, 51-53% of the nation agrees with the "Russia -- for Russians" assertion, as a guiding principal of the country's policies; 10% of the nation finds Putin too "soft" and want too see a more imperialistic structure of government.
The Eurasian Youth Union was joined by other groups: National Patriots of Russia, People's Will, and Truth (Pravda). While they were marching, a few young democrats with eggs and condoms filled with water tried to get the fascists to fight, but the media saavy ultranationalists ignored the attackers, and police took the liberal activists away, because as one official said, "they were going to get very hurt".
Once the parade was over and the fascists gathered on Slavyanskaya Square, downtown Moscow, it was time for speakers. The biggest punchlines of the day were "We have an absolute enemy -- it's the USA!", and "We have other enemies -- the magicians of black Africa" (whatever that means).
Another speaker harangued the enthusiastic audience, "Just like 400 years ago, Russia is being pressured by the reign of Western Evil. This fact of gathering Russian patriots, when Russia is about to fall apart, is a great miracle." Another speaker from the Eurasian Union, Pavel Zarifullin, asked: "How long can we handle this evil, these American jackals!?" Egor Holmogorov, a fascist Russian writer, said that "Today Russia is weak, there are many enemies around us, but we will rise! Russia is everything, everything else is nothing!"
The only incident reported was the temporary arrest of three parade organizers. They were charged with obtaining permits for the march under false pretenses, because many more people showed up for the fascist parade than originally expected, but they were released within two hours.
Why fascism, why today, why young Russian men?
Well, because what else can you do, if you are supposed to be a soldier drafted by the federal law, young crooks send tens of billions of Russian petrodollars to banks in Switzerland, the UK and Cyprus, 80% of population lives in poverty - and all that is left are nuclear weapons and the legacy of wounded imperial pride. Maybe American politicians should recognize the danger and target their foreign policy efforts towards the real issue, instead of answering demands of D.C. and London lobbyists protecting Khodorkovsky, Berezovsky and other oligarchs who used to run the country. In another few years it may be too late to save Russia from a radicalism that would make Putin's administration at its most authoritarian seem like child's play in comparison.