Russian National Unity
Russian National Unity (RNU) or All-Russian civic patriotic movement "Russian National Unity" , is a far right
Far right
Far-right, extreme right, hard right, radical right, and ultra-right are terms used to discuss the qualitative or quantitative position a group or person occupies within right-wing politics. Far-right politics may involve anti-immigration and anti-integration stances towards groups that are...

, fascist political party
Political party
A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...

 and paramilitary
A paramilitary is a force whose function and organization are similar to those of a professional military, but which is not considered part of a state's formal armed forces....

 organization based in Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 and operating in states with Russian-speaking populations. It was founded by the ultra-nationalist Alexander Barkashov
Alexander Barkashov
Alexander Petrovich Barkashov is a Russian political leader on the extreme right. In 1990, Barkashov founded an ultra-nationalist political party and paramilitary organization called Russian National Unity.-Biography:Born in Moscow, of peasant roots, Barkashov's father was an electrician and...

. The movement advocates the expulsion of non-Russians and an increased role for traditional Russian institutions such as the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

The organization is currently unregistered federally in Russia.

Ideology and tactics

Promoting the notion of "Russia for Russians
Russia for Russians
Russia for Russians is a political slogan and nationalist doctrine, encapsulating the range of ideas from bestowing the ethnic Russians with exclusive rights in the Russian state to expelling all non-Russians from the country. Originated in the Russian Empire in the latter half of the 19th...

 and compatriots", members of the party (sometimes called "Barkashovites") endorse policies including the expulsion of minorities that "have their homeland outside Russia," especially Jews and migrants from the South Caucasus
South Caucasus
The South Caucasus is a geopolitical region located on the border of Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia also referred to as Transcaucasia, or The Trans-Caucasus...

, such as Azeri, Georgians
The Georgians are an ethnic group that have originated in Georgia, where they constitute a majority of the population. Large Georgian communities are also present throughout Russia, European Union, United States, and South America....

 and Armenians
Armenian people or Armenians are a nation and ethnic group native to the Armenian Highland.The largest concentration is in Armenia having a nearly-homogeneous population with 97.9% or 3,145,354 being ethnic Armenian....

, as well as other countries. Their vision of Russia is divided into privileged ethnic Russians and "compatriots" - non-Russians who live in Russia and have their national homeland there, including indigenous populations of Russian Far East
Russian Far East
Russian Far East is a term that refers to the Russian part of the Far East, i.e., extreme east parts of Russia, between Lake Baikal in Eastern Siberia and the Pacific Ocean...

, North
Extreme North (Russia)
The Extreme North or Far North is a large part of Russia located mainly north of the Arctic Circle and boasting enormous mineral and natural resources....

, Turkic
Turkic peoples
The Turkic peoples are peoples residing in northern, central and western Asia, southern Siberia and northwestern China and parts of eastern Europe. They speak languages belonging to the Turkic language family. They share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds...

, and some other minorities. While they consider these "compatriots" to be entitled to live in Russia, the RNU nonetheless condemns any inter-ethnic and inter-racial marriages, claiming that "they create psychological troubles of self-identification for children from such marriages".

According to the Saint Petersburg Times, new recruits (storonniki, literally: "supporters", "siders") to the organization have traditionally been required to serve as low-level functionaries in the organization, acting as drivers and handing out flyers, as well as attending instructional sessions on the group's philosophy and beliefs, many of which are derived from a book written by Barkashov. As members advance, they may attain the rank of spodvizhniki (literally: archaic, high-style for "co-workers"; "co-endeavourers") and are entitled to wear the insignia and participate in paramilitary training. The most dedicated members advance to the ranks of the soratniki (literally: "comrades-in-arms"), who serve as the leadership of the group.

The organisation also worked with businesses, state officials, military and secret services. Supporting businessmen were awarded certificates of merit and other honours. The organization presently avoids direct violations of the law. Some officials have allowed RNU to take part in street patrols and other collaborations with the police; and military training facilities have been made available. Some sympathetic state and industrial officials lent RNU places for meetings, provided facilities to print literature, make uniforms, and copy CDs and video cassettes and other materials. Several martial arts classes with RNU instructors associated with state schools were opened.


In 1989, Barkashov was the second in command in Russian National-Patriotic Front Pamyat
Pamyat is a Russian nationalist organization identifying itself as the "People's National-patriotic Orthodox Christian movement." The group's stated focus is preserving Russian culture.- History :...

. His conflict with Dmitri Vasilyev resulted in Barkashov leading, in his words, "the most disciplined and active members, dissatisfied with empty talk and theatrical stunts, out of Pamyat." In 1990, RNU grew in the face of the economic and social difficulties faced by Russians in the course of the dissolution of the Soviet Union
Dissolution of the Soviet Union
The dissolution of the Soviet Union was the disintegration of the federal political structures and central government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , resulting in the independence of all fifteen republics of the Soviet Union between March 11, 1990 and December 25, 1991...


The Russian National Unity movement was founded on 16 October 1990 by a splinter group of the National Patriotic Front “Memory” (NPF “Pamyat”). It grew from 1990 to 1991. Members have been reported to wear black and camouflage uniforms; the group adopted a red and white swastika
The swastika is an equilateral cross with its arms bent at right angles, in either right-facing form in counter clock motion or its mirrored left-facing form in clock motion. Earliest archaeological evidence of swastika-shaped ornaments dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization of Ancient...

 emblem and openly expressed of admiration for German national socialism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 and public celebrations of the rise of the Nazis, although the organization officially denied any support for Nazi ideology. The group was active not only in Russia, but also in Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

, Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

, Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

, and Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

. The RNU has attempted to unite nationalist groups by organizing Slavonic and then Russian sobor
A sobor is a council of bishops together with other clerical and lay delegates representing the church as a whole in matters of importance...

s. They met with various groups to pursue common goals, but saw little progress.

By the middle of 1993, Russian National Unity had become the most prominent Russian nationalist movement, with a wide network of regional divisions. In addition to engaging in political action, the RNU conducted military drills and tactical training. As the 1993 Russian constitutional crisis unfolded, the RNU militantly supported the Russian parliament over the president, Boris Yeltsin
Boris Yeltsin
Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin was the first President of the Russian Federation, serving from 1991 to 1999.Originally a supporter of Mikhail Gorbachev, Yeltsin emerged under the perestroika reforms as one of Gorbachev's most powerful political opponents. On 29 May 1990 he was elected the chairman of...

. In 1993 it took part in defending and patrolling the "White house" - the residence of the Supreme Council of the Russian Federation during the Russian constitutional crisis of 1993
Russian constitutional crisis of 1993
The constitutional crisis of 1993 was a political stand-off between the Russian president and the Russian parliament that was resolved by using military force. The relations between the president and the parliament had been deteriorating for a while...

 against the President's troops. Following Yeltsin's victory, RNU worked illegally for several months. While underground, the movement continued to publish their newspaper Russian order.

The same year, the organization was registered as "a club for military and patriotic upbringing" and later was recognized by local officials as "a volunteer people's self-protection unit". To help achieve its goals, the RNU developed a cadre of armed paramilitaries, known as "Russian Vityaz
Vityaz is a Russian term for a valiant warrior or knight. Usually given to a man who owns a horse and proves himself in battle. The word is derived from the Old German Witing.The word may also refer to one of the following:...

i", who were trained in the use of small arms and explosives.

On 15 October 1995, 304 delegates from 37 regional divisions attended a RNU conference in Moscow. In 1999, Moscow’s mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, with the support of higher government officials, prohibited the second RNU regional conference from being held in Moscow. However, the RNU continued to organize.

In 1999, the Moscow headquarters of the group were closed. During the second Chechen War
Second Chechen War
The Second Chechen War, in a later phase better known as the War in the North Caucasus, was launched by the Russian Federation starting 26 August 1999, in response to the Invasion of Dagestan by the Islamic International Peacekeeping Brigade ....

, the RNU supported Russian officers accused of crimes in Chechnya
The Chechen Republic , commonly referred to as Chechnya , also spelled Chechnia or Chechenia, sometimes referred to as Ichkeria , is a federal subject of Russia . It is located in the southeastern part of Europe in the Northern Caucasus mountains. The capital of the republic is the city of Grozny...


At the peak of its popularity in 1999, RNU was estimated to have 100,000 active members all over Russia by state officials.

See also

  • Racism in Russia
  • Antisemitism in the Soviet Union
    Antisemitism in the Soviet Union
    The Russian Revolution overthrew a centuries-old regime of official antisemitism. The Soviet Unions success, during its existence, in struggling with this legacy, and the degree to which its government fought against, or was itself guilty of antisemitism, is a topic of some debate...

  • Persecution of Muslims
    Persecution of Muslims
    Persecution of Muslims is the religious persecution of Muslims as a consequence of professing their faith, both historically and in the current era.-Anatolia:...

  • Anti-Armenianism
    Armenophobia is the fear, dislike of, hatred or aversion to the Armenians, Republic of Armenia and the Armenian culture, which can range in expression from individual hatred to institutionalized persecution...

Further reading

External links

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