In general, far-right and nazi activity in Russia during March 2022 was relatively noticeable as they reacted to the war in Ukraine which has been going on for a month now.
Russian far-right is divided over the war in Ukraine
The Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), Rodina, Male State, Russian National Unity (RNE), Russian Slavic Union and Revival (RUSOV), Russian National Union (ROS), Right Russia, Tsargrad, People’s Council, and a number of individual figures – Igor Strelkov, Vladimir Kvachkov, Alexander Dugin, Nikolai Bondarik and Yegor Kholmogorov – expressed their full approval of Russian actions.
With some reservation, the special operation was supported by the Russian Imperial Movement (RID), which stated that “we must fight not ‘for the Russians,’ as the RID considers Russians and Ukrainians to be one people, but ‘for the restoration of the empire.
On March 24, the RID reported that the first deck of the RID Imperial Legion had moved into the area of operation. Several people from Eduard Limonov’s Other Russia also went to Donbas. The RNE stated that it was ready to send volunteers, but whether it sent anyone is unknown.
The “Conservative” movement is rather opposed to the special operation: they believe that it should have started in 2014, and now the time has passed. Many of those listed also expressed regret that a large-scale offensive was not undertaken in 2014, but this did not prompt them to refuse to support the current offensive.
“Society.Future” (OB) by Roman Yuneman stated that it considered the special operation a strategic mistake and called for a return to diplomatic methods of conflict resolution. At the same time, the OB stated that Ukraine “has been methodically killing the Russians of Donbas for eight years,” and therefore the organization is going to “support the ‘Russian army’ and society.” The OB is de facto engaged in humanitarian projects: collecting aid for refugees, organizing psychological assistance, and donating blood.
The Great Russia movement, the Russian National Union, the People’s Resistance Association (RONS), the Nationalists’ Movement, the Right Bloc, and the Memory Front are against the special operation.
Pozdnyakov war support
The far–right “Men’s Legion” telegram channel published a call to stage provocations at anti-war rallies on March 6. “Men’s Legion” is a channel of Vladislav Pozdnyakov’s “Male State”, which changed its name after the organization was declared an extremist community in Russia.
“Your task is to come to an anti-war rally with Russian flags, posters and Z sign…you can tear up the posters, interfere with their agitation in every way possible, you can even spit in their face as a traitor to the motherland. But I warn you not to engage in forceful conflict, not to beat anyone, not to pepper them”, – the Pozdnyakovites wrote.
Then Vladislav Pozdnyakov created a database on Telegram to publish personal data of antiwar activists but the administration banned it in one day.
CitizenGo has left Russia
The far-right petition platform CitizenGo decided to leave Russia as a result of European sanctions.
Antifascists detained in Kaluga
On March 14 seven people aged 18-20 were detained in Kaluga. Four of them are charged under Article 282.1 for lyrics from their music band “Antisocial distancing”
A TV report about the RNE action in support of the army was broadcasted in Rostov
Rostov TV showed a news report about one of the most odious Nazi organizations in Russia in the 90s “Russian national unity” (RNE), which chose a swastika as its emblem. The report said that “the action in support of the Russian Army in the special operation in Ukraine was carried out by the patriotic movement Russian National Unity”. The headquarters of the movement organized a mini photo exhibition dedicated to the long-standing war of the West against the Slavic peoples. The photos show the aggression of NATO countries: the events in Donbas in 2014 and the bombing of towns in Yugoslavia in ’99. The goal of the action is to express a negative attitude toward the genocide of the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine, which has been developing for years.
On March 20, the far-right bookstore “Listva” in St. Petersburg from the publishing house “Black Hundred”, which supported Russia’s military actions in Ukraine, was attacked. An attempt was made to set fire to the front door. “Listva” blamed “Nazis from WotanJugend and pacifists” for the incident. On March 13, unknown perpetrators smashed the store’s sign, and a month later, on April 5, police raided the store.
Alexey Venediktov antisemitic attack
On March 24 in Moscow, an unidentified man dressed as a delivery man planted a pig’s head in a curly wig under the door of the former editor-in-chief of “Echo Moskvy” radio station Alexey Venediktov and put a sticker with the Ukrainian trident and the inscription Judensau (“Jewish pig”) on the door.
PMC E.N.O.T. Corp conviction
In late March, a Moscow court sentenced to 13 years in prison 47-year-old Roman “Vodyanoy” Telenkevich, a veteran of combat operations in Donbas, who was considered by investigators to be one of the leaders of an organized criminal community that operated under the roof of the military and patriotic organization “United People’s Community Associations” (known as PMC “E.N.O.T.” or “Racoon”). The court found that the PMC “E.N.O.T.” under the leadership of Telenkevich, under the guise of “patriotic education” of children was engaged in outright criminality – protection rackets, bilking debts, intimidation, robbery, thefts. The Investigative Committee of Russia actually recognized the activities of ROO “ENOT” as criminal and opened a case in October 2019. Then criminal cases were opened under Articles 158 (“Theft”), 162 (“Robbery”), 209 (“Banditry”) and 210 (“Organization of a criminal association”) of the Criminal Code, and their defendants were detained one by one.
The history of the scandalous PMC is interesting in its own way. Its founder is considered to be the leader of the nationalist movement “Bright Russia” Igor Mangushev. During a period of escalating conflict in the Donbas, he and his associates thought about how to formalize the actions of the Donbas militia.
In the spring of 2014, reports began to appear that Mangushev and other representatives of “Bright Russia” had gone to the Donbas on a humanitarian mission together with the “People’s Council” movement’s branch near Moscow. It was headed by Roman Telenkevich, aka Vodyanoy – that was his call sign in those years.
PMC “E.N.O.T.” was seen in pictures with the Russian imperial flags and nazi flags.
FSB reports detention of 60 M.K.U. supporters
On March 30 the Center of Public Relations of FSB reported that 60 supporters of M.K.U. group were detained in 23 regions of Russia.
The detainees confiscated “smoothbore civilian hunting weapons and ammunition for them without permits, homemade firearms and cold steel weapons, means of communication… correspondence with Yegor Krasnov, with photo and video recordings … actions of direct action, instructions for their conduct and involvement of new participants …”.
According to the Sova Center 13 people were convicted in March for xenophobic statements. Five people were sentenced only under Art. 280 of the Criminal Code for publicly calling for attacks on law enforcement officers. Three people – under Art. 205.2 of the Criminal Code (public justification of terrorism on the Internet) for their approval of the terrorist attacks in Christchurch (New Zealand) or the actions of ISIS. Two people were convicted under both articles combined for publishing video clips calling for violence against FSB and police officers and for attacks “on the basis of nationality”. Two people were convicted under Article 280 of the Criminal Code, Article 312 (embezzlement) and Article 163 (extortion). Only one person was convicted under Article 282 of the Criminal Code (incitement of hatred) for statements “directed against natives of the Caucasus, Central Asia and Transcaucasia,” made twice during the year (previously he had been prosecuted under a similar article of the Administrative Code).
Altogether Sova counted at least 38 convictions for xenophobic statements in 26 regions of the country since the beginning of the year.
The federal list of extremist materials (FFEM) was updated twice: racist songs of groups “Smerch” and “SturmRise”, anti-religious cartoons, the anti-Semitic text of the author under a pseudonym of Chuma Balamut, the speech of the leader of the Third Reich Adolf Hitler, video-clip with appeals to violence against state figures of RF were added to the list.
The association Male State, recognized as extremist by the decision of Nizhniy Novgorod regional court as early as October 18, 2021, was added to the Federal list of extremist organizations in March under clause 90.
At least 12 people were fined under Article 20.3.1 of the Administrative Code (incitement of hatred), corresponding to Article 282 part 1 of the Criminal Code, for publishing materials aimed at inciting hatred against natives of Central Asia, the Caucasus, black people, Russians, homosexuals and police officers on social networks (mostly on Vkontakte, but also on Odnoklassniki and Instagram).
At least five people were fined under Article 20.29 of the Administrative Code (production and distribution of prohibited materials) for publishing materials from the FSEM on social networks.
At least 19 people were punished under Article 20.3 of the Administrative Code (propaganda and public display of Nazi symbols and symbols of prohibited organizations). Four people raised their hands in a Nazi salute in public places, one drew swastikas on the pavement, and two displayed their own tattoos. The rest posted Nazi symbols on social networks. Five people were sentenced to administrative arrests, and the rest were fined.