Russian National Unity

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Russian National Unity

Русское Национальное Единство
PresidentAlexander Barkashov
Founded16 October 1990; 30 years ago (1990-10-16)
HeadquartersMoscow, Russia
Russian nationalism
Third Position
Political positionFar-right
ReligionRussian Orthodoxy
Slavic neopaganism
International affiliationWorld Union of National Socialists
Colours  Maroon
Slogan"Russia for Russians"
Party flag
Flag of Russian National Unity.svg

Russian National Unity (RNU) or All-Russian civic patriotic movement "Russian National Unity" (Russian: Всероссийское общественное патриотическое движение "Русское Национальное Единство"), is a neo-Nazi[1][2][3][4][5] political party and paramilitary organization based in Russia and formerly operating in states with Russian-speaking populations.[6][7] It was founded by the ultra-nationalist Alexander Barkashov.[6] The movement advocates the expulsion of non-Russians and an increased role for traditional Russian institutions such as the Russian Orthodox Church. The organization is currently unregistered federally in Russia.

Ideology, tactics and activities[edit]

Flag of the Russian National Unity

Promoting the notion of "Russia for Russians 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 such as Azeri, Georgians and Armenians as well Central Asian nationalities such as Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Tajiks, and others. Their vision of Russia is divided into privileged ethnic Russians and "compatriots", i.e. non-Russians who live in Russia and have their national homeland there, including indigenous populations of Russian Far East, North, Turkic 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".[citation needed]

According to the Saint Petersburg Times, new recruits (storonniki, literally "supporters" or "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" or "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.

Members of some local RNE groups has been convicted for serious racist crimes, such as the case with the RNE group in Tver which vandalized Jewish and Muslim graves, murdered and assaulted individuals belonging to ethnic minorities, spread racial hatred, among other crimes.[1][8]

RNE members has threatened magazines and publishers, such as the threats against the Vitebsky Courier for criticizing the President of Byelorussia in 2006.[9]


In 1989, Barkashov was the second in command in Russian National-Patriotic Front Pamyat. 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.

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 also adopted a red and white swastika emblem and openly expressed admiration for German national socialism 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, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine. The RNU has attempted to unite nationalist groups by organizing Slavonic and then Russian sobors. They met with various groups to pursue common goals, but saw little progress.

By the middle of 1993, the RNU 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 President Boris Yeltsin. In 1993, it also took part in defending and patrolling the White House, the residence of the Supreme Council of the Russian Federation, against the President's troops. Following Yeltsin's victory, the 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 Vityazi, 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, the RNU supported Russian officers accused of crimes in Chechnya.[citation needed]

At the peak of its popularity in 1999, RNU was estimated to have 100,000 active members all over Russia by state officials. They are now only a shadow of what they once were and have been inactive and somewhat dormant for many years now.[10]

In 2014, RNU members joined pro-Russian forces in Ukraine during the War in Donbass[11] under commandment of Pavel Gubarev.[12]

In Ukraine[edit]

In Ukraine, the RNU is represented by several parties:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Russia: Information on the Russian National Unity (RNU or RNE) political party, including size, influence, activities, relations with government. Document dated 9 June 2004. Document: RUS42684.E
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b Simonsen, Sven Gunnar (December 1996). "Aleksandr Barkashov and Russian National Unity: Blackshirt friends of the nation". Nationalities Papers. 24 (4): 625–639. doi:10.1080/00905999608408473.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ "RESPONSES TO INFORMATION REQUESTS (RIRs)" (PDF). Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. 7 November 2013.
  11. ^ "Neo-Nazi Russian National Unity in Eastern Ukraine". 14 August 2014. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  12. ^ "Putin's Neo-Nazi Helpers". KHPG. 10 March 2014. Retrieved 13 May 2018.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]