Russian National Unity

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Russian National Unity
Русское национальное единство
AbbreviationRNU (English)
РНЕ (Russian)
PresidentAlexander Barkashov
Split fromNPF "Pamyat"
HeadquartersMoscow, Russia
NewspaperRussian order
Membership (2000)20,000–25,000[1]
Russian nationalism
Third Position
Political positionFar-right
ReligionRussian Orthodoxy
International affiliationWorld Union of National Socialists
Colours  Maroon
Slogan"Russia for Russians"
Party flag
(archived 2016)

Russian National Unity (RNU; transcribed Russkoe natsionalnoe edinstvo RNE) or All-Russian civic patriotic movement "Russian National Unity" (Russian: Всероссийское общественное патриотическое движение "Русское национальное единство") was an unregistered neo-Nazi,[2][3][4][5][6] irredentist[7] group based in Russia and formerly operating in states with Russian-speaking populations.[8][9] It was founded in 1990 by the ultra-nationalist Alexander Barkashov.[8] The movement advocated the expulsion of non-Russians and an increased role for traditional Russian institutions such as the Russian Orthodox Church. The organization was unregistered federally in Russia, but nonetheless collaborated on a limited basis with the Federal Security Service.[7] The group was banned in Moscow in 1999[10][11] after which the group gradually split up in smaller groups and their webpage became defunct in 2006.[12][13]

Ideology, tactics and activities[edit]

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, who would be guaranteed majority political representation, and 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.[14]

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.[15][16]

Members of some local RNE groups have been convicted of serious racist crimes, such as in the case of the RNE group in Tver who vandalized Jewish and Muslim graves, murdered and assaulted individuals belonging to ethnic minorities, and spread racial hatred, among other crimes.[2][17]

Reportedly, RNE talked about killing Jews and Gypsies who reside in Russia. Concerning Adolf Hitler, Barkashov declared: "I consider [Hitler] a great hero of the German nation and of all white races. He succeeded in inspiring the entire nation to fight against degradation and the washing away of national values."[18] Regardless of the RNE's resemblance to Nazism, founder Barkashov rejected the labels 'fascist' and 'Nazi', however, he admitted to being a national socialist. The group had a membership of around 20,000–25,000 members before its breakup in 2000.[19]


Membership card of the Russian National Unity

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 1998, Moscow's mayor Yuri Luzhkov, with the support of higher government officials, prohibited the second RNU regional conference from being held in Moscow.[20]

At the peak of its popularity in 1999, RNU was estimated to have 20,000–25,000 active members all over Russia by state officials.[1]

The group was banned in Moscow in 1999[11] and Barkashov lost the control of the group by 2000 after which the group was defunct.[10][13][21]

After the ban on the group, members of RNU were often jailed and the organisation was split into a number of other groups.[22][23] The members of these new groups, namely Alexander Barkashov, Russian Orthodox Army, and others have since have engaged in religious activities and pro-Russian activism in Donbas conflict.[24][25][26][27] They also support the Russian invasion of Ukraine and expressed their readiness to fight against Ukraine.[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Blamires, C.; Jackson, P. (2006). World Fascism: A-K. World Fascism: A Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-57607-940-9. Retrieved 16 March 2022. the RNE was of substantial organizational strength before its breakup in late 2000 and was estimated to have had, on the eve of its fracture, approximately 20,000 to 25,000 members
  2. ^ a b "Более десяти участников РНЕ осуждены в Твери на сроки от условного до пожизненного".
  3. ^ Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board founded in 1990 (9 June 2004), Russia: Information on the Russian National Unity (RNU or RNE) political party, including size, influence, activities, relations with government (PDF), Ottawa, archived from the original on 24 February 2017{{citation}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ "CIDOB – "Russia for Russians!"". Archived from the original on 23 May 2022. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  5. ^ "Dokument – Lifos extern".
  6. ^ "Dokument - Lifos extern".
  7. ^ a b Likhachev, Vyacheslav (July 2016). "The Far Right in the Conflict between Russia and Ukraine" (PDF). IFRI Russia/NEI Center. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 March 2022. Retrieved 16 March 2022. Many ethno-nationalist parties, such as the Russian All-National Union, have also proclaimed that it is necessary to unite Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus into a single state. It was a commonplace among Russian far-right figures that Ukrainians, Belorussians and Russians are in fact one nation. This claim was repeated consistently in the programmes of the Russian National Unity movement.
  8. ^ 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. S2CID 153445081.
  9. ^ "Founding of Russian National Unity (RNU/RNE) in St. Petersburg; RNU/RNE activities and state response in that city (1997-August 2000) [RUS35390.E]". 22 August 2000.
  10. ^ a b Saunders, R.A.; Strukov, V. (2010). Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. Scarecrow Press. p. 69. ISBN 978-0-8108-7460-2. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
  11. ^ a b Orttung, R.; Latta, A. (2013). Russia's Battle with Crime, Corruption and Terrorism. Routledge Transnational Crime and Corruption. Taylor & Francis. p. 297. ISBN 978-1-134-08900-0. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
  12. ^ Ekaterina, Ivanova; Andrey, Kinyakin; Sergey, Stepanov (2019). "The European and Russian Far Right as Political Actors: Comparative Approach". Journal of Politics and Law. 12 (2): 86. doi:10.5539/JPL.V12N2P86. S2CID 189962172.
  13. ^ a b Laruelle, M. (2018). Russian Nationalism: Imaginaries, Doctrines, and Political Battlefields. BASEES/Routledge Series on Russian and East European Studies. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-429-76198-0. Retrieved 16 March 2022.
  14. ^ Jackson, William D. (1 January 1999). "Fascism, Vigilantism, and the State: The Russian National Unity Movement". Problems of Post-Communism. 46 (1): 34–42. doi:10.1080/10758216.1999.11655819. ISSN 1075-8216 – via Taylor & Francis Online.
  15. ^ Barkashov, Alexander (2009). "Кто и как может вступить в РНЕ". Интернет-ресурс Общероссийского общественного патриотического движения «Русское национальное единство» (ООПД РНЕ) (in Russian). Archived from the original on 16 September 2009.
  16. ^ Barkashov, Alexander Petrovich (2009). "Рекомендации по формированию региональной организации Русского Национального Единства". Русское Национальное Единство (in Russian). Archived from the original on 9 February 2009.
  17. ^ "В Твери осуждена банда нацистов: лидер получил пожизненный срок".
  18. ^ "Fascism". Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  19. ^ Blamires, C.; Jackson, P. (2006). World Fascism: A-K. World Fascism: A Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-57607-940-9. Retrieved 16 March 2022. the RNE was of substantial organizational strength before its breakup in the 2000's and was estimated to have had, on the eve of its fracture, approximately 20,000 to 25,000 members
  20. ^ United States (1999). Anti-Semitism in Russia: Hearing Before the Subcommittee on European Affairs of the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, One Hundred Sixth Congress, First Session, February 24, 1999. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 249. ISBN 978-0-16-058443-5.
  21. ^ Ekaterina, Ivanova; Andre y, Kinyakin; Sergey, Stepanov (2019). "The European and Russian Far Right as Political Actors: Comparative Approach". Journal of Politics and Law. 12 (2): 86. doi:10.5539/JPL.V12N2P86. S2CID 189962172.
  22. ^ Sakwa, R. (2020). The Putin Paradox. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 61. ISBN 978-1-83860-372-4. Retrieved 20 March 2022. Members of the far-right RNE were regularly jailed.
  23. ^ Stephen E. Atkins. Encyclopedia of Modern Worldwide Extremists and Extremist Groups. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 280. 26 local groups had seceded from the RNE
  24. ^ Miroslav Mareš, Martin Laryš, Jan Holzer (2018). Militant Right-Wing Extremism in Putin's Russia: Legacies, Forms and Threats. Routledge. p. 289. RNE volunteer troops were closely linked with the Russian Orthodox army{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  25. ^ Mitrokhin, Nikolay (2015). "Infiltration, instruction, invasion: Russia's war in the Donbass" (PDF). Journal of Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society. 1 (1): 219–249. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 June 2021. Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  26. ^ Jarzyńska, Katarzyna (24 December 2014). "Russian nationalists on the Kremlin's policy in Ukraine" (PDF). OSW Commentary, Centre for Eastern Studies. 156.
  27. ^ Laruelle, M. (2009). In the Name of the Nation: Nationalism and Politics in Contemporary Russia. The Sciences Po Series in International Relations and Political Economy. Palgrave Macmillan US. ISBN 978-0-230-10123-4. Russian National Unity underwent an internal coup d'état in 2000. Several regional leaders decided to exclude Alexander Barkashov from his position as leader of the party, splitting up into multiple factions, none of which was able to step in to play a unifying role.... Barkashov, who had legal troubles for "hooliganism" in 2005, created a new party bearing his name in December of the following year but had no real success.
  28. ^ ""Русское национальное единство" поддержало российскую армию в спецоперации на Украине". Первый Ростовский (in Russian). Retrieved 15 April 2022.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]