“Russian March” 2017 in Moscow
Since November 4, 2005, nationalist organizations have annually held marches and meetings (the so-called “Russian March”) in various cities of Russia and the CIS, timed to coincide with the Day of National Unity, a public holiday in the Russian Federation.
“Russian March” in Lyublino
The main event of the day is a march, which since 2009 has been led by ultra-right-wing organizations and movements in the Lyublino district of south-east Moscow. This year, participants gathered on Pererva Street and organized into two columns in the territory enclosed for the march. About 70 supporters of the Nationalist Party gathered at the head. Behind them were about 30 Black Bloc activists and their supporters carrying flags and Celtic crosses. However Black Bloc leader Vladimir (Ratnikov) Komarnitsky, Moscow branch of the Nation and Freedom Committee (KNS) head Vladimir Burmistrov, and Roman Kovalyov, who among others applied to hold the march, announced to journalists that the “Russian March” would be canceled due to the fact that many were disallowed from getting into the enclosed territory and joining due to materials featuring the symbols of the march’s participating organizations.
As Black Bloc activists began to express outrage at the situation, one, who was commenting to the press, was detained after a few minutes. Police suggested that the group either join the first column or leave the designated territory of the march. As the march participants decided what to do, a few more individuals were detained, after which police stopped letting people into the columns and instead created an exit from the designated area. One group of about 30 individuals leaving the designated area decided to attempt to carry on the march on the perpendicular street, Belorechenskaya. A majority of them, as well as a few passersby, were detained. During these detentions a riot police officer threw an activist from the Russian Human Rights Defense League, knocking her unconscious; an ambulance was called.
According to information from OVD-Info, about 25 people were detained at Lyublino.
About 200 people joined the first column of the march (Nb. these numbers and those that follow were provided by SOVA Center’s observers on site). They shouted slogans, marching as usual towards the Bratislavskaya Metro stop. Konstantin Filin, the head of the column, was detained after the marchers shouted an anti-police slogan.
A few dozen activists who were unable to join the event marched in parallel outside the designated area. In all, these were fewer than 100 people.
There was then a meeting at the Bratislavskaya Metro stop.
Speeches were given about the persecution of nationalists, including the alleged ongoing “genocide of the indigenous Russian population” and “of all other indigenous peoples of Russia,” with threats made of genocide claims at international tribunals. Ivan Noviopov of the Irreconcilable League called for a “white revenge,” closing his speech with exclamations of “Long live white people!” “The future is ours!” and “Glory to Russia!” finally unfurling a Confederate flag. Andrei Narodny of the National-Revolutionary Vanguard (NRA) called on those present, in the name of preservation of all Russians, to “stop standing in place and waving flags,” and closed his speech with a fascist salute.
See SOVA Center’s photoreportage from the day here.
The “Russian National March” at the Oktyabrskoe Pole Metro stop
Alternative events drawing the widest range of nationalist organizations have taken place on the day at Moscow’s Oktyabrskoe Pole Metro stop since 2012. The diversion between the marches at Lyublino and Oktyabrskoe Pole deepened in 2014, after events in Ukraine, when nationalist views split on the Novorossiya question and the figure of Igor Strelkov. From that time the Lyublino events have drawn opponents of the conflict in Ukraine, while supporters of the separatist Don and Luhansk Peoples Republics gather at Oktyabrskoe Pole. This year, the event at Oktyabroskoe Pole was held under the official name Russian National March. Participants followed their usual route towards the Shchukinskaya station. Approximately 370 people participated, such that it exceeded the “original” march at Lyublino in size.
Participants in the column included representatives of the Union of Orthodox Banner Bearers (SPH), the Great Russia party, the Russian National Front (RNF), the Russian Imperial Movement (RID), Imperial Legion and a few others. One person participated under the banner of the banned Russian All-National Union (RONS). Also among participants was the scandal-mongering Russian Orthodox priest Vsevolod Chaplin. Participants carried, among others, the flags of Novorossia and Russia.
The event concluded in a meeting led by former LDPR deputy Nikolai Kuryanovich and Andrei Savelyev, the leader of the Great Russia party. The speakers touched on a wide range of topics. Chaplin expounded on how liberal-intellectual democracy is unsuitable for Russia, and how a strong, centralized and personal power, monarchic at its base would be the ideal fit for the country. Additionally, Chaplin spoke about the need to form new elite and end moral decline. Savelyev asserted that oligarchs belong in prison, and that the most prominent of them should be hanged on Red Square. He continued that only a government of national trust could save Russia. Kuryanovich spoke about the need for a Russian national government that would pass referenda on the “unification of Russian spaces” reaching to Alaska, as well as the unity of the Russian nation. After the march Mikhail Shendakov, a reserve colonel of the Russian armed forces, was detained following hard criticism of President Putin.
Concert-meeting “Russia Unites”
A concert-meeting was also held on November 4, 2017 at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium within the official celebration of the Day of National Unity. Representatives of a few nationalist tendencies attended: the LDPR, the Motherland movement, the Tigers of the Motherland movement and the Congress of Russian Communities, the Sober Russia project, the Cossack Party of the Russian Federation, the movement For People’s Savings, the Young Guard, the Locals movement, the Georgievtsy, the Combat Brotherhood and the Antimaidan. In contrast to recent years, no representatives of the Night Wolves participated.
One other participant in the pro-Kremlin events – the National Liberation Movement (NOD) – announced a gathering of supporters at the Sportivnaya Metro stop; no more than 150 people attended. The NOD column proceeded from the Metro stop to the territory around the stadium, but did not go inside. NOD activists began to hand out leaflets to passersby, but were broken up by law enforcement.
Small groups that had previously attended these events, for example supporters of Strelkov, the National-Democratic Party and the National-Conservative Movement, decided not to take to the street this year.