Radical Populism on the VolgarnRussia’s Neo-Nazi Oppositionrnby Wayne AUensworthrnVrnp frnri ^rny^mrnwlrnWrnOn May 8, 1995, President Boris Yeltsin addressed an auditoriumrnfilled with gray-haired war veterans, their chestsrnbedecked with rows of ribbons and medals, and told them ofrnthe cost of victory in the Great Patriotic War. Citing newrnarchival research, Yeltsin revealed the “terrifying figure” ofrn26,549,000 Soviet citizens “lost” in the war against “Hitleriternfascism.” Yeltsin then closed his speech with remarks that mayrnhave seemed cryptic to some observers. “Many in Russia andrnbeyond its borders are now wondering,” he claimed, “why, halfrna century after the collapse of fascism, immunity to fascist andrnracist ideas in our society has weakened. . , . We must purgernRussia of the fascist plague, completely and forever.”rnIt may be that Westerners believed Yeltsin was referring tornthe bombastic Vladimir Zhirinovsky or, perhaps, to the “redbrown”rnneocommunists who had done so well in the Decemberrn1993 elections and who were already campaigning to expandrntheir influence in the State Duma. But the immediaterncause of Yeltsin’s concern was probably something else, a relativelyrnnew, and far more radical, force whose activities hadrnprompted the president to issue a decree eariy last year on combatingrn”fascism.” This force, dubbed the “new opposition” byrnRussian journalists, is more willing to resort to violence than thernold “red-brown” opposition. Like the Zhirinovskyites, thern”new opposition” boasts of having no ties to the discreditedrncommunist nomenklatura regime, and has worked particularlyrnhard to recruit young people. Unlike Zhirinovsky, however,rnthey are impatient and weary of talk. Russian greatness will bernrestored, not by boltuni (windbags) in the State Duma, but byrnimplementing what they call the “national revolution.”rnThe “new opposition” made its conspicuous debut at thernRussian White House during the September-October 1993rnshowdown between Yeltsin and the recalcitrant Supreme Soviet,rnwhen an organization known as Russian National Unityrn(RNU), under the leadership of a former electrician and karaterninstructor named Aleksandr Barkashov, provided what wasrnWayne AUensworth writes from Purcellville, Virginia.rnprobably the largest (from 100-300 men) and best-armed contingentrnof White House defenders. The RNU hghters, accompaniedrnby brethren warriors from the “Legion of Werewolves”rn(the organization’s leaders were later arrested after plans for arnseries of terrorist attacks were uncovered), were made all thernmore conspicuous by the stylized swastikas that decorated theirrnparamilitary uniforms, and by their declared aim, according tornone ubiquitous Werewolf, of shooting “first the democrats andrnthen the communists.”rnThere was ample reason to take the young stormtrooper seriousl)’:rnvolunteers from Russian neo-Nazi and neofascist organizations,rnwhich appear to be growing exponentially in the ruinsrnof postcommunist Russia (one Russian journalist claims thatrnRNU is the fourth largest political organization in Russia), havernfought in the Balkans War, mostly alongside the Serbs (somernprefer the Croats, seeing them as the true torchbearers of thern”Aryan” ideal), and in the many “hot spots” where civil war andrninsurrection have flared up in the former Soviet domain.rnBarkashov personally offered his services to the state at thernheight of the conflict in Chechnya, but the offer was not accepted.rnNo matter. The “new opposition” continues to preparernfor the day when they will seize power by organizing sympathizersrnto distribute the burgeoning number of neo-Nazi andrnneofascist newspapers, books, and videos (and finding a sympatheticrnhelping hand in some government-run printing facilities),rnestablishing training camps for their militant “storm detachments,”rntargeting young people, along with military andrnsecurity personnel, for recruitment, and establishing ties withrntrade unions and local officials in the regions.rnTheir message is one we have heard before: the Russianrn”genotype” is the purest “offshoot” of the “Aryan” race and isrndestined to dominate the world. For Russia to reestablish herrngreatness and save the “Aryans” from extinction the world overrnis a simple matter to be achieved through a violent seizure ofrnpower followed by the implementation of a program of eugenicsrnthat calls for the extermination of Jews, Caucasian “blacks,”rninvalids, drunks, and imbeciles. The Russian war machine willrn28/CHRONICLESrnrnrn