Thousands of Far-right nationalists marched in Moscow on Friday; verbally attacking both the ruling United Russia Party of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as well as the recent influx of immigrants from the Caucasus region.
Among the speakers at the rally, Alexei Navalny, a popular blogger, lawyer and anti-corruption activist, told the cheering crowd: this is our country, and we have to eradicate the crooks who suck our blood and eat our liver. Down with United Russia! Down with the party of crooks and thieves!
However, according to British media, the throng also chanted racialist slogans like Russia for Russians, Europe for Whites! and Glory to the Russian Nation! Many protesters carried the flag of Imperial Russia.
Other far-right figures also spoke to the cheering crowd.
Navalny subsequently told Reuters that the rally provided an opportunity for Russians to discuss problems which really exist in the society but which are taboo and are never discussed in the parliament, on television or anywhere else. We have problems with illegal migration, we have the problem of the Caucasus, we have a problem of ethnic crimes.”
He added: The fact that our authorities hypocritically pretend that such problems do not exist leads to people discussing them only in the street, at the Russian March.
Approved by state officials, the rally was held in conjunction with ‘National Unity Day,’ a public holiday that commenced in 2005 to replace the former Soviet commemoration of the 1917 Russian Revolution.
Other rallies were also held in and around the capital -- including demonstrations by United Russia supporters, the pro-government Nashi youth movement, as well as by anti-fascists who protested the nationalists.
Patriotism, citizenship and love for the fatherland are fundamental values which have always bound together the multi-ethnic Russian state, President Dmitry Medvedev told a crowd in the city of Nizhny Novgorod, about 250 west of Moscow. The audience included Putin as well as members of Russia’s ethnic minorities, including Buddhists.
Putin and his allies are widely expected to dominate Russia’s upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections over the next five months.
Meanwhile, Moscow is witnessing an upswing of racial and ethnic tensions. According to reports, a man from the Northern Caucasus region shot and killed a fan of the Spartak Moscow football club, an incidence which enraged nationalists and led them, to riot near the Kremlin.
Georgy Borovikov of the nationalist group Russkiye told media:
We already know well it is time to stop feeding the Caucasus and how we are humiliated and it is time to take power in our own hands.”