Russian version

Extremism and xenophobia in electoral campaigns in 1999 and 2000

Vladimir Pribylovsky


Nominated and registered candidates
No less than 45 aspirants all-together intended to run in the Presidential Election-2000 (33 managed to register their initiative groups, 5 groups were denied registration, and 7 recalled their applications on their own initiative). Still, only 12 candidates succeeded in collecting the requisite signatures and registering for the election race.
Out of 33 candidates that registered their initiative groups with the Central Election Commission, 3 are national-patriots and another 4 are to a certain degree connected to national-patriotic outlooks.

The three national-patriotic candidates are Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), Alexander Barkashov, leader of the unregistered movement “Russian National Unity” (RNU) and Alexei Podberezkin, Chair of the Movement “Spiritual Heritage” and former State Duma Deputy from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF).
On January 14, 2000 the Central Election Commission registered the initiative group and authorized representatives of Vladimir V. Zhirinovsky, born on April 25, 1946, Deputy of the State Duma, Chair of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), Moscow. Nominated by the LDPR.
On January 18, 2000 the Central Election Commission registered the initiative group and authorized representatives of Alexander P. Barkashov, born on October 6, 1953, Deputy-Chair of non-profit partnership “Center of Slavic Martial Arts”, Moscow. Nominated by an initiative group of electors.
On January 18, 2000 the Central Election Commission registered the initiative group and authorized representatives of Alexander I. Podberezkin, born on February 7, 1953, Chair of the All-Russian Socio-Political Movement “Spiritual Heritage”, Moscow. Nominated by an initiative group of electors.
Two of the three nationalist candidates – Barkashov and Podberezkin – represent the organizations that are in every respect on the opposite sides of the fence:
In regards of those parameters, the third candidate Vladimir Zhirinovsky, just like the LDPR that nominated him, is basically situated in the center – between Barkashov/RNU and Podberezkin/Spiritual Heritage.

The four candidates that are to some degree accessorial to national-patriotic attitudes and/or connected to associations of national-patriotic tinge are as follows: Gennady Zyuganov, Chair of the CPRF, Stanislav Govorukhin, prominent film director and Deputy of the State Duma (from the Bloc “Motherland – The Entire Russia), Alexander Demin, Cossack Ataman (chief), and Nikolai Kozlov, activist of the Anti-Communist People’s Party.
On January 14, 2000 the Central Election Commission registered the initiative group and authorized representatives of Gennady A. Zyuganov, born on June 26, 1946, Chair of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), Moscow. Nominated by an initiative group of electors.
On January 24, 2000 the Central Election Commission registered the initiative group and authorized representatives of Nikolai I. Kozlov, born on June 10, 1952, member of the Political Board of St.-Petersburg Regional Anti-Communist People’s Party, St.-Petersburg. Nominated by an initiative group of electors.
On January 28, 2000 the Central Election Commission registered the initiative group and authorized representatives of Alexander P. Demin, born on September 3, 1936, Supreme Ataman of the Union of Cossack Regiments, village Grachevka of Zhukovsky district of Kaluga Region. Nominated by an initiative group of electors.
On January 28, 2000 the Central Election Commission registered the initiative group and authorized representatives of Stanislav S. Govorukhin, born on March 29, 1936. Nominated by an initiative group of electors.
While the CPRF is a communist party by its very name, background and views of the majority of its members, it is still more accurate to class the CPRF’s leading core, including G. Zyuganov, as adherents of the left-nationalists' ideology. The political outlook of Zyuganov himself, who was under strong influence of A. Podberezkin until 1999 and, in parallel with the CPRF, was also member of the “Spiritual Heritage”, can be characterized as a somewhat vulgarized version of the ideology of “Spiritual Heritage” (nationalism of more ethnic kind than the one of Podberezkin, elements of anti-semitism, and lesser flexibility regarding constructive compromises).
Quite eclectic views of the film director Stanislav Govorukhin comprise only minimal nationalist (imperial-etatist) elements, but his political biography, on the other hand, included connections with such nationalist organizations as Victor Rogozin’s Congress of Russian Communities (KRO) and Victor Aksyuchits’ Russian Christian-Democratic Movement (RKhVD). At the Parliamentary Election of 1995, the RKhVD was one of the co-founders of “Stanislav Govorukhin’s Bloc”.
Alexander Demin heads the organization that, while registered with the Ministry of Justice as an “All-Russian political public organization” (May 21, 1999; registration number: 244), in reality is much closer to “black business” (contraband trading in gemstones, etc.) than to politics. Nevertheless, just as the majority of other Cossack organizations, the Union of Cossack Regiments (SKF) actively exploits patriotic phraseology (“The SKF’s principal task is in assisting to the revival of Russia as a great thriving state with strong central power, capable of securing the country’s independence and prepotency on the international arena… to actively involve the Cossack community into socio-political activities is in the interests of the Russian State, fortification of its power and national security, as well as revival of its original spiritual and moral roots of society, including those founded on Russian Orthodox Faith and defense of honor and dignity of the Russian people.”— Program of the All-Russian political public organization “Union of Cossack Regiments”.)
Political views of Nikolai Kozlov, who was not known as a politically active person in the past, are practically unrevealed. On the other hand, he is a member of the Political Council of Vasily Terentyev’s “Anti-Communist People’s Party” (ANP), which in 1997-1999 made part of the so-called movement “Great Russian Empire” (coalition of the ANP, Petersburg Russian Party of Nikolai Bondarik, St-Petersburg branch of the RNU, St.-Petersburg organization of the National-Bolshevik Party and Leningrad Organization of Vyacheslav Marychev’s “Russia of Labor”).

Out of the truly nationalist candidates, only V. Zhirinovsky and A. Podberezkin succeeded in collecting 500 000 signatures and in registering with the Central Election Commission. Furthermore, G. Zyuganov and V. Govorukhin also collected the requisite number of signatures and obtained registration.
As concerns A. Demidov and N. Kozlov, there was practically no collection of signatures at all in both cases (registration of their initiative groups apparently represented a purely advertising action that never implied any further development).
Signatures in support of Barkashov (just like in 1996) were mainly collected in order to identify potential sympathizers (so as to engage their active participation in future activities of the RNU) and to promote the RNU’s ideology.

Position of Nationalist Parties and Leaders in Relation to the Candidates
By the day of Presidential Election – March 26, 2000 – the positions of national-patriotic parties and leaders proved to be maximally split. Different national-patriotic organizations and their leaders called the electors to vote for:

For Zhirinovsky and Podberezkin
The LDPR, that nominated Zhirinovsky, naturally voted for him. Moreover, he got the votes of quasi-bogus parties-satellites of the LDPR – Party of Spiritual Revival of Russia (DDVR) and Russian Union of Free Youth (RSSM) that made part of the “Bloc of Vladimir Zhirinovsky at the Duma Election of December 19, 1999 (3.989.932 votes, i.e. 5.58% -- 5-th place out of 26 participants).
The rest of national-patriotic organizations did not support V. Zhirinovsky’s candidacy.

Similarly, Alexander Podberezkin was only supported by his own movement “Spiritual Heritage” (at the Duma Election of December 19, 1999 the movement received 67,417 votes, i.e. 0.10% -- 24-th place).
In course of their election campaigns both A. Podberezkin and V. Zhirinovsky numerously pointed out their respect for Putin and, in case of second tour, promised in advance to encourage their electors to vote for Putin in the frame of second tour.

For Zyuganov
In addition to the CPRF and several other communist organizations, Gennady Zyuganov was supported by Victor Ilyukhin and Albert Makashov’s radical communist-nationalist Movement in Support of the Army (DPA), which had received 384,392 votes, i.e. 0.58% -- 15-th place at the Duma Election of 1999.
Among the periodicals of national-patriotic orientation, G. Zyuganov was supported and agitated for by the newspaper “Tomorrow” of Alexander Prokhanov, the so-called “Eurasian”, whose politics, in the same way as before, aim at unification of supporters of all national-patriotic and communist trends on the imperial foundation.
During the first several months of Putin’s work as Prime-Minister, A. Prokhanov showed some hesitation, voicing certain hopes that Putin could actually be a “patriot” and a “new Stalin”:
“Putin rejects America for the first time in ten years of occupation. Russian ear greedily absorbs his patriotic logos. Russian heart is beating with secret hope – this is he, the leader of long-suffered Russia, new Iosif Stalin, who had been waiting for his time to come, hidden in the secrete abodes of Jewish power, and now finally emerged to the light of the day” [1].
"As soon as he only tried to tame Chechnya, hinted at Russian strength, did not let the NTV (non-government TV-Channel) devour our army, and the people, hungry and dying out, believed his words and gave his votes to Putin without waiting for Grozny to fall.
Putin only showed from afar the paper scroll of “Russian-Belarus Agreement” and the people believed in revival of the Great Russia, supported this little Premier- karateka” [2].
Ultimately, however, Prokhanov came to the conclusion that V. Putin was not an independent politician but a puppet in the hands of Boris Berezovsky:
“Cybernetist, strategist, expert in Columbian methodologies, wiseman and black magus, he (Berezovsky) created Putin from a flat TV picture, a sack of explosives, thousands of torn-off heads of Russians and Chechens and a paper skull-cap titled “Russian-Belarus Union" [3].
Starting with the onset of the Presidential campaign, Prokhanov does not utter a single complementary word about Putin, and Zyuganov becomes the only hero of “Tomorrow”.

Just like in 1996, Victor Bezverkhy, leader of the “Union of Wends” called Russian nationalists to support the candidacy of G. Zyuganov.

For Putin
The candidacy of Vladimir Putin was supported by Dmitry Rogozin, leader of the Congress of Russian Communities (KRO). Together with the Movement of Yuri Boldyrev, the KRO received 405.295 votes, i.e. 0.61% -- 12-th place at the Election of December 19, 1999.

Already during the period of the election campaign for the State Duma, Sergei Baburin's Russian All-People's Union (ROS), which had received 245.266 votes, i.e. 0.37%, -- 12-th out of 26 at the Duma Election of December 19, 1999, started inclining towards Putin. Shortly before December 19, Zigmund Stankevich, head of the ROS' election head-quarters, stated in his interview for the party's newspaper "Time":
"We started giving an eye to Vladimir Putin a long time ago. When we saw that his politics turned out to be concurrent with our keynotes and principles (especially, in relation to Chechnya, where a fierce struggle against separatism was launched), we decided to support him. We also support Putin's government on the matter of restricting illegal migration of foreigners (including those from the new independent states) in the territory of Russia. …Putin is probably our first Premier-etatist. He is a "strong" Premier and we support him" [4].
At the ROS' assembly, the party's recent member Nikolai Lysenko, one of the former leaders of "Pamyat/Remembrance" and former leader of radical, ethno-nationalist National Republican Party of Russia (NRPR) made the following statement:
"…We must give our support to Putin, even if for the reason that Russia has no other alternative today. But it's not that we shall support Putin just like that or just for Chechnya -- after all, Russian children die in Chechnya, and not the children of "abramovitch" (Abramovich is at the same time a common Jewish name and the name of Roman Abramovich, close to Berezovsky and influential in Russian politics -- comment of the translator). While giving our support to Putin, we must also point out that we support the political line that aims at freeing Russia from the stranglehold of all those Abramoviches at all levels of the society's financial, political, and ideological structures." [5]
In accordance with the Assembly's resolution, the Presidium of the ROS' Central Council wrote and dispatched to Putin "The recommendations of Russian All People's Union to the President of the Russian Federation aimed at overcoming the crisis in Russia" [6].

Putin was supported by all the three organizations-official founders of the Bloc "Russian Deed" (112.330 votes, i.e. 0.17% -- 21-th place at the Duma Election of December 19, 1999) -- namely, Alexander Bazhenov and Alexander Korzhakov's relatively moderate leftist-nationalist Russian All People's Movement (ROD), Vladimir Osipov's radically rightist (monarchy-fascist and Orthodox-fundamentalist) Union "Christian Revival", and Boris Tarasov's communist-nationalist Union of Compatriots "Fatherland".

The Acting President also found some supporters among other marginal organizations that were not able to participate in the election on their own.

Dmitry Vasilyev (National-Patriotic Front "Pamyat/Remembrance") was the first one of them to express his support for Putin as for a "serious guy" [7]. Later he also agitated for Putin in the frame of the Presidential election race.
In addition to the already-mentioned N. Lysenko and D. Vasilyev, some other national-patriots also supported Putin's politics -- namely, Vladimir Popov (publisher of the Nazi newspaper "The Era of Russia" and member of the leadership of People's National Party, NNP), Yuri Belyaev (former member of the NNP's leadership, former leader of the National Social Party), and Nikolai Bondarik (Chair of the Russian Party of Petersburg).
In January 2000, V. Popov came forth with an editorial article in "The Era of Russia", where the following conclusions were made:
"Putin's very first steps in the Presidential Office already demonstrate that he shall not tolerate the permissive environment of the persons of Jewish nationality. He excluded their Fractions from the distribution of the profitable Committees in the new State Duma. He shall not pay heed to their friends in the West. Instead, he focuses his attention on the devastation in the country that came about in the result of the 10 years of dominance of the Jewish gang, and he makes the conclusions that are most probably already known to the guilty ones. These conclusions, though, have not been made public for the benefit of the whole country just yet. It is evident that prior to publicizing his conclusions, Putin must create the requisite social foundation for his victory at the Presidential Election. That social foundation has to be very strong, able to withstand the rabid propaganda of Jewish mass-media…" [8]
On February 18, in St.-Petersburg, Yu. Belyaev, N. Bondarik, V. Popov and etc. held the 5-th Assemby of Russian nationalists with the purpose of adopting a joint resolution on supporting V. Putin in the frame of the Presidential Election. On the eve of the Assembly, N. Bondarik, member of the Organizational Committee of the Assembly, stated in his interview for a St.-Petersburg correspondent of the newspaper "Version":
"I, my party and the majority of Russian nationalist movements, whose delegates shall attend the Assembly, believe that the Assembly shall provide for lucid coordination of our activities aimed at supporting Vladimir Putin's candidacy in the frame of the Presidential Election. …After his victory, Putin shall bring to the logical conclusion the judicial proceedings against Babitsky. He will succeed in making sure that no other such journalist could ever appear on TV screen. We also hope that the public opinion shall induce Putin to reign in the gluttonous gang of Jewish bankers that feeds on Russian people. …There are specific facts which demonstrate that Putin is already realizing and shall continue to realize our program, as opposed to the program of Berezovsky, Gusinsky, Abramovich and their likes. …Boris Berezovsky shall soon accurse the day when he entered into alliance with Putin. Soon, very soon, Berezovsky-the-Jew shall pay a dear price for the support that he has rendered to Putin. Another Jew, Sobchack, has already paid for it." [9]
Nevertheless, despite the efforts of Yu. Belyaev and N. Bondarik, the nationalists' support for Putin did not prove to be unconditional. According to Roman Pecherin, editor of the newspaper of St.-Petersburg national-radicals "For Russian Cause", "part of the delegates left the conference-hall after Yuri Belyaev's words about giving support to Putin" [10].
The final version of the Assembly's resolution reads as follows: "The 5-th Assembly of Russian national forces refrains from supporting Putin and Yakovlev (governor of St.-Petersburg) until they address Russian national-patriotic movement with specific prepositions and make their concrete programs public". …"The 5-th Assembly of Russian nationalist forces approved of the actions of the Russian authorities aimed at destruction of bandits' regiments in Chechnya. However, the measures undertaken by them are evidently insufficient. Rigid unwavering politics are indispensable." [11]

Against All Candidates
Before the idea to vote "against all candidates" for Presidency was voiced by the national-radicals, it had been expressed by some anarchists (Anatoly Osmolovsky's group) and some democrats (web-site "Kremlin Wall" and the initiative group "NO" with its distinctive stand to call the electors to vote "against all" not on March 26, but only in the frame of second tour). It is not that well-known, on the other hand, that when the election day was already nearing certain national-radicals also decided in favor of the "against all" position.
While some national-radicals of marginal kind gave their support to Putin without any hesitations or after minor hesitations, others did hesitate and their doubts led to a different result. In particular, early in the year 2000, the League of Defense of National Public Domain" (LZND, Alexander Sevastyanov), People's National Party (NNP, Alexander Ivanov-Sukharevsky) and a certain Russian Vedic Union came forth with "Instruction to the President of Russia" that comprised 26 paragraphs ("To put in prisoner's box… Gorbachev, Eltsyn and his family, Berezovsky, Chubais, Gaidar, Chernomyrdin, Kirienko, Livshits, Kokh, Urinson, Abramovich, Smolensky, Geraschenko, Shor, Gusinsky, Nemtsov, Yasin…"; "to confiscate all the property of Jewish banking mafia…"; "to prohibit in Russia the activities of such Jewish fascist organizations as the All-Russian Jewish Congress of Gusinsky, the "anti-fascist" Center of Proshechkin, etc."; "…to introduce into Russian legislation a mandatory requirement for candidates running in elections to submit declarations of their true nationality (including predecessors in three generations), true names and sexual orientation"; "to prevent non-Russian immigrants from entering Russia", and so on and so forth) [12].
A. Sevastyanov accompanied the publication of this "Instruction" in his "National Gazette" with the following clarification: "For now, we shall refrain from joining the line of those that want to lie down under the Acting President, the line that is full to overflowing with the administrators of all ranks and some of the so-called Russian leaders. …We shall wait and find out what the answer to our demands is going to be like" [13].
Due to the fact that "the RNU's men-power proved to be insufficient to organize efficient collection of signatures" [14] and Putin never gave them any answer, A. Sevastyanov did not form any particular opinion in regards of the Presidential Election (or at least never voiced any concrete opinion publicly) and A. Ivanov-Sukharevsky decided in favor of the "against all" position.
Vladimir Davidenko's movement "Spas", whose leading core includes Sevastyanov, and the editorial board of Alexander Aratov's newspaper "Russian Truth" also chose to vote "against all".
Practically on the eve of the Election, the most significant national-radical organization RNU also joined the ranks of those agitating the electors to vote against all candidates. Five days prior to the Election, the Russian National Unity carried out mass posting of leaflets "Vote against all. Russian National Unity of Alexander Barkashov" in the halls and transfer-ways of nearly all the metro stations in Moscow.

For Boycott
Boycott of the Presidential Election aimed at their disruption (ultimate program) or at least at minimization of their legitimizing significance (minimal program) was primarily supported by small leftist groups -- mainly, anarchists and Trotskists.
Out of the nationalist organizations, only Eduard Limonov's National Bolshevik Party (NBP) chose to support the boycott idea:
"What needs to be done about the Election? It has to be totally boycotted. You must not show up at the Election at all. You must not vote "against all" because if you do so, your vote will be added to the total number of the Election's participants, and therefore you will help them reach the 50% level of attendance requisite in order for the Election to be ruled realized." [15]
While agitating for total boycott of the Presidential Election, the National Bolshevik Party put a special emphasis on the struggle with those who chose to vote "against all". Already after the Election, the following statement appeared on the NBP's web-site:
"…The agitation for that mythic candidate "against all" was in fact none else but agitation in favor of the Acting President. Those who came to the Election and voted "against all" were precisely the ones who brought about Putin's victory in the first tour by virtue of their attendance. By Law, if the attendance does not reach 50%, the candidates are not allowed to participate in the subsequent repeated Election" [16].

Results of the Election for National-Patriots
According to the official results of the Election of March 26, 2000, Vladimir Zhirinovsky received 2.026.513 votes of the electors (5-th place after V. Putin, G. Zyuganov, G. Yavlinsky, and Aman Tuleev).
Alexei Podberezkin received 98.175 votes (0.13% -- 11-th [17] place, second to last).
Stanislav Govorukhin received 328.723 votes (0.44% -- 9-th [18] place). It is difficult to say what percentage of Govorukhin's votes actually belonged with the electors of national-patriotic orientation. After all, no surveys of such specific group of electorate as fans of Stanislav Govorukhin the film director have been made. (In seems very likely, on the other hand, that most of the people who voted in favor of Govorukhin were indeed his fans and not national-patriots.)
We can affirm with a high degree of probability that the better part of the national-patriots' votes went to V. Putin and to G. Zyuganov. The actual proportion of those votes' division between the candidates-favorites can be figured out only upon when appropriate sociological surveys are conducted.
In light of the fact that in the past national-patriots mostly voted for Zyuganov, and the number of votes given in his favor did not suffer a significant drop, we may suggest that Zyuganov's nationalist electorate did not cross over to Putin in its entirety -- not by a long shot at all.
[1] "Tomorrow", No.47, 1999 (See it's site here and after)
[2] "Tomorrow", No.51, 1999
[3] "Tomorrow", No.52, 1999
[4] "Time", No.50, 15-21 December, 1999
[5] "Time", No.6, 16-22 February, 2000
[6] "Time", No.13(272), 5-15 April, 2000
[7] "Tomorrow", No.49, 1999
[8] "What do they demand from Putin?", article by V. Popov in "The Era of Russia", No.1(45), January 2000
[9] "For Fuhrer! Petersburg nationalists give their support to Putin", article by Mikhail Panchenko in "Version", No.11(85), 21-27 March, 2000
[10] "For Russian Cause", No.4(75), February 2000
[11] ibid
[12] "National Gazette. Monthly Russian Review", No.2(30), 2000
[13] "Is it the right party? Is it the right leader?" article by A. Sevastyanov in the National Gazette. Monthly Russian Review", No.2(30), 2000
[14] "The new road", article by A. Sevastyanov in the National Gazette. Monthly Russian Review", No.2(30), 2000
[15] "Electorate! It'll be your own fault!", article by E.L. (Eduard Limonov) in "Limonka", No.139, March 2000
[16] The last statement testifies to the fact that Limonov does not know the appropriate legislation -- the Law on Elections does NOT stipulate that if electors boycott the election, the candidates are not allowed to participate in the subsequent repeated Election.
Furthermore, the official attendance at the Presidential Election was 75.181.071 persons (68.74% of the total number of electors), while only 1.414.648 persons (1.88%) voted "against all", another 701.033 persons (0.93%) intentionally or unintentionally spoilt their bulletins, and approximately 10.000 persons either took their bulletins home or lost them on the way to ballot box. In other words, -- the requisite 50% attendance would have been guaranteed even if those three categories of electors had boycotted the Election together with the anarchists and Limonov.
[17] Counting the "against all" position, which came 6-th. If we do not take the "against all" position into consideration, then Podberezkin's place is 10-th.
[18] Counting the "against all" position, which came 6-th. If we do not take the "against all" position into consideration, then Govorukhin's place is 8-th.
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