Searching for a Serbian Havel

Nicholas J. MUier

Life in Belgrade

The Destruction of Alternatives

Eric D.Gordy

Stories in Mode'rn Serbia Marko Zivkovic

Ultranationalist Ideology in Croatia Jill A. Irvine

RUSSIA Making Markets leff Hass

Review Essay: The Russian Right

Andreas Umland


o 74470 86807 1


The Post-Soviet Russian Extreme Right


Andreas Umland

By focusing on communism's possible return to Russia, observers have neglected twentieth-century Russian right-wing extremism, which traces its roots to imperial Russia and is evident throughout the Soviet period. Th is essay provides a comprehensive critique

of recent publ ications in

this genre.

ANDREAS UMLAND is a visiting graduate student at the Department of Political Science at Stanford University. He would like to thank Richard Sakwa of the University of Kent and the anonymous readers in the Department of History of Northern Illinois University for their helpful comments on an earlier draft. Financial support was provided by the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes and the NATO Press and Information Office.

Problems of Post-Communism, vol. 44, no. 4, July/August t997, pp. 5Hl. © 1997 M.E. Sharpe, Inc.AII rights reserved.

ISSN 1075-8216/1997 $9.50 +0.00.

Twentieth-century Russian right-wing extremism has been an unduly neglected subject in Western social and political sciences. Mostly, the focus was on what were regarded as specifically Russian permutations of generic left-wing extremism. Yet there always remained a fundamental conundrum. Many Soviet policies and institutions were perceived as clear expressions of "political extremism." But radical egalitarianism, maximalist universalism, or nihilistic cosmopolitanism could not fully account for many central traits of Soviet domestic and foreign behavior. t Considerations such as these may have led Robert Tucker to classify Stalin as a "Bolshevik of the radical Right.'?

Historical Origins

With its focus on the Right's intellectual formation during the post-World War II period, Thomas Parland's The Rejection in Russia of Totalitarian Socialism and Liberal Democracy constitutes a welcome addition to the few published monographs in the field. Besides outlining an original explanation for the rise of Russian nationalism in light of classical macrosociological theory, the book is also valuable in filling some gaps in previous descriptions of Soviet Russian nationalism. The author not only reviews the literary works of such famous Russophile writers as the moderate nationalist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and the more extreme Valentin Rasputin. He also introduces several lesser-known, yet politically relevant, nationalist authors, such as the liberal patriot Anatolii Anane' v and the ultranationalists Vasilii Belov and Viktor Ivanov,' The tremendous differences between the political outlooks of these writers could, however, have been made more explicit.

Parland provides useful summaries and interpretations of some relevant articles in the 1986-92 issues of the major Muscovite Right-radical "thick journals" Nash

Umland The Post-Soviet Russian Extreme Right 53

Recent Publications About

the Post-Soviet Russian Extreme Right

Evgeniia Al'bats, Evreiskii vopros (The Jewish Question). Moscow:


Bar'er-Challenge: Antifashistskii zhurnal (Barrier-Challenge: An Anti-Fascist Journal). St. Petersburg.

Peter Conradi. Schirinowski und der neue russische Nationalismus (Zhirinovskii and the New Russian Nationalism). Trans. Peter Klumbach. DUsseldorf: ECON Taschenbuch Verlag, 1995.

Wolfgang Eichwede, ed. Der Schirinowski-Effekt: Wohin treibt RuBland?(The Zhirinovskii-Effect: Where Is Russia Drifting?}. Reinbeck bei Hamburg: Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag, 1994.

Fashizm i fashistskie organizatsii v stranakh byvshego SSSR:

Daidzhest SMI Rossii i drugikh stran byvshego SSSR (Fascism and Fascist Organizations in the Countries of the Former USSR: Digest of the Mass Media of Russia and the Other Countries of the Former USSR). Moscow.

Graham Frazer and George tancelle. Absolute Zhirinovsky: A Transparent View of the Distinguished Russian Statesman. New York: Penguin, 1994.

Vladimir Kartsev with Todd Bludeau. !Zhirinovsky! New York:

Columbia University Press, 1995.

Elena Klepikova and Vladimir Solovyov. Zhirinovsky: Russian Fascism and the Making of a Dictator. Reading, MA:AddisonWesley, 1995.

William Korey. RussianAntisemitism, Pamyat, and the DemonologyofZionism. Studies inAntisemitism, vol. 2. Chur, Switzerland: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1995.

Walter Laqueur. Black Hundred: The Rise of the Extreme Right in Russia. New York: Harper Collins, 1993.

Wolf Oschlies. Wladimir Schirinowski: Der h:iBliche Russe und das postkommunistische Osteuropa (Vladimir Zhirinovskii:

The Ugly Russian and Post-Communist Eastern Europe). Cologne: B~hlau Verlag, 1995.

Thomas Parland. The Rejection in Russia of Totalitarian Socialism and Liberal Democracy:A Study of the Russian New Right. Helsinki: Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters, 1993.

Politicheskii extremizm v Rossii: Informatsionno-analiticheskii biulleten (Political Extremism in Russia: Informational-Analytical Bulletin). Moscow.

Radical Opposition Leaders. Moscow.

Semyon Reznik. The Nazification of Russia: Antisemitism in the Post-Soviet Era. Washington: Challenge Publications, 1996.

Viktor Timchenko. Ich erwecke RuBland mit Blut-Wladimir Wolfowitsch Shirinowski (I'll Awake Russia with BloodVladimir Volfovich Zhirinovskii). Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag, 1994.

Aleksandr Verkhovskii, Anatolii Papp, and Vladimir Pribylovskii, eds. Politicheskii extremizm v Rossii (Political Extremism in Russia). Moscow: Informatsionno ekspertnaia gruppa "Panorama," 1996.

Aleksandr Yanov. Posle El'tsina: "Veimarskaia" Rossiia (After Yeltsin: "Weimar" Russia). Moscow: KRUK, 1995.

Vladimir Zhirinovskii. "Was ich wirklich will" ("What I Really Want"). Munich: FZ-Verlag, 1994.

--. My Struggle: The Explosive Views of Russia's Most Controversial Political Figure. New York: Barricade Books, 1996.

54 Problems of Post-Communism July/August 1997

sovremennik (Our Contemporary) and Molodaia gvardiia (Young Guard). In extending earlier studies of the varieties of contemporary Russian nationalism, Parland's analysis, however, also repeats some of their flaws. One such flaw is the lack of an adequate taxonomy (i.e., an unequivocal typology of the political spectrum according to generic labels). In Russia, Western political vocabulary often assumes a different meaning. By not clearly defining his criteria for distinguishing "fascism" from "semi-fascism" as well as distinguishing these phenomena from "reaction" or "conservatism," Parland's (and many other analysts') conclusions remain sometimes vague and occasionally cryptic. The mere location of the different groupings on a moderate--radical scale, as Parland's considerations illustrate, is a difficult endeavor and even if undertaken more or less satisfactorily is insufficiently informative. A sole operation with such a broad and Russia-specific concept as "national patriotism," in tum, does not tell much to the political comparati vist.

The empirical part of the study might have gained from taking into consideration-in addition to the standard texts by Dunlop and Yanovv--eome further relevant secondary sources on the development of Russian nationalism during the period with which he is mostly concerned.' Finally, although Parland's study was published in 1993, the research had apparently been completed by 1991. This was probably the reason why he did not include Ivan Win (1883-1954) and Lev Gumilev (1912-1992}-two twentieth-century Russian Right theoreticians whose writings have recently become significant points of reference for many Russian ultranationalist ideologists and leaders, including Liberal Democratic Party of Russia leader Vladimir Zhirinovskii and Communist Party of the Russian Federation leader Gennadii Ziuganov.

Walter Laqueur's seminal study, Black Hundred: The Rise of the Extreme Right in Russia, has already been widely reviewed, discussed, and even translated into Russian. The book is profoundly important for studies of Russian right-wing extremism in that it, for the first time, combines a sharp focus on the subject with a firm historical grounding and consideration of an admirably wide range of disparate ideological phenomena ranging from mainstream Soviet patriotism to some of the most obscure post-Soviet fringe-groups. Laqueur's treatment of ultranationalistic tendencies in Russian emigre circles, the Orthodox Church, and the Cossack movement are especially valuable. A leading authority on fascism, Laqueur introduces some pertinent comparative observations on the Russian Right, including Action Francais

and the early Nazis." In addition, the book is innovative in setting the century-long rise of the Russian extreme Right in the context of an increasing (if somewhat paradoxical) international diffusion of ultranationalist, vitalistic, and elitist theories. Actually, an even more extensive treatment of the comparative and international aspects would have been welcome.'

As others have noted before, Laqueur's account of the late and post-Soviet groupings and personalities contains a number of erroneous labels, names, and dates." The section on Zhirinovskii mixes up some of the personages around him. In view of the freshness of the information at the time the book was published, mistakes like these are understandable. A more serious imbalance is that the author touches only in passing on the rapidly growing ultranationalist tendencies in the Communist Party as exemplified by the rise of Gennadii Ziuganov.? He also deals insufficiently with the ancien regime's often crucial (if sometimes disguised) role in the appearance, promotion, and protection of the explicitly ultranationalist politicians such as Zhirinovskii. Nevertheless, Laqueur has synthesized and conceptualized the field of Russian right-wing extremism studies. His conclusion, "Russian Nationalism Today and Tomorrow," is one of the most thoughtful essays available on post-Soviet Russian politics.

New Document Collections

Russia's rapid transformation and nascent democratization during the past decade has meant increased access to information. Unfortunately, much of this data is haphazardly collected and poorly organized. Among the few initiatives to provide better-quality information to Russian and Western students ofthe new nationalist opposition have been the appearance of the anti-fascist journal Barrier-Challenge (created by a group ofSt. Petersburg human-rights activists in autumn 1992), Radical Opposition Leaders and Fascism and Fascist Organizations in the Countries of the Former USSR (two biweekly compilations produced by the Moscow commercial agency "What the Papers Say"),IO and the irregular bulletin Political Extremism in Russia (published by Moscow's Civil Society Foundation since the spring of 1995).11

Barrierreports on right-wing extremist activities, especially in St. Petersburg and the provinces, and provides concise analyses by Russian and international legal and political experts. Radical Opposition Leaders (1994- 96) contains condensed or full-English translations of major statements by right-wing politicians and publicists in the nationalist press and articles on right-wing activi-

ties in non-extremist newspapers andjoumals. The pieces are selected from more than 100 Russian dailies and periodicals as well as from some TV and radio programs. Fascism and Fascist Organizations in the Countries of the Former USSR (since June 1996) compiles copies of Russian articles on generic and post-Soviet Russian fascism--subjects that have become of wider interest in connection with numerous legal actions by rightist politicians regarding fascist labeling during recent years, the State Duma's hearings on "Symptoms of a Fascist Threat in the Russian Federation" in February 1995, and Russian president Boris Yeltsin's anti-fascist decree of March 1995.12

The bulletin Political Extremism in Russia, like the above publications, prints abstracts of crucial right-wing texts. It also provides a documented chronology of extremist party activities, mass actions, organizational and political innovations, as well as reports on election campaigns, survey data, dossiers on organizations and periodicals, bibliographies, and even an index. In addition, special sections summarize moves by government organs and non-governmental organizations against anti-democratic activities (including their legal aspects), and outline the positions of moderate political forces regarding their radical counterparts."

Also called Political Extremism in Russia, the Panorama Experts Group publication by Aleksandr Verkhovskii, Anatolii Papp, and Vladimir Pribylovskii is equally useful." The first part of the collection contains analytical sections on the preconditions, emergence, and development of anti-democratic organizations in Russia, legal aspects, a comparison ofthe different rightand left-wing extremist groupings, a proposal on how to fight them, and some prognoses on the likely future of Russian "political extremism." The massive appendix is the authors' major contribution. The first section provides a short introduction to the "New Opposition" wing of the extreme Right, represented by such prolific neofascist publicists as Eduard Limonov and Aleksandr Dugin." Also included are introductions to leftist (i.e., anarchist) extremism in post-Soviet Russia. The second section provides concise, highly informative, and apparently accurate descriptions of forty-seven organizations and their publications, eight independent publishing houses, and sixty-five political leaders and publicists.

Apart from providing an enormous amount of data, the authors meticulously show how the more moderate and the clearly extremist nationalist and neo-communist organizations have over the years become interpenetrated through shared personnel and complicated organizational intermingling. Thus, the dozens of anti-democratic groupings, parties, and editorial boards constitute, despite their

Umland The Post-Soviet Russian Extreme Right 55

Soviet anti-communist party, the Democratic Union founded in May 1988. They thus create a distinctly misleading impression about one of the bravest (if often eccentric) veteran Soviet dissidents.

Nonetheless, both publications provide the most exhaustive, accurate, and user-friendly descriptions of postSoviet Russian right-wing extremist activities available today and thus are essential reading for anyone interested in the subject.

ideological differences, a relatively uniform core that has often reached out into mainstream Russian politics. Besides presenting new details and pertinent observations on the context, background, and motivations of rightwing extremist actions, Verkhovskii, Papp, and Pribylovskii have made an important contribution by explicitly locating large parts of the Cossack movement outside the democratic spectrum. This particular variety ofRussian ultranationalism has, along with the non-extremist sections of the Cossack movement, been officially tolerated, even supported and partly integrated into state structures by the Russian government, including President Yeltsin.16

Unfortunately, the authors have largely ignored the most relevant Russian non-democratic party, Gennadii Ziuganov's Communist Party of the Russian Federation,

and its influential think tank, the "Spiritual Heritage" Foundation headed by Aleksei Podberezkin.

In defining "political extremism," the authors apparently had difficulties somewhat similar to those encountered in German "extremism studies."!" Unlike their German colleagues, who use a larger set of criteria, the Russian authors define only the readiness to use violence as the crucial yardstick for an "extremist" categorization. Yet such a narrow conceptualization excludes many proto-fascist writings from consideration as threats to democracy. At the same time, this concept could, if interpreted broadly, lead one to group all non-pacifist political positions under the heading of "extremist." The general problem of generic "political extremism" conceptualized in ideological terms seems to be that the actual variable that takes an extreme value remains unclear. In other words, "extremism" is deficient insofar as it represents a relational term. It makes sense if associated with a substantive concept, such as nationalism. Yet, it does not mean much by itself.

This particularly problematic aspect of adequately mapping the Russian political landscape may be related to the one serious flaw of both the Civil Society Foundation's bulletin and the Panorama Group's Political Extremism in Russia. Both expert groups have chosen to list and analyze the activities of the famous radical-liberal Valeriia Novodvorskaia, leader of the first

56 Problems of Post-Communism July/August 1997




Although originally written for the Russian public, Evgeniia Al'bats's The Jewish Question is also accessible to the Western reader. This short treatise not only is a brilliant polemic against Russian hate speech, but also sketches Russian xenophobic stereotypes and antiSemitic ideas. A Russian Jew who still lives in Russia, Al 'bats vividly illustrates the distinctiveness of these phenomena in the USSR as exemplified by the Soviet regime's concept of"anti-Zionism"-a bogus notion that entails not opposition to Jewish emigration to Israel but resistance against a worldwide anti-Soviet or anti-Russian Judeo-Masonic "plutocratic" conspiracy. Al'bats shows how Soviet-style crypto-anti-Jewishness gradually transformed back into manifest Russian antiSemitism after 1985. Besides also providing new details on right-wing leaders (including Zhirinovskii's family background), this short book is a good contribution to what one may call the "hermeneutics of Russian nationalism"-meaning students of post-Soviet right-wing extremism (especially non-Russian) will find it helpful in understanding the idiosyncrasies and numerous specific codewords of the contemporary Russian political debate. 18 Two characteristic cases are the usage of the word "Jew" as a universal invective against anyone perceived as alien or Russophobic (even if ethnically Russian) and the demand for "proportional ethnic representation" as a means of stopping an alleged Jewish domination and manipulation of the government, academia, or media. 19

Semyon Reznik's recent The Nazification of Russia is an even more useful contribution in this regard." A perceptive observer, shrewd investigative journalist, and careful archivist, Reznik has produced an original, informative, and readable account of the development of "anti-Zionism" in the USSR and the rise of anti-Semitic organizations since the beginning of perestroika. His research on Soviet "Zionology" of the I 960s-80s (Vladimir Begun, Aleksandr Romanenko, Valerii Emelianov, and others) is especially valuable. It provides a number of important new particulars on the writings of this infa-


mous group of authors and on the peculiar intrigues and manipulations that were undertaken by the Soviet establishment in order to protect from criticism and further promote "Zionology." Reznik also adds some revealing observations on late Soviet Russian mainstream ultranationalist thought (Igor' Shafarevich, Viktor Astafiev, Stanislav Kuniaev, and others) and on the rise ofvarious anti-Semitic organizations, including Pamiat.

In contrast, his accounts of the post-Soviet right-wing scene are somewhat sketchy and partly inaccurate. For instance, Reznik at one point confuses some right-wing organizations (the Slavic Assembly, the Russian National Assembly, and the National Salvation Front) and falsely states that in the spring of 1995 the Russian Academy of Sciences did not respond to Yeltsin's request to formulate a definition of fascism. He also misinterprets


Gorbachev's unfortunate cadre policy-meaning his appointments of nationalists: For example, Aleksandr Sukharev became attomey general ofthe USSR; Valentin Rasputin was appointed a member of the Presidential Council; and Anatolii Luk' ianov was appointed speaker of the USSR Congress of People's Deputies. Reznik sees these decisions as a sign of Gorbachev 's empire-building ambitions or of his involvement in a conspiracy against himself. Reznik did not take into account that Gorbachev's actual range of action-including his freedom to nominate and push through candidates of his choice for high positions--was limited by tactical considerations until the very end of his chairmanship and presidency. Also his selection of staff turned out be in general rather ill fated (not to say naive) as exemplified by the treason of one of his closest associates, long-time aide and chief of staff Valerii Boldin, who was a conspirator in the August 1991 putsch.

On a conceptual level, Reznik's account is confusing:

He applies the label "Nazism" indiscriminately to indigenous as well as to mimetic Russian anti-Semitism and fascism. This is misleading insofar as contemporary Russian politicized anti-Semitism is not only an import from Germany. The term "Nazism" should be reserved for categorizing those ideologies that directly refer to the

German fascist regime's specific political and social program. At least some of the writers labeled as "Nazis" should be seen as genuinely Russian ultranationalists or fascists, rather than as full-scale followers of Adolf Hitler. The issue is less about the nature of certain indigenous Russian right-wing extremist ideologies, which may indeed be seen as essentially similar to Nazism. Instead, a rigid distinction should be made for pragmatic reasons. Ifwe use the term "Nazism" for all sorts ofradical-Right ideas, which term would we then use to identify those Russian fascists who have indeed in one way or another expressed their sympathy for, or debt to, German fascism (such as Aleksandr Barkashev, Valentin Prussakov, and Aleksei Batogov)?

Finally, Reznik's book might have benefited-even more than Parland's study-from considering a wider range of secondary literature. Although the author quotes the major works on contemporary Russian nationalism, he does not refer to previous relevant writings on antiSemitism in Soviet Russia." In addition, there are many well-researched studies on Pamiat, which Reznik unfortunately does not incorporate."

The latter point also applies to William Korey's important recent monograph Russian Antisemitism, Pamyat, and the Demonology of Zionism." Although Korey's book is also unsatisfactory concerning Pamiat and the post-Soviet right-wing extremist scene, it is the most comprehensive, detailed, and reliable summary of the different expressions of "anti-Zionism" in Soviet propaganda--cultural, educational, nationality, and foreign policy-between 1967 and 1986. In addition, Korey briefly traces their pre-revolutionary and Stalinist origins. He also persuasively highlights the importance of the years of intensive "anti-Zionist" campaigning for postSoviet Russian politics, exemplified by the astonishingly naive views of many Russians regarding the Holocaust, the Jewish contribution to World War II, or the possible existence of a worldwide "Zionist conspiracy." Korey, moreover, underlines that, as distinct from the spread of anti-Semitic attitudes in Western countries, such stereotypes seem to be held disproportionately by educated Russians. It seems not unreasonable to assume that this peculiar phenomenon may be related to, among others factors, the Soviet "anti-Zionist" agitation and propaganda efforts."

With regard to Zhirinovskii, however, Korey may have drawn inaccurate conclusions. To be sure, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) has occasionally made outrageous anti-Semitic statements, and he is surrounded by some of Russia's most fanatically anti-Jewish figures. However, Zhirinovskii person-

Umland The Post-Soviet Russian Extreme Right 57

Vladimir Zhirinovskii, leader of the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, at a press conference in the Duma, March 22, 1996. Courtesy of Reuters/Alexander Natruskin/Archive Photos.

ally seems to be much more obsessed with those he calls "Southerners," especially Turks. Discussions of Russian Jewry, an international anti-Russian "Zionist" plot, and Israel are not as prominent in most LDPR documents as they are in documents of other ultranationalist Russian parties. Korey has repeated a mistake made by Wolf Oschlies (see below), who linked the LDPR agenda to Nazism when he referred to a Foreign Affairs article by Jacob Kipp." Kipp quoted extensively from a 1992 article in the LDPR newspaper Zhirinovskii s Falcon, "Theoretical Foundations of National Socialism." For some reason, Kipp classified the article's author, Igor' Minin, as a major LDPR ideologist. At the time, however, this newspaper was edited by the two notorious "Rock Nazis.?" Sergei Zharikov and Andrei Arkhipov, who had been temporary aides to Zhirinovskii in 1991- 92. Zharikov and Arkhipov had been given a relatively free hand in producing the first three issues of Zhirinovskii 's Falcon. As a result the periodical became a mouthpiece for Moscow's neo-Nazi youth, a development that finally led to the estrangement between Zhirinovskii and the Zharikov-Arkhipov group in the autumn of 1992. Thus, neither the newspaper nor the rabidly anti-Semitic article by Igor' Minin are fully representative of the overall LDPR agenda in 1992. Minin is not even mentioned in any relevant party records.

The Zhirinovskii Phenomenon

Whereas, before December 1993, Russian right-wing extremism was a subject of concern to a narrow circle of specialists, Zhirinovskii's victory in Russia's 1993 mul-

58 Problems of Post-Communism July/August 1997

tiparty parliamentary elections brought it to the attention of a wider audience. As early as July 1994 a group of German and Russian researchers produced the first comprehensive assessment, The Zhirinovskii-Effect:

Where Is Russia Drifting? The title of the collection is somewhat misleading in that it deals less with possible consequences ofZhirinovskii's rise than with various aspects and determinants of his ascendence. In that regard, the book represents a good snapshot of the political situation in Russia at that time and its historical background. The contributions by Wolfgang Eichwede, Dietrich Geyer, Heinrich Vogel, and Gerd Koenen on the course of the Russian reforms, the Russian imperialist tradition, its impact on foreign policy, and connections between the German and the Russian Right are erudite summaries. Karla Hielscher develops a typology of the basic ideological features of Russian nationalism. Gassan Gusseinov makes some interesting observations on its language. Anatolii Maksimov, Mikhail Odesskii, and Galina Luchterhandt provide introductions to Zhirinovskii 's biography and the LDPR, and Aleksei Levinson and Vladimir Shokarev sketch out Zhirinovskii's electorate. Although some of the data and interpretations presented are original, all essays largely ignore the few existing publications on the subject. On the whole, this little book's scope is too broad and the contributions only rarely relate to each other. The endeavor would have benefited from a narrower focus.

Viktor Timchenko's I'll Awake Russia with Blood, Graham Frazer and George Lancelle's Absolute Zhirinovsky. WolfOschlies's The Ugly Russian and PostCommunist Eastern Europe, and Vladimir Kartsev's !Zhirinovsky! were also written within several months after Zhirinovskii's electoral success." The journalist Timchenko has done far-reaching, on-the-spot investigations in Moscow and provided some original data on the internal affairs of Zhirinovskii's party. Frazer and Lancelle offer a useful and well-annotated collection of Zhirinovskii's more memorable statements on various matters. Oschlies's study is exceptional in that the apparently polyglot author provides a comprehensive overview of Zhirinovskii's activities and impressions of them in Eastern Europe." Kartsev, a former colleague ofZhirinovskii's at Moscow's Mir Publishers in the 1980s, offers some fascinating insights into Zhirinovskii's pre-political life.Yet none of the books is based on enough empirical evidence to give a full picture or persuasive interpretation of the "Zhirinovskii phenomenon" as a whole. Moreover, Kartsev tries at length to prove that Zhirinovskii had not been linked to the KGB before 1990. That might be true (although Kartsev has not convinced me). It is,

however, misleading insofar as later empirical evidence makes fairly clear that Zhirinovskii's rise to nationallevel politics would not have been possible without substantial support from the reactionary parts of the Soviet establishment, including the security organs.

Peter Conradi's Zhirinovskii and the New Russian Nationalism and Elena Klepikova and Vladimir Solovyov's Zhirinovsky: Russian Fascism and the Making of a Dictator serve as general introductions to the subject in that they are based on broader empirical evidence and give sufficiently full and detailed pictures of Zhirinovskii 's biography and early political life. Conradi, furthermore, supplies some new details on Zhirinovskii's emergence onto Moscow's political scene. His study is in general accurate and readable. Although providing an equally comprehensive account, Zhirinovsky: Russian Fascism and the Making of a Dictator suffers from two principal defects: First, the authors use a definition of fascism by the above-mentioned Russian emigre political thinker I van 11 r in. That is unfortunate, because 11 r in's ultranationalist vision of post-communist Russia contains some features that come close to proto-fascism themselves. Second, the two authors seriously recommended including Zhirinovskii in the Russian government! Klepikova and Solovyov would have been well advised to refrain from such interpretations and simply stick to their in-depth empirical investigations into Zhirinovskii's life and political activities--a job they performed well.

Although as early as 1994 the non-Russi an-speaking reader was given the opportunity to get to know the original Zhirinovskii, his German essay" What I Really Want" has been largely ignored. This is surprising because the document is crucial to an assessment of Zhirinovskii 's most important foreign link to the German right-wing extremist German People's Union, led by the notorious Bavarian millionaire publisher Gerhard Frey, whose publishing house edited and produced the small volume.

With the publication of My Struggle, the English-reading public has finally been put in a position to assess what is probably Zhirinovskii 's most important political scheme-his blueprint of a "last thrust to the South." The basic idea of this bizarre plan is that, as a result of a Russian advance to the Indian Ocean that would bring Iran, Turkey, and Afghanistan under Moscow's control, Russia would be reborn and the world saved from all kinds of "southern" perils. In recent Russian editions and in the above English version, the bellicose and imperialist aspects of the plan are no longer made explicit. However, in earlier publications of Zhirinovskii's major 1992-93 newspaper Liberal and in the first 1993 Rus-


sian edition of The Last Thrust." the ultranationalist left no doubt that what he has in mind is a full-scale military campaign and de facto colonization of what he calls the "South.'?"

After Yeltsin

The Russian-language edition of Aleksandr Yanov's After Yeltsin: "Weimar" Russia appeared in September 1995. It is the clearest and most comprehensive interpretation to date of post-Soviet Russian right-wing extremism as represented by its major political and intellectualleaders--Vladimir Zhirinovskii, Aleksandr Prokhanov, Aleksandr Sterligov, Gennadii Ziuganov, Igor' Shafarevich, Lev Gumilev, Sergei Kurginian, and Aleksandr Dugin. It summarizes the new risks that have emerged for the young Russian democracy; the differences, similarities, and potential characterizing the various streams of Russian ultranationalism; the overall importance of the right-wing spectrum to the formation of the post-Soviet Russian political agenda; and possible counter-strategies for Russian democrats and Western actors.

Yanov's comparison of the current Russian condition to Weimar Germany is sometimes sweeping, his generalizations not sufficiently substantiated, and the meaning of several crucial generic labels (such as "fascism") nebulous. However, most of his basic conclusions seem to be cogent and relevant: The success of Russia's transition to capitalism does not necessarily imply the victory of democracy; the failure of Russian democracy would have serious consequences for international security; and, in view of these circumstances, Western decision-makers did not act adequately during the early 1 990s--meaning that there was too narrow a focus on the promotion of Russian economic reform and only meager intellectual and material support for democratization processes." Whereas these considerations and Yanov's well-informed overview of some major rightwing actors constitute a good introduction to the field and a valuable starting point for further discussions, his overextensive criticism of some of his prominent academic colleagues in the United States seems to miss the point and is uncalled for. It will, unfortunately, make the otherwise insightful and original essay unacceptable to many Western readers.

A New Research Agenda

Russian right-wing extremism studies would have to change in three ways to make more relevant contribu-

Umland The Post-Soviet Russian Extreme Right 59

Stanley G. Payne,A History of Fascism. 1914-1945 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1995), p. 14.

2. Robert C. Tucker, Stalin in Power: The Revolution from Above. 1928- 1941 (New York: WW Norton, 1990), p. xv.

3. On the nationalist village prose tradition in Soviet Russian literature, see Luise Wangler, Vasilij Belov: Menschliche und gesellschaftliche Probleme (Vasilii Belov: Human and Social Problems) (Munich: Verlag O. Sagner in Komrnission, 1985); David C. Gillespie, Valentin Rasputin and Soviet Russian Village Prose (London: Modem Humanities Research Association, 1986); and Kathleen Parthe, Russian Village Prose: The Radiant Past (Princeton:

Princeton University Press, 1992).

4. John Dunlop, The Faces of Contemporary Russian Nationalism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983), and The New Russian Nationalism (New York: Praeger, 1985); and Alexander Yanov, The Russian New Right: Right-Wing Ideologies in the Contemporary USSR (Berkeley: Institute ofIntemational Studies, 1978), and The Russian Challenge and the Year 2000 (New York: Basil Blackwell, 1987).

5. Mikhail Agursky, Contemporary Russian Nationalism: History Revisited. Research Paper 45 (Jerusalem: Soviet and East European Research Centre, Hebrew University, 1982); Dina R. Spechler, Russian Nationalism and Political Stability in the USSR (Cambridge: Center for International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, 1983); and Yitzhak M. Brudny, "The Heralds of'Opposition to Perestroika," Soviet Economy 5, no. 2 (1989): 162-200.

6. Veljko Vujacic, "Review of Laqueur, Black Hundred," Political Science Quarterly 109, no. 4 (1994): 713.

7. Additional observations on the significance of international diffusion of rightist theories for the Russian New Right can be found in Walter Laqueur, Fascism: Past. Present. Future (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), pp.178-96.

8. Vujacic, "Review ofLaqueur, Black Hundred," p. 714.

9. Veljko Vujacic, "Gennadiy Zyuganov and the 'Third Road,' " PostSoviet Affairs 12, no. 2 (1996): 118-54.

10. Other relevant serials by the Moscow Agency "What the Papers Say" (not reviewed here) include the Russian-language monthly Natsional'naia politika i politicheskii ekstremizm (Nationalities Policy and Political Extremism) and the English-language weeklies Jews in Russia and the CIS andHuman Rights.

II. Another relevant publication of the Civil Society Foundation is the manuscriptSovremennyifashizm. natsionalizm, ksenofobiia i antisemitizm v pechati Rossii: Informatsionno-analiticheskie materialy (Contemporary Fascism, Nationalism, Xenophobia, and Anti-Semitism in the Russian Press: Informational-Analytical Materials) (Moscow: Grazhdanskoe obshchestvo, 1995).

12. For summaries of the heated Russian debate on the existence and relevance of Russian fascism, see Sovremennyi fashizm; 0 preduprezhdenii proiavlenii fashistskoi opasnosti v Rossiiskoi Federatsii: Materialy parlamentskikh slushanii. 14 fevralia 1995 goda (On the Warning About Symptoms of a Fascist Threat in the Russian Federation: Materials of the Parliamentary Hearings. February 14, 1995) (Moscow: Gosudarstvennaia Duma, 1995); and Ugrozhaet li Rossiifashizm? Materialy "kruglykh stolov" (1994-1995 gg.) (Is Fascism Threatening Russia? Materials of "Round- Tables" [1994-1995)) (Moscow: Tsentr sotsial'nykh issledovanii bezopasnosti ISPlRAN,1996).

13. In view of the high correlation of Russian right-wing extremism with anti-Semitism, journals that focused or still focus on Russian Jewry provide many especially well-informed analyses of contemporary Russian ultranationalism. These include Jews in the USSR. East European Jewish Affairs, Jews and Jewish Topics in Soviet and East European Publications. Insight: Soviet Jews, as well as the Research Reports of the London Institute ofJewish Affairs and the research papers of the Soviet and East European Research Center at the Hebrew University ofJerusalem.

14. Recently, the Panorama Group has compiled some very well informed and comprehensive documents on and overviews of right-wing extremist organizations and activists. Other similar research groups include the Center for Analytical Information on the Political Situation headed by Vladimir Berezovskii and Vladimir Cherviakov and the Archive of Non- Traditional Press of Aleksandr Suetnov, both in Moscow.

15. P. Gebhard, "Eine Brucke zwischen Europa und Asien: Die Lehre der Eurasier in der gegenwartigen Diskussion um die russische Identitiit" (A Bridge Between Europe and Asia: The Teaching of the Eurasians in the Contemporary

tions to our understanding of post-Soviet Russian politics. First, in view of the above-indicated poor state of documentation of Russian right-wing extremist activities, closer cooperation among North American, Russian, Israeli, West European, and other individual scholars and research centers is imperative. It would enable students of this particular aspect of Russian politics to produce more accurate, exhaustive, and detailed descriptions of Russian right-wing extremist organizations, ideologies, and voting behavior.

Second, the rising importance of Russian right-wing extremism should serve as an additional incentive to overcome professional parochialism. Students in the three major research fields--Russian anti-Semitism, nationalism, and post-Soviet party politics--should consider and read more carefully one another's writings and to try to incorporate as much as possible relevant findings in their specific subfield. Neither can the rise of Russian nationalism since the mid-l 960s be adequately interpreted without considering the emergence and spread of "Zionology." Nor can students of Russian anti-Semitism adequately explain this phenomenon without dealing with concepts of the "we-group" against which Jews and other "aliens" and "enemies" are set. Equally, the specific programs, leadership attributes, and electoral attraction of post-Soviet ultranationalist parties can only be appropriately accounted for by relating them to their origins in the Soviet period.

Third, in future analyses, students of the New Russian Right should aim to ask more pertinent theoretical questions of the empirical data they collect, consider in more detail the above-mentioned increasing international ideological diffusion process, and communicate more effectively their findings to other political analysts and the public. In order to do so, they will have to start relating their research to-and ultimately integrate it intosuch fields as comparative fascism or comparative right-wing extremism. This would not only give their writings a wider readership, it would also contribute to a deeper understanding of generic fascism and right-wing radicalism." What has been an issue in sovietology and post-Soviet studies for more than three decades applies equally to its subfield. Russian right-wing extremism studies will eventually have to become a part of comparative history, political science, and sociology.


I. From this follows that I associate "right-wing extremism" hereafter with radical forms of ascription and elitism, maximalist particularism, and ultranationalism. The term "fascism" refers to palingenetic (expressing the myth of rebirth, regeneration), populist ultranationalism. Roger D. Griffin, The Nature of Fascism , 2ded. (London: Routledge, 1993), pp. 26 and 240. See also

60 Problems of Post-Communism July/August 1997


Discussion About Russian Identity) (M.A. thesis, Johannes Gutenberg University, 1994).

16. On January 15, 1997, Boris Berezovskii, the newly appointed deputy secretary of the Security Council, even proposed arming those who call themselves "Cossacks." This idea appears especially strange in view of some recent information that, for instance, the Terek Cossacks have announced their support for Aleksandr Barkashev's important extra-parliamentary neo-Nazi party, Russian National Unity. Robert Orttung, "Cossacks Back in National Spotlight," Open Media Research Institute,Russian Regional Report 2, no. 6 (February 12, 1997). On Russian National Unity party, see Elisabeth Richter, "Faschistische Parteien und Bewegungen in der Russisischen Foderation am Beispiel der RNE (Russische Nationale Einheit)" (Fascist Parties and Movements in the Russian Federation: The Example of the RNE [Russian National Unity]) (M.A. thesis, University of Cologne, 1996).

17. See Jahrbuch Extremismus und Demokratie (Yearbook of Extremism and Democracy), vols. 1-7 (1989--95).

18. See also Mikhail Zolotonosov, "Master i Margarita" kak putevoditel' po subkul 'lure russkogo antisemitizma ("The Master and Margarita" as a Guide to the Sub-Culture of Russian Anti-Semitism) (SI. Petersburg: INAPRESS, 1995).

19. For another interesting-although often provocative--RussianJewish retrospective insider essay on the specific position and role of Jews in Soviet history and society, see Sonja Margolina, Das Ende der Ulgen:

RujJland und die Juden im 20. Jahrhundert (The End of the Lies: Russia and the Jews in the Twentieth Century) (Berlin: Siedler Verlag, 1992). For a summary on attitudes toward Jews in Russian nationalist and patriotic writings, see Zoia Krakhmal' nikova, ed. Russkaia ideia i Evrei: Rokovoi spor. Khristianstvo, antisemitizm, natsionalizm (The Russian Idea and the Jews: A Fatal Dispute. Christianity, Anti-Semitism, and Nationalism) (Moscow: Vostochnaia literatura, 1994).

20. An earlier version was published in Russian; see Semen Reznik,Krasnoe i korychnevoe: Kniga 0 sovetskom natsizme (The Red and the Brown: A Book on Soviet Nazism) (Washington: Vyzov, 1991).

21. For example, William Korey, The Soviet Cage: Anti-Semitism in Russia (New York: Viking, 1973); Theodore Friedgut, Soviet Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism: Another Cycle, Research Paper 54 (Jerusalem: Soviet and East European Research Center, Hebrew University, 1984); Jonathan Frankel, The Soviet Regime and Anti-Zionism: An Analysis, Research Paper 55 (Jerusalem: Soviet and East European Research Center, Hebrew University, 1984); Anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union: Its Roots and Consequences, 2 vols. (Jerusalem: Centre for Research and Documentation on East-European Jewry, Hebrew University, 1979--80); Robert O. Freedman, ed., Soviet Jewry in the 1980s: The Politics of Antisemitism and Emigration, and the Dynamics of Resettlement (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1980); and Gerd Koenen and Karla Hielscher, eds., Die schwarze Front: Der neue Antisemitismus in der Sowjetunion (The Black Front: The New Anti-Semitism in Russia) (Reinbeck bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1991). Also see Korey, Russian AntiSemitism (1995).

22. For example, Mark Deich and L. Zhuravlev, Pamiat kak ona est (Pamiat as It Is) (Moscow: Tsunami-What and Where in Moscow, 1991); Valerii D. Solovei and LA. Erunov, eds., Russkoe delo segodnia. Kniga I: Pamiat' (The Russian Matters Today. Book I: Parniat) (Moscow: TsIMO, Akademiia Nauk SSSR, 1991); and Vladimir Pribylovskii, ed. Natsional-patrioticheskie oh'edineniia. Chast ' I: "Pamiat'" (National-Patriotic Associations. Part I:

"Pamiat") (Moscow: IGPI, 1991).


23. Although he frequently quotes an article by Reznik, Korey, in turn, seems to have been unaware of the earlier Russian version of Reznik's book (Krasnoe i korychnevoe). That is unfortunate because many of Reznik's pertinent participant observations and his source research would have neatly fitted into Korey's otherwise well-documented outline.

24. Neither Reznik nor Korey deals with the important 1993-94 scholarly debate on an adequate measurement and evaluation of post-Soviet Russian antiSemitism between James L. Gibson and Robert J. Brym in Slavic Review (although Reznik briefly quotes one of the articles in his introduction). A recent update containing the relevant references may be found in Robert J. Brym, "Russian Attitudes Toward Jews: An Update," East European Jewish Affairs 26, no. 1(1996): 55-64.

25. Jacob W. Kipp, "The Zhirinovsky Threat," Foreign Affairs 73, no. 3 ( 1994): 72-86.

26. Segodnia (December 22, 1993).

27. The title of'Tirnchenko's bookJ'll Awake Russia with Blood is apparently an inaccurate quotation from one ofZhirinovskii's interviews.

28. An earlier version of this study was printed in two reports of the German Federal Institute for Eastern and International Studies. See Wolf'Oschlies, " 'Panslawe' Zirinovskij: Osteuropa und der russische Extrernistenfuhrer" ('Pan-Slav' Zhirinovskii: Eastern Europe and the Russian Extremist Leader], Berichte des Bundesinstituts fur ostwissenschaftliche und internationale Studien, nos. 51 and 53 (1994).

29. Vladimir Zhirinovskii, Poslednii brosok na iug (Last Thrust to the South)(Moscow: PisateJ' -Bukvitsa, 1993).

30. Alexander J. Motyl, "Vladimir Zhirinovsky: A Man of His Times," The Harriman Review 7, nos. 7-9 (March-May 1994): 11-18; Andreas Umland, "Wladimir Shirinowskij in der russischen Politik: Einige Hintergriinde des Aufstiegs der Liberal-Demokratischen Partei Ru13lands" (Vladimir Zhirinovskii in Russian Politics: Some Background Information on the Rise of the Liberal Democratic Party ofRussia),Osteuropa 44, no. 12 (1994): 1117- 31; and Alan J. Koman, "The Last Surge to the South: The New Enemies of Russia in the Rhetoric of Zhirinovsky," Studies in Conflict and Terrorism 19 (1996): 279--327.

31. On the one-sidedness and limited effectiveness of Western support for the Russian democratization, see also Michael McFaul, Understanding Russia s 1993 Parliamentary Elections: Implicationsfor u.s. Foreign Policy, Essays in Public Policy 46 (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution, 1994).

32. Important first steps in this direction are Laqueur, Fascism: Past, Present, Future, pp. 178--96; and Vujacic, "Gennadiy Zyuganov and the 'Third Road.'"

To order reprints, call 1-800-352-2210; outside the United States, call 717-632-3535.

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