The accusation of the nationalists in Russia for the war

The accusation of the nationalists in Russia for the war

by Marco Imarisio, sent to Moscow

The influence of extremist groups on the Kremlin’s decisions is increasing. But there is also criticism

Call it the invasion of the ultranationalists. I’m everywhere. In the talk shows of the most popular propaganda, the guests greet the public of deep Russia. In the capital’s parks, where some of their imitators denounce the crowds of mothers with prams on Sunday morning. And above all in the spirit of Vladimir Putin, as his last speech showed, a definitive declaration of hatred to the collective West, which is at the same time also a compendium of the theses of this group of limited political representation, but of enormous weight and influence not only on public opinion . As Andrei Kolesnikov, associate professor at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, wrote, the Russian president’s words are “a sample of conspiratorial clichés” that thirty years ago could only be read in the clandestine publications of these nationalist-patriotic movements.

The tirade on American colonialism and that on Western Satanism are featured in the manifestos of parties such as Sergei Baburin’s Conservative Russia and organizations such as Stanislav Vorobyov’s Imperial Russian Movement, which are also on the list of terrorist groups in the USA and other small formations. It’s not right to call them hawks because they’re out of it all. Still, it seems the only voice on the pitch is hers. The representatives of this small minority are leading the debate and are increasingly raising the bar on warfare.

“We are fighting absolutely anti-Russian evil. They and everyone behind them want the complete surrender of our civilization. I turn to our citizens: the West’s plan is clear. You who love Russia have no choice. You must love it and keep it as it is ». This is not a Putin quote. These are a few days earlier words of Zakhar Prilepin, owner of the column “Russian Lessons” on the NTV channel, leader of the Fair Russia party – Patriots for Truth, a former fighter in Donbass, who in recent years has done nothing but denounce ” our President’s timidity towards Ukraine”.

The similarities are obvious. The meeting point between low and high, between megaphone propaganda between the barracks in Moscow’s suburbs and the Kremlin, is not represented by the famous ideologue Alexander Dugin, whose influence is often overestimated. There is a network gathering around the Tsargrad TV channel, which is owned by the so-called “God’s oligarch” Konstantin Malofeev, a friend and supporter of Putin, and includes figures such as Egor Kholmogorov, a commentator who couldn’t be more radical, and Vladislav Pozdnyakov, former leader of the now-banned male state movement, which promotes radical forms of misogyny and homophobia.

But ultranationalism is not all gold that glitters for Putin. A recent study by Vera Alperovich of the Sova Center, one of Moscow’s few independent think tanks, shows how the progress of the Special Military Operation is eroding support from those who would also like to bomb Paris, London or Berlin. The old accusations of “shyness” are now turning into open criticism of the Russian military and the Russian leadership in Ukraine. The imperialist movement has just said that Russia has already lost the “war of ideas” because its soldiers do not understand why they are fighting.

Popular Igor Ghirkin, real name Igor Strelkov, former intelligence officer, former commander of the troops of the Donetsk Republic in 2014, now leader of the Novorossiya movement, calls some of the Kremlin’s decisions “indescribable stupidity”. In this continuous upward game, Putin’s speech can also be read as an attempt to stop a galaxy that is as erratic as it is propaganda. That’s the only way to keep playing with fire. But with nuclear power.

October 3, 2022 (update October 3, 2022 | 08:13)