Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 38

Members of the radical wing of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation have made it clear that they have no regrets over the various anti-Semitic remarks they made last year. On February 22, while addressing a meeting of Cossacks in Novocherkassk, in the southern Rostov region, State Duma Deputy Albert Makashov declared that the Movement in Support of the Army–the “national patriotic” opposition group whose Russian acronym is DPA–was really called the DPZh, or Movement Against Yids. Makashov, a former Soviet general who was one of the leaders of the October 1993 armed uprising against Yeltsin, also declared: “They are bold and so impudent, because we are asleep. The women present will forgive me, but allow me to put it in my own way, like a soldier: because none of us have knocked at their doors and pissed through their windows so far. That’s why these repulsive people are so bold.” Both comments were wildly applauded. Makashov created a stir last autumn for a similar denunciation of “yids,” after which he became the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation by the Prosecutor General’s Office.

Makashov was preceded on the podium by Viktor Ilyukhin, head of the State Duma’s security committee, who declared that Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov should not be running for president, but rather should “be standing on Lobnoye Mesto on Red Square [a spot where executions were carried out in tsarist Russia] and repenting before the whole of Russia” (NTV, February 22).

Last December Luzhkov directly confronted another anti-Semitic group–Russian National Unity (RNE), headed by Aleksandr Barkashov–when he banned the group’s scheduled congress in Moscow. Barkashov subsequently threatened to descend on Moscow with 100,000 followers, after which Luzhkov called on the Moscow prosecutor’s office to bring Barkashov to justice for issuing threats. Barkashov has not been formally charged with criminal wrongdoing. This week he again promised to hold an RNE congress in Moscow–this time in April. Luzhkov, likewise, again vowed that RNE will not hold a congress in Moscow, and promised that the city authorities will handle the issue “with all possible means,” ranging from “peaceful warnings” to “force.” In an interview published today in “Kommersant daily,” Barkashov responded indirectly to Luzhkov: “I don’t plan to respond to Luzhkov’s emotional outbursts. In general, the mayor’s position obviously exceeds his authority and is a subject for the prosecutor’s office to take up. I believe that banning the congress is an infringement of our civil rights.” According to the paper, there is little legal basis for preventing RNE’s activities, given that the Moscow legislative council is still considering a law which would ban Nazi-like symbols like RNE’s, and that there are no laws in force which ban nationalist or fascist activity (Kommersant daily, February 24).