Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 195

A conference was held in Saratov on October 17 under the auspices of the local branch of the extreme-right Russian National Party (RNP). Entitled “Nationalism and regional policy,” the gathering included RNP chairman Aleksandr Fedorov, along with RNP representatives from Moscow and Moscow Oblast, St. Petersburg, Volgograd, Tambov, Tver and other regions. Local government officials also took part, along with the heads of firms and factories which have linked up with the RNP in Saratov. Fedorov told delegates that RNP branches have already been established in thirty-three regions, and that by December, when the party holds its founding congress, there will be forty-six regional affiliates. He said the party plans to register as an “all-Russian” party.

Fedorov defined a nationalist as a person who “loves his nation,” adding that the RNP’s brand of nationalism has nothing in common with German national-socialism. He also denied charges that the group is “fascist.” He said the moment had come when all layers of Russian society were prepared to accept nationalism as the only way to save Russia. He said one of the RNP’s tasks is to aid Serbia, and that units of volunteers wanting to go to Kosovo had already been formed.

Regional RNP representatives discussed the economic and political situations in their oblasts, the work of party organizations and coordinated activities with the legislative and executive authorities. Their comments suggested the party is forging mutually beneficial contacts with local authorities nearly everywhere. Eldar Klochkov, head of the RNP’s Saratov branch, said that nationalism is capturing the minds of sensible citizens and that it is the only idea which can unite the Russian people to save the country from becoming a raw-materials appendage of the West (Monitor’s regional correspondent, October 19).

Meanwhile, an increasing number of Russian servicemen in Rostov have reportedly been applying for membership in the local branch of Russian National Unity (RNU), another far-right organization. According to “Nezavisimaya gazeta,” this growth in RNU membership has been spurred by the failure of the government’s program to provide servicemen with housing, along with cuts in the Interior Ministry’s forces. The newspaper quoted an Interior Ministry colonel as saying that “everybody”–from special forces personnel to policemen–were joining the RNU (Nezavisimaya gazeta, October 16).