Top Putin Critic Urges Russians to Join Nationalist March

France 24, November 3, 2013

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has thrown his weight behind a controversial nationalist march in Moscow as rights activists warn of growing xenophobia in the country.

The top critic of President Vladimir Putin is known for his ability to mobilise mass street protests, although he said he himself would have to skip Monday’s Russian March.

“Participating in the Russian March is important,” Navalny wrote on his blog late Saturday. “All those who are considering whether to go or not: go.”

Monday’s annual nationalist march comes on the heels of last month’s riots in southern Moscow, sparked by the stabbing to death of a Muscovite by a native of Azerbaijan.

Nationalists plan marches in dozens of cities and hope to muster 30,000 in the Russian capital.

They are seeking to capitalise on anti-immigrant sentiment in Moscow, fed by the influx of labour migrants from impoverished ex-Soviet Central Asia.

Navalny has been criticised by the liberal opposition for his nationalist rhetoric and support of the marches.

The protest leader proved himself a force to be reckoned with after he came second to a Kremlin loyalist in mayoral elections in Moscow in September. He won 27 percent on an aggressive anti-immigrant, anti-corruption platform.

Nearly all candidates had embraced anti-immigrant rhetoric, prompting rights activists to denounce a “visceral hatred” of migrants in an open letter.

Navalny argues the Kremlin should pull the plug on generous subsidies for the violent North Caucasus which includes Chechnya, and has called for a visa regime with ex-Soviet neighbours.

The protest leader shot to prominence during anti-Putin rallies that shook Moscow in the winter of 2011-12, but has been embroiled in a series of legal battles.

In the past week, Russian investigators moved to indict him in a fraud and money laundering case, after a separate five-year sentence on embezzlement charges was commuted to a suspended term last month.

Navalny said he would stay away from the march to avoid giving the Kremlin a chance to discredit him, or the event.

“It’s a rather difficult decision for me, I realise there will be lots of criticism,” he wrote.

He warned against stereotyping the march as a neo-Nazi style rally, saying most participants are “completely normal people.”

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  • Spartacus

    I don’t trust Putin. But I trust this Navalny guy even less . He strikes me as someone who’s been bred for a certain role, kinda like Obama in the US .

    • Pro_Whitey

      I don’t mean this insultingly or facetiously, but is there anyone, from your perspective, who is trustworthy among the Russian elites? I figure you keep a closer eye, given the proximity. As for me, as an American, I have to be glad that Vlad kept us out of war in Syria.

      • Spartacus

        There’s lots of people I trust in Russia. Only you wouldn’t know their names, and I couldn’t spell them if I wanted to tell you about them.

        Russia has one of the most powerful far-right movements in the world, with hundreds of thousands of members all broken up into little paramilitary groups. With the right leadership, they could take over the country in a matter of months.

      • Pelagian

        Rememebr when trads in USA got all excited about Zhirinovsky? That was a bust!

  • WR_the_realist

    Well, I don’t have a dog in that hunt. I think it’s up to Russians to decide who their leaders will be. But neither Putin nor Navalny could possibly be worse than the politicians we get, all of whom are eager to sell out their country to our globalist overlords.

  • bigone4u

    Russia for Russians. What an idea. I hope it succeeds.

  • MBlanc46

    Like all the old empires, Russia is experiencing the invasion of the former subject peoples. But as they’ve spun off the Central Asian republics, Russia ought to be for the Russians.

  • Jefferson

    What is the dominant religion among Central “Asians” ? Is it Islam ?

    • Kenner

      Yes–

    • Speedy Steve

      I prefer to call it mohammedism — as I learned during the 1960s.

  • a.laine

    “… rights activists warn of growing xenophobia in the country.”

    Pfft. Don’t warn of it, celebrate it. Encourage it. There’s way too little xenophobia in Europe. And do these so-called “rights” activists ever mention the right of Europeans to their own countries? Do they ever object to the ongoing repeopling of Europe with Arabs, Africans, Pakistanis, Indians, etc. etc?

  • Speedy Steve

    When I hear the words ‘rights activist’ I reach for my sidearms.

  • Putin is a hero and so is Kadyrov in Chechnya. Though people are quick to blame them, we’d do far better under their regimes than we are at present.

    • Jackryanvb

      Putin is clearly the best White leader since World War II. He’s strong, effective on all issues, immigration, Muslims, foreign policy, oligarchs (wouldn’t we like to see our own Sheldon Adelson, Mark Zuckenberg taken down like the head of Yukos Oil?)