Thursday, March 27, 2008

Window on Eurasia: Anti-Immigrant Group Launches Graffiti Campaign in Moscow

Paul Goble

Baku, March 28 – The Movement Against Illegal Immigration (DPNI), an openly racist group, is urging its members to engage in a graffiti campaign in Moscow in order to call attention to the strength of the group and to intimidate its opponents, migrant workers and human rights activists.
The measure, which recalls poster campaigns by the Nazis in the 1920s and which DPNI says represents “a powerful means of propaganda that anyone can conduct,” will only exacerbate the inter-ethnic tensions in the Russian capital that have resulted in so many attacks and deaths in recent weeks (
But what makes it especially frightening besides the echo of earlier fascist movements in Europe is the professionalism that appears to be behind this effort, a quality not always found in DPNI activities and one that suggests the group may be getting help from others, including sympathizers among Russian officials.
In its appeal to its followers, DPNI says that its “website, newspaper, broadsides, and even literate writing on walls [graffiti] are our information field and the broader it is, the broader will be the circle of those who are prepared to struggle for ideas,” which include, of course, “Russia for the Russians.”
Saying that anyone who wants to put up such messages need spend no more than 100 to 150 rubles (four to six U.S. dollars) – an amount DPNI says is no more than four bottles of beer and far more “useful” – the group suggests several ways to make such propaganda more effective.
First, it says, DPNI supporters should consider making stencils out of used X-ray film or large plastic sheets, either of which can be easily carried and hidden when necessary. That way, it continues, DPNI messages will look both more professional and more the work of a powerful organization than the scribblings of a few individuals.
Those DPNI activists with artistic talent can draw something original, the appeal says, while others can make use of materials from Photoshop or another computer program. They can even use Xerox copies to improve the quality of their propaganda efforts. And it helpfully provides pictures on the site.
“From the most complex photograph, using care,” the site continues, “it is possible to make an attractive outline. And that means that there is no real difficulty in preparing a political poster.” One only needs to know “the idea” that is to be “presented” to a broader audience.
Among the ideas it suggests its activists promote are slogans like “No registration, instead deportation!” “Moscow is an [ethnic] Russian city!” “Let’s Preserve the Motherland for our children!” “The land of our ancestors for our grandchildren not the guest workers!” and “Be the master of your own land!”
(For those who need help with getting started with such graffiti and poster efforts, the DPNI provides links to four sites it says can be helpful,,, and
And however affecting they may be to members of DPNI, the appeal continues, “slogans like ‘Glory to Russia!’ or drawings of swastikas although they attract attention, they also put off many and do not have the necessary effect. Please believe that the glory of our country will not grow” if DPNI is not careful in delivering its message.
At the same time – and this makes one think that DPNI must have access to lawyers – the appeal says that “one must not forget a very serious thing: if you agitate in the name of DPNI – and this is a legal social organization – then your slogans and drawings must remain within the limits of the law.”
But just how close to the limits of Russian law DPNI is prepared to go is suggested by the next piece of advice the appeal gives to those who plan to engage in this form of propaganda. “The best time”, it says, “is after 2:00 am. The city is empty, there are no a great number of police patrols,” and even the earliest workers are not yet up.

No comments: