Vienna, September 26 – Russia’s Movement Against Illegal Immigration (DPNI) has announced plans to collaborate with the neo-Nazi German National Democratic Party (NDP) and other radical nationalist groups from Europe, an indication of what DPNI’s commitment to becoming a “European-style” nationalist party in fact means.
Aleksandr Belov, one of DPNI’s leaders said earlier this month that “we see the NDP as out most reliable ally in Germany” and that the Russian group’s “collaboration” with that party “will not be limited” to meetings like one planned for Moscow this winter but involve other “interactions” as well (xeno.sova-center.ru/6BA2468/6BB41EE/BB8DFF4).
The Moscow meeting will include not only representatives of the NDP but also representatives from Great Britain, Sweden, and more than 40 other European countries, Belov said, but he added that “the nationalists from Germany and Russia must be all means develop the existing potential of cooperation.”
Since it was organized in July 2002, DPNI has not been shy about developing ties with extremist and nationalist groups in other countries including David Duke from the United States, Jean-Marie LePen from France, and other opponents of immigration and rights for ethnic and religious minorities.
The restated commitment of this 5,000-member-strong organization to developing ties with German neo-Nazis is disturbing because it is likely to reinforce both the radical xenophobic attitudes the group has shown and its willingness to promote or even take part in violence actions as in Kondopoga or in Moscow.
And this DPNI-NDP link up is even more worrisome because DPNI enjoys close ties with some members of the Russian government and has regular access to state-controlled media. Initially, in fact, it was funded via the pro-Kremlin Nashi group, although DPNI broke with it ostensibly because it did not want to take orders from that organization.
But in order to appreciate just how dangerous this linkage of admittedly small radical nationalist groups is, it is important to recognize just what the NDP is and why its ideology is especially attractive to some in the Russian Federation now.
The National Democratic Party of Germany was set up in 1964 as a successor to the German Reich Party. From the very beginning, other parties and the media in that country has been identified as a neo-Nazi organization, committed to restricting immigration of non-Germans into the country.
German government officials have identified the NDP as “a threat to the constitutional order,” and the group has never been able to attract a sufficient following to win election to the national German parliament (there is a five percent barrier it has never met) but has won seats in the Lander legislatures.
Like the DPNI and many other radical Russian nationalists, the NDP calls for the pursuit of “a third way” that does not suffer from what its leaders see as the defects of liberal capitalism and communism and that does not accept the idea that nations are equal and that the rules should be the same for all of them.
The NDP opposes NATO, dismisses the European Union as a fraud, and most recently supported Russia’s invasion of Georgia as entirely justified, all views that many radical Russian nationalists would find congenial. But a recent German government report identified several additional reasons why the DPNI may be interested in links with the NDP.
First, the NDP calls for the development of a popular front rather than the advancement of its interests as a party. Second, it calls for the end of parliamentary democracy. And third, the German party is consistently “racist, anti-Semitic and revisionist” about Hitler and the Nazi past (www.verfassungsschutz.de/download/de/publikationen/verfassungsschutzbericht/vsbericht_2005/vsbericht_2005.pdf).
That is not the Europe most people in Russia or the West would like to see Moscow draw closer to. But that is, as the DPNI’s most recent statement shows, exactly the Europe that some Russians now believe is in their best interests, a belief that runs counter to all the principles of liberal democracy.