“Russian March” is Becoming More Popular

November 4, 2013
Russian March. Photo: Pavel Kassin / Kommersant

On Monday, November 4th, Russian nationalists will hold a rally, the “Russian March,” to protest against minorities whom they say are ruining the country. Ironically, this is perhaps the opposite of the spirit of the holiday. November 4th is a national holiday in Russia, Unity Day, which commemorates the occasion in 1612 when Russians from every class united to push the Polish-Lithuanian occupation force out of the country.

This year, however, both a nationalist group (anti-immigrant) and a pro-migrant group have sought to hold rallies on that day. It is unclear whether the pro-migrant group will still hold their rally on Monday, as there were reports that the rally was cancelled. Those reports have been denied by event organizers.

For the last several weeks inter-ethnic violence has plagued Russia, particularly Moscow. As a result, there are also fears that dueling rallies could spark more violence. – Ed.

On November 4, on the National Unity Day, a rally, the “Russian March” will be held in Moscow. The rally has been authorized by the Mayor’s Office. According to the poll conducted by the Levada Center, support for the Russian March is growing. Now 40% of the population support the idea to a varying degree.

According to the Levada Center, 40% of the population support the idea of the Russian March to a varying degree: 11% of the respondents view such events “very positively,” and 29% “somewhat positively.” The popularity of the idea of ​​the Russian March is gradually increasing: in 2006 only 14% of Russians welcomed such actions, while in December 2010 twice as many citizens (28%) expressed support for such events. Only 7% of Russians expressed “very negative” attitudes towards the Russian March, while 19% view it as “somewhat negative.” Another 35% were not able to define their attitude towards this event.

This year, the Moscow City Council authorized the Russian March for up to 15,000 people in Lyublino, as reported today by the head of the security department, Alexei Mayorov. Nationalists organize this rally every year on the Day of National Unity, since 2005.

Why the Russian March will take place on the outskirts of Moscow

This year, it was for the first time ever that the nationalists themselves suggested to the Moscow authorities to authorize a traditional march and rally not in the center of Moscow, coveted by right-wing radicals in recent years, but in Lyublino, where the authorities would always send them to.

When asked by sociologists “Have you heard that on November 4 there will be the Russian Marches all over Russia under the slogan of protecting the rights of Russians in Russia?”, three quarters (75%) of citizens responded negatively. Today only one in five Russians (20%) knows about this event. It has to be noted that in December 2010 almost a third of citizens (31%) knew about the Russian March. Three years ago, on December 11 at Manezhnaya Square, nationalists held a spontaneous rally that turned into a riot.

Levada Center also asked Russians, what is celebrated on November 4. In two years, the number of those who know the correct answer (the Day of National Unity), increased from 41% to 49%. However, only 15% of the citizens plan to celebrate this holiday. About the same number (17%) are going to celebrate November 7, the October Revolution Day. The majority of citizens (62%)are not going to celebrate any of these holidays.

How the Mayor’s Office authorized the Russian March in Lyublino

On October 28 the municipal authorities authorized the Russian March on November 4 in Lyublino. This was announced by leader of the “Russkie” association and the organizer of the event, Dmitry Dyomushkin. In addition to the march in Lyublino on National Unity Day, a rally and a rock concert of the rock band “Kolovrat” will be held in Lyublino, also agreed to by the authorities.

How the Russian March 2012 went

In 2012 on the Day of National Unity nationalists marched from Yakimanskaya embankment to the Central House of Artists, where a rally took place. Organizers estimated the number of participants at 20,000, but the Interior Ministry says the number did not exceed 6,000.