In Background, Russia

By Anatoly Karlin, UNZ Review, March 26, 2015

Unlike John McCain and his trysts with the extreme right in Ukraine, the Russian government ignored the rightists gathered in St. Petersburg

Conservative Forum in St. Petersburg on March 22, 2015

Conservative Forum in St. Petersburg on March 22, 2015

The Western media is having a field day with this motley gathering of neo-Nazis and assorted freaks at the grandiosely named International Russian Conservative Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia. None of the more serious alternative right European parties, such as the National Front or Fidesz, bothered turning up for the one-day event, and neither did serious Russian nationalists – and for once they might just have a point.

The operative word being “just”.

Hypocritical as they might try to make Putin out to be with this, it would be wrong to see the March 22 conference as a Russian endorsement, official or informal, of the European far right.

First off, nobody of any consequence in Russian politics turned up, even the purported organizers of the event, the newly (re)formed Rodina party.* It was skipped by serious Russian nationalists when they realized that the affair was going to become a total trainwreck populated by Prussian revanchists, the murderous goons of Golden Dawn, and conspiracy theories ranting about “penguin marriage” as the next phase of the homo agenda. Neither did any high-ranking official from the DNR or LNR turn up, despite the event being supposedly held in support of them.

This already puts this in stark contrast to Western politicians, whose politicians not only meet up with assorted Islamists and neo-Nazis – John McCain is pictured below with Tyagnibok, leader of the Ukrainian fascist Svoboda Party, which used to be the Social-National Party and is exactly what it used to say on the tin — … but happily supply them with arms and support Presidents who give them formal honors and decorations:

In August [2014], Ukrainian chocolate sultan Petro Poroshenko awarded the leader of the pro-choice knitting club Azov Battalion, Andriy Biletsky, with the Order For Courage.

Biletsky is not only a courageous Wolfsangel-bedazzled freedom fighter, he is also the head of Ukraine’s creatively named Social-National Assembly, which is committed to “punishing severely sexual perversions and any interracial contacts that lead to the extinction of the white man”.

Close your eyes and try to imagine the font size 72 Caps Lock New York Times front page screamfest if it was discovered that Vladimir Putin had decorated a brain-dead maniac who has promised “to prepare [Russia] for further expansion and to struggle for the liberation of the entire White Race”.

Now change “Vladimir Putin” to “Petro Poroshenko” and “Russia” to “Ukraine” and you will finally understand why we live in an upside down nightmare garbage world where people freak out about a one-day conference of fringe groups in St. Petersburg.

Which all gives a clue as to why Russia allowed the conference to go ahead: “Mr. President, we must now allow a Nazi gap!” Better to have them as your useful idiots instead of the enemy’s; at the very least, they are then less likely to go fight your miners and tractor drivers in the Donbass

U.S. Senator John McCain with rightists of the Svoboda party at a rally in Kiev Dec. 2013

U.S. Senator John McCain with rightists of the Svoboda party at a rally in Kiev Dec. 2013

There are a few alternate explanations.

Perhaps the conference was allowed to go ahead because of Russia’s principled regard for freedom of speech, in stark contrast to the hypocritical West. Hah just kidding.

Perhaps – although this is more an addendum to the first explanation – there was just no obvious disadvantage to hosting the conference. If the Western media didn’t have this, it would just think up some other way to besmirch Russia this week or the next; frankly, as long as the current power structures are in place, worrying about Russia’s image in the West is something of a lost cause, and hence maladaptive. Here an earlier example, from Hungary, is instructive.

In this supposed Alt Right haven within the EU, an identitarian congress [Oct. 2014] featuring speakers who were on average much more reasonable and intelligent than the wackjobs at the St. Petersburg conference, was banned by the ruling party Fidesz. Those people who turned up anyway, including Richard Spencer and a personal friend of mine, were arrested, held overnight, and deported from the country and banned from reentering, Schengen be damned.

Predictably enough, the EU and State Department applauded this, since free speech doesn’t extend to you once you leave the Overton window of acceptable discourse under Western neoliberal democracy. If by so doing, however, Fidesz hoped to gain kudos and respectability – or at least non-interference – from the powers that be, they were to be disappointed: U.S. Hungary envoy under fire for attending protest, Oct 28, 2014.

It need hardly be said that in the current geopolitical climate, even the most cringingly venal and submissive Russian “podpindosnik” (transl. “American worshipper”) realizes that sucking up on such matters to Brussels and Washington DC will result in zero rewards or even goodwill.

Perhaps – and personally, I think this is the most likely theory – it was all just a big fuck up, instead of an elaborate geopolitical ploy or troll job on the West. From Egor Prosvirnin, whose nationalism can be thought of as something like a Russian Pegida:

So let’s tally the results: The party Rodina, which the Kremlin is currently trying to revive from suspended animation, tried to organize a 1990s-style event featuring freaks, ziegfags, and marginals, who pretend to be nationalists, in this case – European nationalists. The whole thing tanked, because European nationalists who are gaining in popularity refused the invitation to participate in the Kremlin’s circus, while amongst Russian nationalists all these weird cramps provoked, in the best case, confused bewilderment. I think that as a result, one of the Kremlin’s political technologists will receive a good knock from upper management.

The only ones who benefited from this is the liberal community, which will bring up this dismal event in response to any criticism of the Ukrainian Reich for at least the next year. Maybe it was they themselves who organized it?

Anatoly Karlin is a blogger and businessman in the San Francisco Bay Area, originally from Russia. He publishes a blog on UNZ Review titled The Russian reaction. The original title of the above article on his blog is ‘The Nazi gap’. Another recent article by him is ‘The Moor has done his duty‘, an assessment of Russian opposition journalist Andrey Babitsky.

* This comment is made by Anatoly Karlin on UNZ Review in reply to a reader: “Thank you for the correction, that was quite unprofessional on my part. I was going on В-четвертых, не приехал никто из высшего руководства «Родины», которая как бы организовала это мероприятие from this report (“Fourthly, nobody arrived from Rodina’s upper leadership, which was the organization that supposedly was organizing the conference”) which I misremembered as “no-one from Rodina” when writing my piece. So the event’s organizer Fedor Biryukov, being a “member of the political council of Rodina,” which implies a medium-to-higher rank, did turn up.

*****

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