Staunton, June 24 – Unlike in 2014, the extreme right in Russia overwhelmingly supports Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine. Few of its members have criticized it or gone to fight. Instead, most have quietly cooperated with Kremlin-sponsored moves both political and charitable at home, according to a survey of their activities by SOVA’s Vera Alperovich.
The activities of the Russian far right over the last year divide neatly between the period before Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and after. Before that, the extreme right in Russia continued its campaigns against immigrants and against covid restrictions but had little success in either, the analyst says (sova-center.ru/racism-xenophobia/publications/2022/07/d46545/).
But after February 24, the right wing of the Russian political spectrum shifted entirely to a focus on the war; but in contrast to eight years ago, when the right divided over Putin’s intervention in the Donbass and Anschluss of Ukraine’s Crimea, this time, its members enthusiastically backed the Kremlin, although fewer than 25 left to fight there.
Instead, the extreme right in Russia have played a supporting role in government-organized political demonstrations and humanitarian assistance efforts, seldom seen in the first ranks of such activities but almost invariably present, yet another sharp contrast from their more public positions in 2014.
This trend, Alperovich suggests, reflects changes both in government policy and in the leadership and ranks of the Russian extreme right. The Kremlin has adopted nationalistic policies more in line with what the Russian right has always supported, and much of the Russian right has been gelded in the intervening period by arrests and repression.