A new fascist group in Russia is arousing the concerns of some Jews – and, apparently, the support of other ones.
“Eurasia Above All,” cried out Alexander Dugin at last week’s conference of the All-Russian Political Movement Eurasia in Moscow. The cry was the Russian equivalent of “Deutschland uber alles,” a slogan often used by the Nazis at their rallies.
The conference attracted 300 participants from across Russia, including Russia’s two top Muslim leaders.
The group preaches an anti-liberal and anti-Western ideology, drawing on a long tradition in Russia that has championed the idea of Russia’s “uniqueness.”
What is particularly alarming, some observers say, is the movement’s leader: Until recently, Dugin was a leading figure in the ultranationalist, anti-Semitic newspaper Zavtra.
Dugin, 40, says he possesses “intelligence information that agents of the CIA are now working in the Chechen opposition.”
Dugin repeatedly stresses his admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin – and what he calls Putin’s ideological affinity for the values of Dugin’s movement.
For a number of years, Dugin was seen as a marginal figure, but his position as a legislative aide to the speaker of the Russian Parliament means he now has established a mainstream foothold, said Micah Naftalin, the national director of the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews.
“Although Dugin’s writings are not explicitly anti-Semitic, his past affiliations with anti-Semitic extremist groups like Pamyat” – a Russian neo-fascist group that peaked in popularity in the late 1980s and early 1990s – are alarming, Naftalin said.
But some other Jewish organizations and individuals apparently think otherwise.
The new movement boasts of its cooperation with what Dugin calls “healthy elements” in the Jewish and Zionist worlds.
One of these is a newly formed Israeli group known as For Our Land. The group, headed by Russian-born, West Bank-based Rabbi Avrom Shmulevich, preaches the same anti-Western approach as the All-Russian movement.
Shmulevich, 41, told JTA last week that he came to Russia to mobilize supporters and sponsors and possibly to create a Russian branch of his organization. So far, he said, the group numbers several hundred members across Israel, most of them former Soviet citizens.
The main aim of his group, Shmulevich said, is to revive the Zionist spirit and fight for the Land of Israel as defined by the Bible.
Like Dugin’s organization, For Our Land opposes the dominance of the United States in international affairs and the “New World Order” – which, Shmulevich says, threatens the existence of the Jewish state and the Jewish people.
Another leader of For Our Land, Avigdor Eskin, 40, a Moscow-born, Israeli-based journalist, was sentenced by an Israeli court in January to 30 months in jail for incitement.
Shmulevich says the case against Eskin was manufactured by the allegedly corrupt Israeli establishment, and that Eskin is a modern-day Prisoner of Zion.
Shmulevich also said that Dugin is not anti-Semitic because he protested the paper’s anti-Semitism after leaving Zavtra.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.