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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

A Radical Nationalist Party Gets Registered

The Justice Ministry has registered a radical nationalist party with an openly anti-Semitic leadership. But a party official said Thursday that the National Power Party of Russia would follow a more mainstream platform in the hope of winning votes.

The Justice Ministry registered the National Power Party, or NDPR, on Sept. 16, giving the party the right to participate in regional and national elections. Two of its three co-chairmen, Boris Mironov and Alexander Sevastyanov, are notorious for making anti-Semitic statements.

"We registered them on their first attempt," said Vladimir Tomarovsky, the head of the Justice Ministry's department on public and religious organizations. "The content of the party's documents that were presented for registration corresponded with the Russian Constitution."

None of the official party documents published on NDPR's web site contain xenophobic content. However, other documents on the web site do.

"The law of life in Russia must be: 'Not an ounce of power to Yids,'" former Press Minister Mironov said in a statement on the site. "We must unite all indigenous peoples in the struggle against Yids."

In 2000, Sevastyanov wrote in an editorial in his Natsionalnaya Gazeta newspaper, "We, the Russians, must keep up a defense against many enemies, of whom the Jews are the most dreadful."

The party's third co-chairman, Stanislav Terekhov, is perhaps best known for his participation in the attempt to oust then-President Boris Yeltsin in October 1993.

None of the party's co-chairmen could be reached for comment Thursday.

Viktor Korchagin, a senior party executive and the editor of the first Russian newspaper to be banned for racist content, in July, said the personal beliefs of the party's leadership did not make the party anti-Semitic.

"We are a regular bourgeois party that wants a better life for the country's poor," he said by telephone. "It would be unwise to play only on anti-Semitic sentiments to win public support. The number of anti-Semites in Russia is small, and the media would give us a vigorous thrashing."

He said the party has about 11,000 members and has opened offices in 70 of Russia's 89 regions since its founding congress in February. He said some regional authorities had tried to prevent the party from setting up local branches.

He said that the party is a grouping of several public organizations and that Terekhov brought most of the party's membership with him. Terekhov is the head of the Union of Officers, a public military organization.

NDPR was the first radical nationalist party to be registered after the adoption of the law on political parties, which states only registered political parties can participate in elections. On Sept. 17, a day after NDPR's registration, the Justice Ministry gave the go-ahead to a radical nationalist party with an anti-Semitic platform, the People's Patriotic Party of Russia, headed by former Defense Minister Igor Rodionov.

Vladimir Pribylovsky, a nationalism expert of the Panorama think tank, said registering radical nationalist parties harmed no one. "The authorities make it easier to punish nationalists by getting them out in the open," he said.