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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Former Bolsheviks Create a New Group

Former members of the banned National Bolshevik Party on Tuesday announced the creation of a nationalist group called the National Bolshevik Front that appears to have the indirect support of the Kremlin.

"We control more than 30 percent of what used to be Limonov's NBP," National Bolshevik Front leader Alexei Golubovich said after a founding congress of some 40 black-shirted delegates.

Eduard Limonov is the leader of the National Bolshevik Party, the outspoken anti-Kremlin group that a court ordered disbanded last year. It claims 55,000 members.

Golubovich, who also wore a black shirt, said the delegates represented National Bolshevik Party branches in about 30 regions as well as several former Soviet republics.

The new group is being formed together with the Eurasian Youth Union, a one-year-old nationalist group whose chief ideologist, Alexander Dugin, has close ties with the Kremlin administration. Dugin co-founded the National Bolshevik Party with Limonov in the early 1990s but they parted ways in 1998, citing ideological differences.

Eurasian Youth Union leaders attended Tuesday's congress, and its activists guarded a perimeter outside the building, a decrepit Stalin-style pavilion at the All-Russian Exhibition Center.

Valery Korovin, a union leader who ostensibly was in charge of the congress, said the new group would soon apply to the Justice Ministry for registration as a public movement.

The National Bolshevik Party has been trying to re-register with the ministry as a public movement since last year.

Leaders of the National Bolshevik Front and Eurasian Youth Union denied they had any Kremlin support for their joint effort. Both groups said they supported most Kremlin policies and pledged not to become an opposition force.

Limonov, speaking by telephone, accused the Kremlin and Dugin of trying to create a schism among his followers but predicted that such a plan would not work.

He said he still had the support of thousands of loyal activists.

Dugin said Tuesday that he had coached the former National Bolshevik members and eventually "blessed" the creation of the National Bolshevik Front and its merger with his brainchild, the Eurasian Youth Union. He denied, though, receiving any encouragement from the Kremlin.

Yury Korgunyuk, a political analyst with the thinktank Indem, likened the new group to the Eurasian Youth Union, calling them both politically stillborn movements that would only remain in existence with the organizational and financial support of the Kremlin.

"NBP's appeal to members hangs largely on Limonov's charisma. The two other groups cannot attract and keep followers with what they have," he said.