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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Racist Chants Undercut Day of Unity

APA young girl and other people giving a fascist salute on Sunday during a Movement Against Illegal Immigration march to celebrate People's Unity Day.
Political forces of all color were out for People's Unity Day on Sunday, looking to entice people to rally under their banners, offering different ideologies, views of the future and sometimes cash.

Among the thousands were the supporters of ultranationalist organizations who made a lot of noise but little trouble under the eyes of thousands of police and security forces officers.

Two authorized ultranationalist rallies, dubbed Russian Marches and attracting from 1,000 to 2,500 people, according to different accounts, were held on Naberezhnaya Tarasa Shevchenko, in central Moscow, in the early afternoon and evening.

The Movement Against Illegal Immigration, or DPNI, headed by Alexander Belov, and the People's Union, headed by Sergei Baburin, a State Duma deputy with the nationalist Rodina faction, each held marches before the rallies.

The DPNI event attracted 900 to 2,000 people, most of them teenage boys and elderly people, many shouting racist slogans and flashing fascist salutes.

Many of the younger participants had shaved heads and dressed in standard skinhead garb of black army boots and khaki pants. Half a dozen young female drummers dressed in white marched at the front of the head of the column, made up of young people carrying black, yellow and white DPNI banners.

The slogans shouted by the group included: "Russia for Russians; Moscow for Muscovites, so get the [expletive] out of here!"; "Beat the Jews!" and "For faith, tsar and motherland."

Others offerings included: "Let's free the police from the Jewish yoke"; "I'll crap myself for Russia," and "Anti-fascists suck."

Preston Wiginton, a white supremacist from Texas, addressed the crowd, as did Belov and nationalist Duma Deputy Andrei Savelyev.

Many of the participants in the DPNI march were children, walking beside or being carried by parents.

Although the groups of shaven-headed youths hanging around Kievsky Station after the DPNI march shouted offensive comments at immigrant workers from former Soviet republics in the area, there were no physical confrontations as police ushered them into the nearby metro station.

Oxana Onipko / MT
Wiginton, a Texan white supremacist, holding an original U.S. flag Sunday.
City Hall had threatened the groups with an "immediate" and "forceful" reaction from law enforcement agencies in the event of unlawfulness.

Some 350 people gathered for the People's Union march under one banner bearing an Orthodox icon and another reading "Glory to Russia," Interfax reported.

"I don't see anything unusual" in the rallies, Federal Migration Service deputy head Vyacheslav Postavnin said Saturday. "It's a sort of burst of national consciousness."

In a response to some of the more xenophobic offerings, more than a thousand people attended a Yabloko-sponsored event at Bolotnaya Ploshchad, calling on people to fight against ultranationalism and to support a multicultural society.

"We have come to defend [Russia] from the fools and villains who march with Nazi slogans," said Sergei Mitrokhin, a City Duma deputy, who said chauvinism was "growing like a tumor and is the road to destruction."

As the meeting came to a close, a woman began trying to recruit people for a 5:30 p.m. demonstration at Teatralnaya Ploshchad organized by the United Russia party's youth group, Young Guard.

The woman promised 200 rubles (about $8) to anyone who would come — none of those she recruited looked young enough to join a youth group — and had a notebook filled with pages of names of willing demonstrators.

"I'll be there," said a woman who gave her name only as Nadezhda and said she was 55. When asked what the demonstration was for, she said: "I don't know yet. They will tell us."

Pro-Kremlin youth group Mestniye held one of the largest rallies, bringing in some 7,000 high school students from the Moscow region to a gathering on Prospekt Akademika Sakharova.

The group's web site said the purpose of the gathering was "to show the mobilization potential" and "support for official and legally elected authorities" among the country's youth.

Speakers stressed the need to return to Russian traditions to become "the strongest world power."

Some of the traditions, like martial arts and shaking hands while clapping the other person on the back, were demonstrated from the stage for the shivering crowd.

City Hall had authorized 38 rallies in Moscow on Sunday, Interfax reported Saturday.

People's Unity Day was created by President Vladimir Putin in 2005 to commemorate the liberation of Moscow from Polish invaders in 1612. The holiday replaced another national holiday, the anniversary of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, which had been celebrated on Nov. 7.