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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

600 Youth Vow to Fight 'Orange Pest'

MTAlexander Dugin standing next to a bearded baritone singing a monarchic hymn Sunday on Triumfalaya Ploshchad.
About 600 young people gathered under imperial black banners on Triumfalnaya Ploshchad on Sunday as their leaders pledged support to President Vladimir Putin and vowed to fight an "orange revolution" in Russia.

The Eurasian Youth Union, a nationalist group whose chief ideologist, Alexander Dugin, has close ties to the Kremlin, had planned a march along Tverskaya Ulitsa, but city authorities only sanctioned the two-hour rally near Mayakovskaya metro station.

"We are supporters of the regime. We support Putin because he created the prerequisites for the rebirth of the nation," Dugin told the rally. "We want guarantees that Putin will stay for a third term or secure the continuity of his course."

The Eurasian Youth Union is seen as a Kremlin-backed project to divert youth political activism from the banned, oppositional National Bolsheviks, who demand that Putin resign. When the group was created last year, its leaders pledged to fight Western attempts to influence Russian politics.

"Russia should be strong and not crawling under the West," Dmitry Zakharov, a rally participant, said Sunday.

Other participants said they had come to oppose the "orange pest," referring to Western-backed opposition groups. Such groups played an important role in Ukraine's Orange Revolution in 2004.

"National Bolsheviks want to monopolize street protests and the notion of civil society for themselves, and we want to show everybody today that we, too, are a part of civil society," said Pavel Kanishchev, waving a black flag decorated with eight yellow arrows symbolizing Russia's imperial expansion.

The rally began with a public prayer by an Orthodox priest, followed by a monarchic hymn sung by a bearded baritone wearing black garb.

Several participants who declined to give their names said they were not politically active and had come to Moscow because they had been offered a free bus ride.

"There are many people like us here, mostly students from vocational schools in Kovrov, Vladimir and other towns," said a teenage girl with blue hair and a pierced nose. "I can't wait for the boring stuff to end and go for a walk."