Is A Threat Growing In Russia?


The Cold War, the great ideological struggle that divided the world for decades after World War II until the Fall of the Berlin Wall, pitted the United States and NATO against the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact in the greatest arms race the world had ever seen. When the Warsaw Pact dissolved and the Soviet Union subsequently collapsed in 1991, the West believed its greatest rival was finally gone forever. That’s not to say there aren’t tensions between the U.S. and the Russian Federation (there are), but it is a situation much preferable to the Soviet Union.

However, it seems that despite the dictatorship, food shortages, secret police, gulags, etc. brought about by the Soviet Union, there are those who want to see it return. The National Bolshevik Front is a series of Russian political groups which seek to return certain aspects of the USSR to Russia, with some groups being more radical than others with branches in multiple European countries. The NBF promotes itself in a similar fashion to the Nazis of World War II, with mass protests and demonstrations and waving large flags with bright red, black and white colors. The NBF flag itself is almost identical to the Nazi flag, with the only difference being that the swastika is replaced with a hammer and sickle, although some forms of the flag have a black background instead of red.

Eduard Limonov, founder of the NBP and the Other Russia

The NBF originally began as the National Bolshevik Party in 1993, founded by Russian political activist Eduard Limonov. The NBP opposed Western influences and capitalism, as well as Russian president Vladimir Putin who is (ironically) accused of turning the Russian Federation into a police state. While the NBP was considered by some (such as the Department of Homeland Security) to be a terrorist organization, the NBF eventually split from the NBP because it was believed by certain members that Limonov was allying with Western-friendly groups to remove Putin from power. Thus members of the NBF did not consider the NBP to even be a Bolshevist-based organization. The NBP eventually dissolved by 2010 when Limonov founded a new political party called The Other Russia, whose flag is similar to the NBP flag except the hammer and sickle is replaced with a grenade.

The National Bolshevik Front opposes liberal movements within Russia such as the Democratic Union, while also opposing organizations outside of Russia, such as the United States and NATO. Due to the many different groups within the NBF, specific goals range in terms of extremism although some support racist ideologies such as the deportation of non-Russians and the nationalization of all industries inside Russia, while others promote antisemitism.

Flag of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation

It’s unknown exactly how many people are associated with the NBF, as it has many splinter groups and isn’t an official political party, but at one point the former NBP had over 10,000 members. Combined with the growing protests against president Vladimir Putin and the fact that the Communist Party of the Russian Federation is the second largest political party behind United Russia (The political party of Putin), it seems plausible that an extremist group such as the NBF could possibly attract more members to its cause or someday do more than simply protest in the streets of Moscow. Fortunately, the NBF is also very diverse and not centralized, hopefully preventing the group from ever achieving their goals and keeping them relegated them to the fringes of Russian society.