Putin's Fascists : Russkii Obraz and the Politics of Managed Nationalism in Russia


This book examines the relationship between the Putin regime and Russkii Obraz, a neo-nazi organization that became a major force on Russia's radical nationalist scene in 2008-10. It shows how Russkii Obraz's rise was boosted by the regime's policy of 'managed nationalism,' which mobilised radical nationalist proxies against opponents of authoritarianism. In return for undermining moderate nationalists and pro-democracy activists, Russkii Obraz received official support and access to public space. What made this collaboration politically hazardous for the Kremlin was Russkii Obraz's neo-Nazi ideology and its connections to BORN, a terrorist group responsible for a series of high-profile killings. When security forces captured the ringleader of BORN, they precipitated the destruction of Russkii Obraz and a crisis for managed nationalism. Using court records and extensive media and internet sources, this book sheds new light on the complex interaction between the Kremlin, the far-right, and neo-Nazi skinheads during Russia's descent into authoritarianism.