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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Who's Afraid of a Big Bad Bolshevik?

Vladimir Putin, that's who. As well he should be, given the fact that today's Russia is exactly like Russia of 1917, with a tiny class of super-rich "oligarchs" sucking the blood of a vast ocean of impoverished masses and hence ripe for class warfare and revolution. Kommersant reports:

Rosokhrankultura, the federal mass media and culture oversight agency, has sent Kommersant a warning not to use the word combination “National Bolshevik Party” or the abbreviation NBP, inasmuch as the National Bolshevik Party is not officially registered. The agency cited “the impermissibility of violations of the requirements of the legislation of the Russian Federation” in a letter signed by deputy chairman of the agency Alexander Romanenko.

Romanenkov's letter makes reference to the March 12, 2007, article “They Voted with Their Hands and Feet at the Polls” describing actions staged by the National Bolsheviks at polling places during the regional parliamentary elections. “In the Russian federation, there is no political party with the name National Bolshevik Party,'” Romanenkov writes. Therefore, “the information published by the editorial staff of Kommersant newspaper about the existence and activity of a political party with the name National Bolshevik Party,' as well as about specific persons who are allegedly members and activists in the NBP, can be construed as falsification of socially significant information, the circulation of rumors in the guise of reliable reports and as information that does not correspond with reality.” Rosokhrankultura posted a letter to the media on its website in July 2006 forbidding them to use that word combination and threatening them with the cancellation of their licenses.

“I know that all publications try to avoid that word combination so as not to receive a warning,” commented Igor Yakovenko, general secretary of the Journalists' Union. “I can say with complete certainty that Rosokhrankultura's claims are groundless and are politically motivated.” Kommersant was unable to find other publications that had received warnings. “I wrote, write and will continue to write NBP,'” said Newsweek reporter Aidar Buribaev, “because it is now a real political force and interesting events happen around it.” Gazeta newspaper political reviewer said, “I write both the full name and the abbreviation, but there has been no scolding from the authorities.”

Head of the Kommersant legal department Georgy Ivanov noted that “the warning has no legal consequences.” National Bolshevik leader Eduard Limonov advised the newspaper to refer to those who share his views by their Russian nicknames of limonovtsy or natsboly.

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