Russian march

The Russian march is an annual nationalist demonstration held on 4 November, the Day of National Unity. Although the holiday was established in 2005 and has since become a national holiday, many Russians are still unaware of what exactly this holiday is and why the fa right have chosen this date for their Russian Marches.


According to the official version, on November 4 1612, the people’s militia, headed by Kuzma Minin and Prince Dmitry Pozharsky, liberated Moscow from Polish invaders. In 1613, Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich instituted the Day of the Cleansing of Moscow from the Polish invaders. In 1649, by decree of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, the date was declared a church-state holiday. In Soviet times, November 4 was not celebrated and was not a holiday. November 7, the Great October Socialist Revolution Day, was considered a holiday. In 1996, by decree of Russian President Boris Yeltsin, the holiday was renamed the Day of Reconciliation and Concord. In September 2004, the Inter-religious Council of Russia proposed making November 4 a holiday and marking it as National Unity Day. The Duma supported the initiative. This day became a day off instead of November 7, which received the status of a memorial date – October Revolution Day in 1917.

In other words, the holiday National Unity Day on November 4 was invented to replace the October Revolution Day on November 7. The idea to move and rename the holiday was suggested by Vladislav Surkov, then-assistant to the head of state and chief ideologist in the presidential administration, in order to strengthen the bonds by virtually free means and to level the notion of “revolution,” which is not at all close to the Kremlin.


In 2004, State Duma deputies, even from the most “patriotic” parties, wondered why a new holiday was needed. Since November 4, 2005, Russia has celebrated National Unity Day, the political practice of which does not fully correspond to its title: on this day, for example, nationalists organize Russian marches. A survey ( showed what role Unity Day actually plays in the ideological life of Russians. 50% of those surveyed described this holiday as “not important or meaningful,” 34% as “important or meaningful,” and 10% as simply “an extra day off. There is an opinion that the tradition to celebrate the alleged victory over the Poles, which has not caught on with the people, annoys the elite more and more. Even the most stubborn propagandist cannot explain why it is necessary to celebrate November 4 and categorically not to celebrate November 7, which is three days away.

**Main right wing holiday**

On November 4, 2005, the first “Russian March” took place in Moscow, organized by the right-wing philosopher Alexander Dugin’s Eurasian Youth Union and Alexander Belov-Potkin’s now-banned Movement against Illegal Immigration (DPNI). Dugin, head of the Eurasian Youth Union, decided not to invent anything new and proposed celebrating national unity with a youth march. However the very idea was borrowed from left-wing radical organizations, which had held several “Anti-Capitalism” marches by that time. “At first it was called the Right March, then it was called the Russian March – a march of those people who are right, who identify themselves with the truth,” Dugin later wrote.

As Demushkin, former leader of the now-banned Slavic Union, recalls, the Eurasianists had plenty of paraphernalia and flags, but it turned out that there weren’t enough people willing to carry them. “They enlisted the help of nationalists to carry their banners for a fee,” he says.

The organizers of the first Russian March in 2005, as Demushkin notes, were afraid that someone would bring the banners of his “Slavic Union” and similar movements. That’s why all the sticks they could use to hoist the banners were brought to the place where the march began, centrally, through one entrance.

Duginists also demanded that Demushkin be removed from the organizing committee. But he still came, and not alone, not empty-handed, and, to be blunt, not entirely pure intentions: “Three hundred people I just brought from the subway to go in there. We had the idea to take over the procession. We brought paraphernalia and together with the DPNI gathered almost all the fan groups and subculture.

It was the first major nationalist action, which was authorized by the authorities. The procession went from Chistye Prudy metro station to Slavyanskaya Square. Valery Korovin, Pavel Zarifullin, Nikolai Kuryanovich, Yegor Kholmogorov, Konstantin Krylov, Viktor Yakushev, Alexander Belov, and Yuri Gorski spoke at the rally.

As a result, the media were flooded with photos of columns of young people with DPNI and Slavic Union flags holding hands at nazi salute. According to the police department, the march drew two thousand people, according to the nationalists – about five thousand.

The march was held under the slogan “Russia against the invaders”, but only Dugin’s Eurasians meant the Americans, of course, and the nationalists considered migrants from Central Asia and the Caucasus as invaders.

The DPNI vigilantes enforced discipline. But the procession was soon attacked by anti-fascists. A condom and water flew into the formation on Pokrovsky Boulevard, and firecrackers and smoke bombs exploded on Yauza Boulevard.

The march ended at Slavyanskaya Square, where the Eurasianists tried to intercept the agenda, shifting the protesters’ anger toward the Americans. But they failed. The headliner of the rally was the leader of the DPNI Alexander Belov, who immediately asked the crowd if the march should be made annual. Voted, of course, the well-known gesture of the right hand.

“The result was terrible: our slogans were not read, no one gave us a chance to explain the situation, and all the reaction to the march was mostly indignant, critical and cartoonish. Alexander Dugin lamented: “The Eurasianists ‘weren’t noticed,’ but they were noticed for their catchy nationalist slogans.

According to his version, the nationalists haven’t been asked for help – the officials at Moscow City Hall simply didn’t bother to look into the matter, merging Dugin’s application with the DPNI.

Years later, the Eurasianists already voiced a more conspiracy version. Deputy director of the International Eurasian Movement Valery Korovin formulated it for Russkaya Narodnaya Liniya: “Provocateurs were deliberately integrated, provocateurs who provoked the translation of the event from a constructive, creative, imperialistic vein into a marginal, petty-nationalist format, with swags and swastikas, in order to blame everything on Luzhkov. According to Korovin, it turns out that Eurasianists tried to reeducate bad Russian nationalists into good ones: “To transform the many marginal nationalist sects into a big Russian imperialist movement. They no longer dared to make a second attempt, and left the organizing committee.

In 2006, Mayor Yuri Luzhkov banned the march, calling it “chauvinistic. Instead of the march, there was a rally in the square of Devichie Field. About 300 of the 3,000 participants were detained. Since 2006, “Russian March” marches have been held in St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Blagoveshchensk and Barnaul.

The most scandalous “Russian March” took place in 2009. Then the neo-Nazi groups Kolovrat and Huk Right performed right in front of the Kremlin on Bolotnaya Square.

In 2011, the largest Russian march took place, involving (by various estimates) from 10 to 25 thousand people. The march was followed by a rally in Lublino with speeches by Alexander Belov, Alexei Navalny, Dmitry Demushkin, and Georgy Borovikov. The rally was followed by a concert. In addition, representatives of other nationalist associations also held their rallies on that day.

After 2016, the number of “Russian Marches” began to decline dramatically.