Union of Orthodox Banner-Bearers

Union of Orthodox Banner-Bearers (SPKh or Khrugvenostsy) is a Russian nationalist-fundamentalist organization that identifies itself as part of the Russian Orthodox Church, though the church has implicitly [repudiated]( that claim. It was founded in 1992. Its leader Leonid Simonovich-Nikshich estimated the size of the “core of the organisation” at 20-25 people. Leonid Simonovich-Nikshich died 19 March 2022. There is no single flag or symbol for SPKH, and it uses a variety of paraphernalia, including the slogan “Orthodoxy or Death!”. A T-shirt bearing this slogan and the traditional image of a cross was placed on the Federal List of Extremist Materials in 2010.

The SPKH publications Zemshchina newspaper and the Svyashchennyaya Kharugvi magazine were published until 2009.

The main objective of the SPKh considers “strengthening and distribution of Orthodox Faith, restoration of Autocratic Monarchy, revival of Russian National Consciousness and Imperial Russian Patriotism on all territory of Russian Empire”. The organisation carries out “Russian monarchist processions” in Moscow on the dates connected with history of an imperial family. Besides, Khrugvenostsy annually hold national patriotic marches on Victory Day on May 9 and on the day of storming of the White House in 1993 – on October 4.

They are unconditional and rather radical ethnonationalists. They are actively engaged in racist propaganda against Jews and people from the Caucasus and Central Asia. In the 2000s, the SPKh leadership was sympathetic to the Nazi-skinhead movement and justified their cooperation with them by their desire to re-educate them: “offer holy love instead of sizzling hatred, holy faith instead of neo-paganism, Russian Black Hundred instead of Germanophilia”. In practice, the activities of this small group are limited to some spectacular actions. For example, on 10 October 2007, SPKh activists [held]( an action of burning a “God-opposing book” about Harry Potter near the Church of Saint Nikola on Bersenevka.

Like many other Russian Orthodox monarchists, SPKh sees Serbia as Russia’s ally not only in politics, but also in restoring monarchy and Orthodoxy. However, SPKh pays particular attention to Serbia because Leonid Simonovich-Nikshich is, in his own words, half-Serbian.