12:22 GMT +325 May 2019
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    Russian court bans Limonov's party

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    MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti political commentator Yuri Filippov.) The Russian Supreme Court has upheld the earlier court decision to ban the National Bolshevik Party. This has put an end to the drawn out struggle against this radical opposition organization, whose demonstrative actions against the authorities cross all boundaries of political propriety.

    In the past few years, National Bolsheviks blockaded the reception room of the presidential administration and stormed into the Health Ministry. Some party members have been imprisoned for these actions, while others are still on trial.

    Party leader Edward Limonov described the decision of the Supreme Court as political and said they would file documents with the Justice Ministry within ten days to re-register the party as the All-Russian Political Organization of National Bolsheviks. They do not plan to dissolve, believing that they can fulfill with the legal requirements for official registration of a new organization.

    This will not turn National Bolsheviks into a popular political party or ensure their acceptance in the political community. But it has never been their aim to fight in the elections, interact with and incorporate into the authorities, or becoming an intermediary between the state and society. Therefore, there are objective political obstacles to the "legalization" of Limonov's organization, and they will not vanish.

    Other Russian parties, although they claim to be in opposition to the government, try to cooperate with the state. After the Russian liberal parties Yabloko and the Union of Right Forces (SPS) lost the 2003 parliamentary election, their members did not leave the public arena or joined the irreconcilable opposition.

    For example, Vladimir Lukin (Yabloko) accepted the post of the Human Rights Commissioner of Russia and Sergei Kiriyenko (SPS) was the president's envoy in the Volga federal district and is now head of the Rosatom state concern for the generation of electric and thermal power at nuclear power plants. Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov sometimes has meetings with the president, while Dmitry Rogozin, the leader of the nationalist opposition party Rodina (Homeland), used to be Putin's official representative in the Kaliningrad region.

    It is impossible to imagine National Bolsheviks doing this, though some open-minded members of the presidential administration would be glad to find points of contact with Limonov's party. After all, the young party members are brimming with energy and their leader, Edward Limonov, is a talented writer who knows how to attract attention.

    If National Bolsheviks agreed to restrain their aggressive behavior and get rid of provocative symbols (which combine the Soviet hammer and sickle with the Nazi colors and emblems), if they encouraged a healthy way of life among young people in line with the presidential healthcare project without stopping their idealization of the Soviet period, they would have a chance to become a respectable youth movement. In fact, they would not be very different from the Nashi (Ours) movement, which many people criticize despite its acceptance by the Kremlin.

    Valentin Varennikov, a general, a communist and "Victory flag-bearer," has recently called on National Bolsheviks to face the real problems of the country. "National Bolsheviks should join the forces that are upholding the interests of the people, rather than pose as an outcast super-group with a flag that nobody can recognize," he said.

    But Limonov's army does not intend to abandon its anarchism or become attached to anyone. Their only political program is an ongoing revolt and attacks against the government. Limonov has recently called on all Russian opposition forces, including extreme liberals, disgraced ministers and former oligarchs, to join forces and change power in Russia in a kind of Ukraine's "orange revolution." But even this has not helped his party to overcome its isolation from real politics. Respectable liberals do not want to be associated with nationalists, while the communists do not believe in "orange revolutions" that transfer power from one elite group to another.

    There are good reasons why National Bolsheviks are called an individual literary project of the writer Edward Limonov. This project has its fans but they are not as numerous than the admirers of Limonov's literary talent. And this is not enough to create a real political party.

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