International Russian Conservative Forum at St Petersburg: Far Right to ‘Unite’ Nationalist Forces.
ST. PETERSBURG — High-ranking members of some of Europe’s most controversial parties descended on St. Petersburg on Sunday to participate in the first International Russian Conservative Forum, an ultranationalist convention glorifying Russia as a refuge for the world’s most marginalized far-right political forces.
The forum’s speakers collectively ticked off all the boxes of intolerance and anti-Western sentiment, egged on by the enthusiasm of the audience filling a conference room at the St. Petersburg Holiday Inn. Through the course of the day, U.S. President Barack Obama was called a Nazi, white Christians were urged to reproduce, gays were referred to as perverts and murdered Russian opposition activists were said to be resting in hell.
Reports the Moscow Times (March 22nd).
United in their contempt for all things EU and their yearning for a socially conservative society, Russia and the extremes of the European political spectrum have forged a tacit alliance. Far-right leaders’ periodic visits to Moscow, combined with Russian banks’ magnanimity toward political entities that European creditors have shunned, have suggested that these parties’ gains in popularity could shift EU policy in Russia’s favor and undermine the union’s stance on the crisis in Ukraine.
Ties between Europe’s far-right and Russia became a little more concrete on Sunday, when radical right-wing party Rodina (“Motherland”), the organizer of the forum, adopted a resolution on the creation of a permanent committee to coordinate Russia’s and Europe’s conservative political forces.
The resolution was the culmination of a full day of 10-minute speeches by more than 30 ultranationalist commentators and the leaders of radical right-wing parties from seven European Union countries, including Greece, Italy, Germany and Britain. They blamed the United States for the Ukraine crisis, deplored the erosion of traditional values in the West and praised President Vladimir Putin’s peacemaking skills.“The American way of life is not at the center of our politics, nor are gays and lesbians,” said Udo Voigt, a member of the European Parliament and the former head of Germany’s far-right National Democratic Party. “Our focus is on our families and our children.”
The parties rushed to sign the resolution after the Holiday Inn received a bomb threat some 20 minutes before the scheduled end of the speeches. Organizers, who announced the evacuation order, claimed that their “enemies” had called police to sabotage the event. The origin of the bomb threat remains unknown.
A police van stood idle in the hotel’s front parking lot throughout the course of the International Russian Conservative Forum. Security personnel and bodyguards with dangling earpieces scrutinized participants. A handful of Cossacks equipped with leather whips, members of a quasi-militant group presented as guardians of traditional values, secured the entrance to the conference room.
The event’s organizers — members of the St. Petersburg branch of far-right party Rodina, a party founded in the early 2000s by current Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin — claimed that it represented the “first forum of the national-oriented political forces of Europe and Russia in world history.”
Organizers were up-front about the objectives of the event, claiming it was meant to unite European and Russian conservative forces “in the context of European sanctions against Russia and the United States’ pressure on European countries and Russia.”
The Kremlin has neither formally endorsed the event, nor spoken out against it. In an apparent bid to draw parallels between their own views and those of the federal authorities, forum organizers included in their press kit and on their website an excerpt of Putin’s speech at the 2013 Valdai International Discussion Club.
“We can see how many of the Euro-Atlantic countries are actually rejecting their roots, including the Christian values that constitute the basis of Western civilization.” Putin said at the time. “I am convinced that this opens a direct path to degradation and primitivism, resulting in a profound demographic and moral crisis.”
There were no Russian lawmakers or high-ranking officials among the speakers, though State Duma Deputy Alexei Zhuravlyov, who also heads Rodina, was present. Russian Senator Igor Morozov did not speak, despite initially having been scheduled to do so.
The forum’s speakers echoed the Russian state narrative on the pervasiveness of an ill-defined “fascism” in Europe.
More on Moscow Times site.
Ex-BNP leader Nick Griffin tells right-wing conference Russia will save Europe
We – community of political and public organizations, not indifferent to destiny of our Homeland – Russia, and all civilized mankind. We urge to unite for the sake of continuation of life on Earth, for the sake of conscientious and good-neighbourhood partnership between the nations of Europe. We decided to hold the first in world history Forum of the national focused political forces of Europe and Russia and to lay the foundation of sensible partnership in fight for preservation of traditional values of modern society: families, for spirituality and moral also we wait from each political and public organization of constructive proposals. We – Organizing committee of the International congress “International Russian Conservative Forum”:
“The Russian national cultural center – People’s House” – public organization which purpose is revival of traditional values and development of the Russian culture. “The Russian national cultural center – People’s House” combines efforts of people of all nationalities concerned by destiny of the Russian culture. It involves writers, musicians, artists, journalists, publishers, theater-goers, public figures in participation in business for return to the Russian culture of its worthy place in souls of people.
“People’s house” has to become a home for creators of the Russian culture. It helps all creators of the Russian World, irrespective of their ethnic, religious and civil origin. “… Our advance isn’t not impossible without spiritual, cultural, national self-determination, differently we will be able to resist to external and internal calls, we will be able to achieve success in conditions of the global competition” V. Putin’s performance at a meeting of the international debating club “Valdai”, the Novgorod region, 19.09.2013