National Bolshevism

National Bolshevism (Russian: Национал-большевизм, German: Nationalbolschewismus), whose supporters are known as the Nazbols (Russian: Нацболы, German: Nationalbolschewisten),[1] is a political movement that combines elements of radical nationalism (especially Russian nationalism) and Bolshevism.[2][3]

Leading proponents of National Bolshevism in Germany included Ernst Niekisch (1889-1967), Heinrich Laufenberg (1872-1932) and Karl Otto Paetel (1906-1975). In Russia, Nikolay Ustryalov (1890-1937) and his followers, the Smenovekhovtsy used the term.

In modern times leading practitioners and theorists of National Bolshevism include Aleksandr Dugin and Eduard Limonov , who led the unregistered and banned National Bolshevik Party (NBP) in the Russian Federation.[4]

Members of the Russian National Bolshevik Party in 2006

German National Bolshevism

Ernst Niekisch's Widerstand journal featuring the original National Bolshevik eagle symbol

National Bolshevism as a term was first used to describe a current in the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) and then the Communist Workers' Party of Germany (KAPD) which wanted to ally the insurgent communist movement with dissident nationalist groups in the German army who rejected the Treaty of Versailles.[5] They were led by Heinrich Laufenberg and Fritz Wolffheim and were based in Hamburg. Their expulsion from the KAPD was one of the conditions that Karl Radek explained was necessary if the KAPD was to be welcomed to the Third Congress of the Third International. However, the demand that they withdraw from the KAPD would probably have happened anyway. Radek had dismissed the pair as National Bolsheviks, the first recorded use of the term in a German context.[6]

Radek subsequently courted some of the radical nationalists he had met in prison to unite with the Bolsheviks in the name of National Bolshevism. He saw in a revival of National Bolshevism a way to "remove the capitalist isolation" of the Soviet Union.[2]

During the 1920s, a number of German intellectuals began a dialogue which created a synthesis between radical nationalism (typically referencing Prussianism) and Bolshevism as it existed in the Soviet Union. The main figure in this was Ernst Niekisch of the Old Social Democratic Party of Germany, who edited the Widerstand journal.[7]

A National Bolshevik tendency also existed with the German Youth Movement, led by Karl Otto Paetel. Paetel had been a supporter of the Nazi Party (NSDAP), but became disillusioned with them as he did not feel they were truly committed to revolutionary activity or socialist economics. His 1930-formed movement, the Group of Social Revolutionary Nationalists, sought to forge a third way between the NSDAP and the KPD, emphasising both nationalism and socialist economics.[8] He was especially active in a largely unsuccessful attempt to win over a section of the Hitler Youth to his cause.[9]

Although members of the NSDAP under Adolf Hitler did not take part in Niekisch's National Bolshevik project and usually presented Bolshevism in exclusively negative terms as a Jewish conspiracy, in the early 1930s there was a parallel tendency within the NSDAP which advocated similar views. This was represented by what has come to be known as Strasserism. A group led by Hermann Ehrhardt, Otto Strasser and Walther Stennes broke away in 1930 to found the Combat League of Revolutionary National Socialists, commonly known as the Black Front.[10]

After the Second World War, the Socialist Reich Party was established, which combined neo-Nazi ideology with a foreign policy critical of the United States and supportive of the Soviet Union, which funded the party.[11][12]

Russian National Bolshevism

Russian Civil War

As the Russian Civil War dragged on, a number of prominent Whites switched to the Bolshevik side because they saw it as the only hope for restoring greatness to Russia. Amongst these was Professor Nikolai Ustrialov, initially an anti-communist, who came to believe that Bolshevism could be modified to serve nationalistic purposes. His followers, the Smenovekhovtsy (named after a series of articles he published in 1921) Smena vekh (Russian: change of milestones), came to regard themselves as National Bolsheviks, borrowing the term from Niekisch.[13]

Similar ideas were expressed by the Evraziitsi party and the pro-monarchist Mladorossi. Joseph Stalin's idea of socialism in one country was interpreted as a victory by the National Bolsheviks.[13] Vladimir Lenin, who did not use the term National Bolshevism, identified the Smenovekhovtsy as a tendency of the old Constitutional Democratic Party who saw Russian communism as just an evolution in the process of Russian aggrandisement. He further added that they were a class enemy and warned against communists believing them to be allies.[14]

Co-option of National Bolshevism

Ustrialov and others sympathetic to the Smenovekhovtsy cause, such as Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy and Ilya Ehrenburg, were eventually able to return to the Soviet Union and following the co-option of aspects of nationalism by Stalin and his ideologue Andrei Zhdanov enjoyed membership of the intellectual elite under the designation non-party Bolsheviks.[15][16] Similarly. B. D. Grekov's National Bolshevik school of historiography, a frequent target under Lenin, was officially recognised and even promoted under Stalin, albeit after accepting the main tenets of Stalinism.[17] Indeed, it has been argued that National Bolshevism was the main impetus for the revival of patriotism as an official part of state ideology in the 1930s.[18][19]

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn vs. Eduard Limonov

The term National Bolshevism has sometimes been applied to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and his brand of anti-communism.[20] However, Geoffrey Hosking argues in his History of the Soviet Union that Solzhenitsyn cannot be labelled a National Bolshevik since he was thoroughly anti-Marxist and anti-Stalinist and wished a revival of Russian culture that would see a greater role for the Russian Orthodox Church, a withdrawal of Russia from its role overseas and a state of international isolationism.[20] Solzhenitsyn and his followers, known as vozrozhdentsy (revivalists), differed from the National Bolsheviks, who were not religious in tone (although not completely hostile to religion) and who felt that involvement overseas was important for the prestige and power of Russia.[20]

There was open hostility between Solzhenitsyn and Eduard Limonov, the head of Russia's unregistered National Bolshevik Party. Solzhenitsyn had described Limonov as "a little insect who writes pornography" and Limonov described Solzhenitsyn as a traitor to his homeland who contributed to the downfall of the Soviet Union. In The Oak and the Calf, Solzhenitsyn openly attacked the notions that the Russians were "the noblest in the world" and that "tsarism and Bolshevism [...] [were] equally irreproachable", defining this as the core of the National Bolshevism to which he was opposed.[21]

National Bolshevik Party

The current National Bolshevik Party (NBP) was founded in 1992 as the National Bolshevik Front, an amalgamation of six minor groups.[22] The party has always been led by Eduard Limonov. Limonov and Dugin sought to unite far-left and far-right radicals on the same platform.[23] With Dugin viewing national-bolsheviks as a point between communist and fascists, and forced to act in the peripheries of each group.[24] The group's early policies and actions show some alignment and sympathy with radical nationalist groups, but a split occurred in the 2000s which changed this to an extent. This led to the party moving further left in Russia's political spectrum, and lead to members of the party denouncing Dugin and his group as fascists.[25] Dugin subsequently developed close ties to the Kremlin and served as an adviser to senior Russian official Sergey Naryshkin.[26][27]

Initially opposed to Vladimir Putin, Limonov at first somewhat liberalized the NBP and joined forces with leftist and liberal groups in Garry Kasparov's United Civil Front to fight Putin.[28] However, he later expressed more supportive views of Putin following the 2014 pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine.[29][30][31]

Other countries

The Franco-Belgian Parti Communautaire National-Européen shares National Bolshevism's desire for the creation of a united Europe as well as many of the NBP's economic ideas. French political figure Christian Bouchet has also been influenced by the idea.[32]

In 1944, Indian nationalist leader Subhas Chandra Bose called for "a synthesis between National Socialism and communism" to take root in India.[33]

That same year, the new leadership of the Israeli paramilitary organization Lehi declared its support for National Bolshevism, a break from the group's fascist outlook under its previous leader Avraham Stern.[34]

Some have described the Serbian Radical Party and the Greater Romania Party as "National Bolshevik" for blending much of their respective countries' far-right rhetoric with traditional left-wing stances such as socialised economies and anti-imperialism. The Serbian Radical Party in particular has given support to left-wing leaders such as Col. Gaddafi,[35] Fidel Castro, Saddam Hussein[36] and current Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.[37] The Greater Romania Party on the other hand was founded by Corneliu Vadim Tudor, described as the "Court Poet of Nicolae Ceaușescu",[38] and has been seen as a continuation of the latter's ideology with a right-wing veneer.

See also


  1. ^ Russian Nationalism, Foreign Policy and Identity Debates in Putin's Russia: New Ideological Patterns after the Orange Revolution. Columbia University Press. 2014. p. 147. ISBN 9783838263250. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  2. ^ a b Von Klemperer, Klemens (1951). "Towards a Fourth Reich? The History of National Bolshevism in Germany". Review of Politics. 13 (2): 191–210. doi:10.1017/S0034670500047422. JSTOR 1404764.
  3. ^ Van Ree, Erik (4 August 2010). "The concept of 'National Bolshevism': An interpretative essay" (PDF). Journal of Political Ideologies. 6 (3): 289–307. doi:10.1080/13569310120083017.
  4. ^ "Court Upholds Registration Ban Against National Bolshevik Party".
  5. ^ Pierre Broué, Ian Birchall, Eric D. Weitz, John Archer, The German Revolution, 1917–1923, Haymarket Books, 2006, p. 325–326.
  6. ^ Timothy S. Brown, Weimar Radicals: Nazis and Communists Between Authenticity and Performance, Berghahn Books, 2009, p. 95.
  7. ^ Martin A. Lee, The Beast Reawakens, Warner Books, 1998, p. 315.
  8. ^ Brown, Weimar Radicals, pp. 31-32
  9. ^ Brown, Weimar Radicals, p. 134.
  10. ^ Robert Lewis Koehl, The SS: A History 1919–1945, Tempus Publishing, 2004, pp. 61–63.
  11. ^ T. H. Tetens, The New Germany and the Old Nazis (London: Secker & Warburg, 1962), p. 78.
  12. ^ "Encyclopedia of modern worldwide extremists and extremist groups", Stephen E. Atkins. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004. ISBN 0-313-32485-9, ISBN 978-0-313-32485-7. pp. 273-274
  13. ^ a b Lee, The Beast Reawakens, p. 316.
  14. ^ Speech by Vladimir Lenin on 27 March 1922 in V. Lenin, On the Intelligentsia, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1983, pp. 296–299.
  15. ^ S. V. Utechin, Russian Political Thought: A Concise and Comprehensive History, JM Dent & Sons, 1964, pp. 254–255
  16. ^ Krausz, Tamas (3 April 2008). "National bolshevism ‐ past and present". Contemporary Politics. 1 (2): 114–120. doi:10.1080/13569779508449884.
  17. ^ Utechin, Russian Political Thought, p. 255.
  18. ^ Utechin, Russian Political Thought, p. 241.
  19. ^ Brandenberger, David (2002). National Bolshevism: Stalinist Mass Culture and the Formation of Modern Russian National Identity, 1931-1956. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674009066.
  20. ^ a b c G. Hosking, A History of the Soviet Union, London: Fontana, 1990, pp. 421–2
  21. ^ A. Solzhenitsyn, The Oak and the Calf, 1975, pp. 119–129.
  22. ^ M. A. Lee, The Beast Reawakens, 1997, p. 314.
  23. ^ Rogatchevski, Andrei; Steinholt, Yngvar (21 October 2015). "Pussy Riot's Musical Precursors? The National Bolshevik Party Bands, 1994–2007". Popular Music and Society. 39 (4): 448–464. doi:10.1080/03007766.2015.1088287.
  24. ^ "The metaphysics of National Bolshevism". Geopolitics. 5 November 2017. Retrieved 15 November 2018. Only two of variety “open society enemies” doctrines were able to win a temporary victory over liberalism: It is the Soviet (and Chinese) communism and the Middle European fascism. Between them there were national-bolsheviks, as a unique and not put into life historical opportunity, as a thin streak of the clairvoyant politicians, forced to act in the periphery of fascists and communists, and deemed to see the failure of their integrationist ideological and political efforts.
  25. ^ Yasmann, Victor (29 April 2005). "Russia: National Bolsheviks, The Party Of 'Direct Action'". Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty. Retrieved 15 November 2018. For this mobilization, the NBP used a bizarre mixture of totalitarian and fascist symbols, geopolitical dogma, leftist ideas, and national-patriotic demagoguery.
  26. ^ John Dunlop (January 2004). "Aleksandr Dugin's Foundations of Geopolitics". Demokratizatsiya. 12 (1): 41.
  27. ^ Shaun Walker (23 March 2014). "Ukraine and Crimea: what is Putin thinking?". The Guardian.
  28. ^ Remnick, David (1 October 2007). "The Tsar's Opponent". The New Yorker. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  29. ^ "Ukraine crisis: Crimea is just the first step, say Moscow's pro-Putin demonstrators". Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  30. ^ "Famous Kremlin Critic Changes Course, Says Putin Not a Monster (Limonov)". Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  31. ^ Bershidsky, Leonid (30 December 2014). "Putin Goes Medieval on the Russian Opposition". Retrieved 2 December 2016 – via
  32. ^ G. Atkinson (August 2002). "Nazi shooter targets Chirac". Searchlight.
  33. ^ Shanker Kapoor, Ravi (2017), "There is No Such Thing As Hate Speech", Bloomsbury Publishing
  34. ^ Robert S. Wistrich, David Ohana. The Shaping of Israeli Identity: Myth, Memory, and Trauma, Issue 3. London, England, UK; Portland, Oregon, USA: Frank Cass & Co. Ltd., 1995. Pp. 88.
  35. ^ "SRS holds rally in support of Gaddafi". 10 April 2011. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  36. ^
  37. ^ (21 February 2019) "Venezuela strengthens relations of solidarity and cooperation with the Republic of Serbia"
  38. ^ "Corneliu Vadim Tudor: Court poet to Nicolae Ceausescu who became an extreme nationalist figure after the fall of communism in Romania". The Independent. 17 September 2015. Retrieved 29 March 2019.

External links

Eurasia Party

The Eurasia Party (Russian: Евразия) is a Russian political party. It was registered by the Ministry of Justice on 21 June 2002, approximately one year after the pan-Russian Eurasia Movement was established by Aleksandr Dugin.

Often seen to be a form of National Bolshevism, one of the basic ideas that underpin Eurasian theories is that Moscow, Berlin and Paris form a natural geopolitical axis because a line or axis from Moscow to Berlin will pass through the vicinity of Paris if extended. They foresee an eternal world conflict between land and sea, between the United States and Russia, Dugin believes: "In principle, Eurasia and our space, the heartland (Russia), remain the staging area of a new anti-bourgeois, anti-American revolution". According to his 1997 book The Basics of Geopolitics: "The new Eurasian empire will be constructed on the fundamental principle of the common enemy: the rejection of Atlanticism, strategic control of the USA, and the refusal to allow liberal values to dominate us. This common civilisational impulse will be the basis of a political and strategic union".

The Eurasia Party was founded by Dugin on the eve of George W. Bush's visit to Russia at the end of May 2002. The party hopes to play a key role in attempts to resolve the Chechen problem, with the objective of setting the stage for Dugin's dream of a Russian strategic alliance with European and Middle Eastern states, primarily Iran.

Eurasian Youth Union

The Eurasian Youth Union (Russian: Евразийский союз молодёжи; ЕСМ) is a Russian traditionalist anti-European political organization, the youth wing of the Eurasia Party headed by Aleksandr Dugin. The organization has branches in several countries. In 2011, the Government of Ukraine has branded the ECM as an extremist anti-Ukrainian organization, convicted of a string of vandalism offenses and banned it in Ukraine.


Eurasianism (Russian: евразийство, yevraziystvo) is a political movement in Russia, formerly within the primarily Russian émigré community, that posits that Russian civilisation does not belong in the "European" or "Asian" categories but instead to the geopolitical concept of Eurasia. Originally developing in the 1920s, the movement was supportive of the Bolshevik Revolution but not its stated goals of enacting communism, seeing the Soviet Union as a stepping stone on the path to creating a new national identity that would reflect the unique character of Russia's geopolitical position. The movement saw a minor resurgence after the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of the 20th century, and is mirrored by Turanism in Turkic and Uralic nations.

European Liberation Front

The European Liberation Front (ELF) was a small neo-fascist group that split from Oswald Mosley's British Union Movement in 1948. Its founder and ideological inspiration was Francis Parker Yockey. In 1949 they issued a manifesto titled The Proclamation of London, written by Yockey.[1] The pan-nationalist (Pan-Europeanist) and anti-American movement had little impact, and lasted until 1954.

In the 1990s, the ELF, Yockey, and his ideology, were rediscovered by the Nouvelle Résistance, Alternativa Europea, National-Bolshevik Party, National Revolutionary Faction, and others. In 1999, a manifesto of a second 'European Liberation Front' was published in Paris, but there is apparently no more active organisation of that name now. The manifesto takes its ideological inspiration from Yockey, and from Otto Strasser, who was expelled from the Nazi Party by Adolf Hitler in 1930.

Despite the pan-European style of its title, the ideology of the manifesto is ethnic and racial nationalism: the manifesto speaks of the "historical and cultural ties which exist between our respective nations" and calls for "mono-ethnic racial homelands" to preserve the "race, culture and traditions of all European peoples". European liberation, according to the manifesto, consists of "National Revolution".

For the Native Language!

For the Native language! (Russian: За родной язык!, Latvian: Par Dzimto Valodu!) was a political party in Latvia. The party's leader was Vladimir Linderman.

Foundations of Geopolitics

The Foundations of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia is a geopolitical book by Aleksandr Dugin. The book has had a large influence within the Russian military, police, and foreign policy elites and it has been used as a textbook in the Academy of the General Staff of the Russian military. Its publication in 1997 was well-received in Russia and powerful Russian political figures subsequently took an interest in Dugin, a Russian eurasianist, fascist and nationalist who has developed a close relationship with Russia's Academy of the General Staff.Dugin credits General Nikolai Klokotov of the Academy of the General Staff as co-author and main inspiration, though Klokotov denies this. Colonel General Leonid Ivashov, head of the International Department of the Russian Ministry of Defence, helped draft the book.

Heinrich Laufenberg

Heinrich Laufenberg (19 January 1872 – 3 February 1932) was a leading German communist and was one of the first to develop the idea of National Bolshevism. Laufenberg was a history academic by profession and was also known by the pseudonym Karl Erler.

List of fascist movements by country A–F

A list of political parties, organizations, and movements adhering to various forms of fascist ideology, part of the list of fascist movements by country.

Mikhail Agursky

Mikhail Samuilovich Agursky (Russian: Михаи́л Самуи́лович Агу́рский; 1933 – 21 August 1991), real name Melik Samuilovich Agursky (Russian: Мэ́лик Самуилович Агу́рский), was asovietologist, cybernetic and historian of National Bolshevism. Agursky was a member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences and Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Mikhail Agursky was the pen name of Melik Agursky. Other variations of the name are Melir (Russian: Мэлир) and Melib (Russian: Мэлиб).

He was the son of a famous revolutionary, a historian and party leader Samuel (Shmuel) Haimovich Agursky (1884-1947). In 1955 he married Vera Feodorovna Kondratieva.


The Union of Mladorossi (Russian: Союз Младороссов, Soyuz Mladorossov) was a political group of Russian émigré monarchists (mostly living in Europe) who advocated a hybrid of Russian monarchy and the Soviet system, best evidenced by their motto "Tsar and the Soviets".

The organization started in 1923, as the "Union of Young Russia" (in Russian: Союз Молодой России, Soyuz Molodoi Rossii) in Munich, changing its name to the Union of Mladorossi in 1925.

National Bolshevik Front

National Bolshevik Front (NBF) has been used as a name for three separate strands of National Bolshevism. The name initially applied to the Russian National Bolshevik Party (NBP) of Eduard Limonov when it was founded in 1993. The group soon changed its name as it emerged as a political party.

Although abandoned by the Russian group as a name, the term is still used to refer to a loose federation of National Bolshevik organisations that spreads across much of Europe and even has branches in Venezuela and Bolivia. Of these, the most important is that in Russia, with the others being largely insignificant (although the Parti Communautaire National-Européen has been associated with the group).

National Bolshevik Party

The National Bolshevik Party (NBP; Russian: Национал-большевистская партия, also known as the Nazbols; Russian: Нацболы) operated from 1993 to 2007 as a Russian political party with a political program of National Bolshevism. The NBP became a prominent member of The Other Russia coalition of opposition parties. Russian courts banned the organization and it never officially registered as a political party. In 2010, its leader Eduard Limonov founded a new political party, called The Other Russia. There have been smaller NBP groups in other countries.

Its official publication, the newspaper Limonka, derived its name from the party leader's surname and from the idiomatic Russian word for a grenade. The main editor of Limonka was for many years, Aleksey Volynets.

Old Social Democratic Party of Germany

The Old Social Democratic Party of Germany (German: Alte Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands), known as the Old Social Democratic Party of Saxony (German: Alte Sozialdemokratische Partei Sachsens) until 1927, was a political party in Germany. The party was a splinter group of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) in Saxony, and had nationalistic tendencies. Whilst the party failed to become a mass party, it played a significant role in state politics in Saxony during the latter half of the 1920s. A leader of the party, Max Heldt, served as Minister-President of Saxony 1926-1929. Wilhelm Buck was the chairman of the party.

Parti Communautaire Européen

The Parti Communautaire Européen (PCE) was a pan-European nationalist political party based in Belgium that had a platform similar to National Bolshevism.

The party was initially formed in 1965 by Jean-François Thiriart as a political group to work alongside his Europe-wide movement Jeune Europe. However the PCE did not gain much attention until the 1970s, when, with the aid of Luc Jouret (later founder of the Order of the Solar Temple) and Joseph di Mambro, Thiriart managed to engineer a split in the Communist Party of Belgium (PCB) gain a new core of membership for the CPE.

Despite this, the PCE gradually declined in importance, particularly as Thiriart came to spend less time in Belgium. Many supporters of the PCE moved on to the Front National in the early 1980s as the group largely disappeared. The group was finally put to rest in 1984 with the foundation of the Parti Communautaire National-Européen, a group with similar ideas that Thiriart agreed to serve as advisor to.The party is not connected to the European Community Party, a more recent initiative.

Parti Communautaire National-Européen

The Parti communautaire national-européen (PCN) is a Belgium-based political organisation led by Luc Michel, a former member of the neo-Nazi FANE party. A largely National Bolshevik movement, it also has activists in France.

Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine

The Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine (PSPU) (Ukrainian: Прогресивна соціалістична партія України, Russian: Прогрессивная социалистическая партия Украины) is a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine, led by Nataliya Vitrenko.

Sankya (novel)

Sankya (Russian: Санькя) is a 2006 novel by the Russian writer Zakhar Prilepin. «Sankya» is a story about Sasha Tishin, member of The Founders - revolutionary organization, similar to National Bolshevik Party.This novel was published in 2006 in Ad Marginem (Russia).

The Fourth Political Theory

The Fourth Political Theory (Russian: Четвертая политическая теория, Chetvertaya Politicheskaya Teoriya) is a book by the Russian political scientist and theorist Aleksandr Dugin, published in 2009. In the book, Dugin states that he is laying the foundations for an entirely new political ideology, the fourth political theory, which integrates and supersedes liberal democracy, Marxism, and fascism. The book has been cited as an inspiration for Russian policy in events such as the War in Donbass, and for the contemporary European far-right in general.

The Other Russia (party)

The Other Russia (Russian: Другая Россия, romanized: Drugaya Rossiya) is a non-registered Russian political party founded on July 10, 2010.

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