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National Bolshevism is a political movement that claims to combine elements of nationalism and Bolshevism.[1] It is often anti-capitalist in tone, and sympathetic towards certain nationalist forms of communism and socialism. Nevertheless, National Bolshevism is separate and distinct from National Communism. National Bolsheviks have historically defended both Stalinism and Strasserism, although in current times they say they do not wish to re-create those systems.

Today, Russia is considered to be the center of National Bolshevism, and almost all of the National Bolshevik parties and organizations in the world are connected to it. Amongst the leading practitioners and theorists of National Bolshevism are Aleksandr Dugin and Eduard Limonov, who leads the unregistered and banned National Bolshevik Party (NBP) in Russia.[2] Influenced heavily by the idea of geopolitics, current Russian National Bolshevik movements propose a merger between Russia, Europe and parts of Asia, in a union to be known as Eurasia.

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.[3]


Influences and origins

Supporters claim that the ideology has a direct link to the ideas of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, whom they present as the father of idealism. The ideology is highly traditionalist in the mold of Julius Evola. Amongst other influences claimed by the movement are Georges Sorel, Otto Strasser and José Ortega y Gasset (although this last influence is largely because of his rejection of left and right labels.

National Bolshevism is said to have roots in World War I Germany, where nationalist writers such as Ernst Niekisch and Ernst Jünger were prepared to tolerate the spread of communism as long as it took on the clothes of nationalism and abandoned its internationalist mission.[4]

There was a current in the German Communist Party based around Heinrich Laufenberg and Friedrich Wolfheim of Hamburg that, in 1919, argued for collaboration between workers' organisations and the bosses to drive the French army from occupying the Ruhr. They visited Karl Radek in the Moabit prison in 1920. A Russian Bolshevik, Radek disagreed with Vladimir Lenin's support for the treaties of Brest-Litovsk and Versailles. This current gravitated to the KPD(O) (Communist Party of Germany (Opposition)) despite their call for workers to give up their arms. At the August congress of the Communist Workers Party of Germany (KAPD), the first topic of debate was nation and class.

Arthur Goldstein rejected the notion of a "revolutionary people's war" with the German proletariat and the bourgeoisie uniting against the Entente bourgeoisie. He argued that any such war should be fought not for national victory but to overthrow the Entente Cordiale bourgeoisie and carry communism into the Entente countries as well. He further discussed how during the war, the National Bolsheviks had described the Spartakusbund's policy of inviting soldiers to leave the front as a "stab in the back". Goldstein stated, "In the text Communism against Spartacism, it is openly admitted that in Hamburg the nation is elevated to the starting point of politics, that therefore the concept of the nation is considered the most important, that it should be the measure for the politics of the German and international proletariat."[citation needed]

Radek wanted some of the right-wing nationalists he had met in prison to unite with the Bolsheviks in the name of National Bolshevism. He saw in National Bolshevism a way to "remove the capitalist isolation" of the Soviet Union.[1]

Paul Eltzbacher and Karl Haushofer theorized about an alliance between nationalist forces in Germany and the Soviet Union, although they did not use the term National Bolshevism.


Russian Civil War (1917–1923)

Flag of the Russian National Bolsheviks.

In Russia, as the 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 Smenovekhovtsi (named after a series of articles he published in 1921) Smena vekh (Russian: volte-face), came to regard themselves as National Bolsheviks, borrowing the term from Niekisch. 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.[5] Vladimir Lenin, who did not use the term 'National Bolshevism', identified the Smenovekhovtsi 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 communist believing them to be allies.[6]

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn vs Eduard Limonov

The term National Bolshevism has sometimes been applied to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and his brand of anti-communism.[7] However, Solzhenitsyn cannot be labeled a National Bolshevik since he was thoroughly anti-Marxist and anti-Stalinist, and he 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.[8] 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.[9]

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 USSR. 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.[10]. This argument doesn't exactly fit the modern Limonov NBP, which has allegedly abandoned its racial-nationalist leanings and pursues territorial nationalism for Russia. Upon the death of Solzhenitsyn, Limonov wrote an article in which, while still standing by his criticism of and disagreement with the writer, he claims to be his social modern equivalent.[citation needed]

National Bolshevik Party

The National Bolshevik Party was founded in 1992 as the National Bolshevik Front, an amalgamation of six minor groups. [11] The party has always been led by Eduard Limonov. The group's early policies and actions show some alignment and sympathy with fascist and Nazi groups, but a split occurred in the 2000s which changed this to an extent.

Opposed to the Vladimir Putin regime in Russia, Limonov has somewhat liberalized the NBP, and joined forces with leftist and liberal groups in Kasparov's United Civil Front to fight Putin. The National Bolshevik Party now officially promotes a "free socialist inner society" combined with "aggressive foreign policy to defend all Russian people".[citation needed] Such a change in policy is probably the result of repression, arrests, and imprisonment of NBP members in Russia; being the victims of some of their own propositions caused some members to liberalize viewpoints.[citation needed] Economically, the NBP supports a mix of the New Economic Policy of Vladimir Lenin and corporatism. The most recent explanations put forth on the party's official website show a wish to nationalize large businesses and industries while supporting the growth of private small and medium business. This appeared along with statements that deny links to fascism, and statements that antisemitism, xenophobia and racism is against the principles of the party.[citation needed]

Some National Bolsheviks are opposed to Limonov's to find allies even if they are pro-Western capitalists; some have left the NBP and formed the National Bolshevik Front.[12]


  1. ^ a b Von Klemperer, Klemens (1951). "Towards a Fourth Reich? The History of National Bolshevism in Germany". Review of Politics 13 (2): 191–210. 
  2. ^ Court Upholds Registration Ban Against National Bolshevik Party
  3. ^ G. Atkinson, 'Nazi shooter targets Chirac', Searchlight, August 2002
  4. ^ Martin A. Lee, The Beast Reawakens, p.315
  5. ^ Martin A. Lee, The Beast Reawakens, p. 316
  6. ^ Speech by V.I. Lenin on March 22, 1922 in V. Lenin, On the Intelligentsia, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1983, pp. 269-9
  7. ^ G. Hosking, A History of the Soviet Union, London: Fontana, 1990, pp. 421-2
  8. ^ Hosking, op cit
  9. ^ Hosking, op cit
  10. ^ A. Solzhenitsyn, The Oak and the Calf, 1975, pp.119-129
  11. ^ M.A. Lee, The Beast Reawakens, 1997, p. 314
  12. ^ National Bolshevik Front website

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