Vladimir Linderman, member of the CC of the National-Bolshevik party, Roman Popkov, leader of the Moscow department of the National-Bolshevik party are on the air of “Echo Moskvy” radio station.
The presenter is Vladimir Varfolomeyev
V.Varfolomeyev - Vladimir Varfolomeyev is on the microphone, today the representatives of the NBP leaders are our guests. The member of the CC Vladimir Linderman, good afternoon, Vladimir.
V.Linderman - Good afternoon.
V.Varfolomeyev - And Roman Popkov, leader of the Moscow department of the party, hello, Roman.
R.Popkov - Hello.
V.Varfolomeyev - First of all, of course, the NBP has surprised, petrified, shocked everybody. Somebody was pleased, but the majority, I think, not very much. I’m speaking about the recent events, actually about the capture of the building of the Ministry of Health including, they say, the office of the head of this department mister Zurabov. These events happened on the eve of discussion in the State Duma of the problems concerning the benefits cancellation and their replacement by money compensations. As far as I remember from the reports, about 30 members of the NBP were arrested then, are all the people participating in that capture are at large or is somebody in detention?
V.Linderman - Yesterday two more activists of the NBP were arrested, Grigory Tishin and Kirill Klyonov, they are accused of hooliganism in group. Now they are in the isolator for temporary detention in Petrovka. Besides, less than 40 minutes ago, the officers who presented the FSB and RUBOP cards, made a raid upon the apartment of the editor of the “General Line”, party newspaper. Three national-bolsheviks more were arrested there, all of them are the participants of the action in the Health Ministry, including Maxim Gromov, whose photo, where he is throwing out of the window the portrait of beloved president, went through all the mass media. Those who were arresting Maxim Gromov shouted, accusing him exactly of that - what do you, bitch, if you will excuse the expression on air, have against our president and so on, all in all he was grasped and taken away.
V.Varfolomeyev - Thus, four at least.
V.Linderman - Five.
V.Varfolomeyev - Five members of the NBP are now arrested or, as they say, in detention. And now explain, why was the action of the Health Ministry arranged, Roman?
R.Popkov - You know, you said that it was an unpleasant shock for many people, as a matter of fact, I don’t agree with you. Mister Zurabov is widely known to the russian public as one of the chief ideologists, initiator of this unpopular draft on privileged payments. The target the activists of the party chose was rather appropriate in the given situation. In fact, today the Ministry of Health has turned into one of the conductors of the tough untipopular policy of president, and, as a matter of fact, the capture of this department, the peaceful capture, must have served as a signal for the authority that they mustn’t treat the nation that way, that the people have a right to assert their interests, to defend, that the functionaries in their offices are not gods on the Olympus, that they are attainable for revenge.
V.Varfolomeyev - To my mind there is a contradiction in you words, a capture can’t be peaceful.
R.Popkov - Yes it can. A peaceful capture, a peaceful capture of a state institution, APN agency said correctly yesterday, peaceful capture of a state institution is one of the main signs of a velvet revolution. That is how the events were developing in Prague in 98, in GDR in the same year. It was so, these are examples from history. A peaceful capture implies that people penetrate one or another object, hold it without weapons, without violence in fact.
V.Varfolomeyev - Is it true that when the nazbols came to the Ministry, they were wearing, some of them, white gowns, introduced themselves as some health service, something like that this time?
R.Popkov - Some of them were wearing working overalls, as a matter of fact, I think it made their entrance to the building easier. But these are technical matters. Yes, such a fact took place, yes.
V.Varfolomeyev - To my mind the events concerning the capture of the Health Ministry opened some new page in the activity of your party, because before only actions of administrative character were brought against you, without criminal clauses. And this time, overnight, we knew that Tverskaya Office of Public Prosecutor brought a criminal action, clause 213, part 2, it’s hooliganism committed by a group in preliminary agreement, connected with resistance to the authority representatives. Here two versions are possible, either you have qualitatively changed the level of your political activity, or simply the authority has begun to treat you tougher.
V.Linderman - Still your data aren’t exact. The fact is that during the national-bolshevik party existence about one hundred criminal cases have been initiated. Even concerning all the acts of velvet terrorism, as mass media tend to call it, for example, bombarding VIP persons with food. Simply the VIP persons were careful and smart enough to withdraw the claim at some point, though people were in detention, for example, Natalya Chernova, who had attacked prime minister Kasyanov, or Nikolai Medvedev who had spilt mayonnaise on mister Veshnyakov, they all were brought criminal actions against. Simply at some point, I think, these VIP persons themselves put it into reverse, because didn’t want to appear in such an unattractive role once again. To say nothing of the famous criminal cases, take Saratov process, when Edward Limonov and his comrades spent 2 years behind bars. Now in Belgorod, in Chuvashi, one girl is serving a term for an absolutely peaceful action, by the way, the governor of Belgorod imprisoned Anna Petrenko for an alarm clock sent as a present. So many national-bolsheviks have gone through prisons, criminal actions were brought more than once.
V.Varfolomeyev - Let’s turn to our pager. To my surprise there are a lot of messages with words of support directed to you. Galina is writing - I entirely support the actions of national-bolsheviks, I regret that our people is sleeping, if everybody had gone out to the streets, this outrageous reform wouldn’t have passed. To tell the truth, I’ve received one message from Gulya from Moscow,”take away glasses and decanters with water, people in front of you are unpredictable, if they don’t like anything, they’ll throw it”. You know, Gulya, the atmosphere in our studio is peaceful and quiet, thank God. I hope there won’t happen any excesses. Who are the people joining the NBP, what makes them do that if they are aware of the possibility to be arrested, brought actions against, simply beaten by the militsia men, OMON officers, what, in particular happened after the last action? Who are they, and why do they take part in it?
R.Popkov - First of all, these are honest and principled young people. As a rule, these are guys of 18-25 years old, who understand that to make Russia free they must sacrifice something. People, realizing that the regime is so tough and haughty, that on the way to their aims they’ll have to face with many difficulties. As a rule, these are students, schoolchildren, senior pupils, people from different social strata, there are both representatives of artistic circle and common working fellows from outskirts, i.e. the NBP unites all the passionaries, all the people ready to create history and for whom the problems of the country and the nation are first of all their problems.
V.Varfolomeyev - Gentlemen, you are telling that you have many young people, but do you realize your responsibility, because you’re involving minors, if there are schoolchildren, first-year students, into illegal activities? To my mind, there exist a special clause in the CC, by the way.
V.Linderman - We are not involving anybody into illegal activities.
V.Varfolomeyev - But if actions are being brought against you, that means these are illegal activities.
R.Popkov - The fact is that the court will decide whether the activities are legal or illegal, and I think that, as for the last episode, it will be easy to break it, all these accusations, that they wounded an OMON officer during the assault and so on, are totally absurd. Of course, we realize our responsibility, we never abandon our people, we always try to take them from militsia stations. And, by the way, the leaders of the party have never kept a distance, these are not people, simply sitting and issuing orders. It’s impossible to issue an order in the NBP. All our actions are a creative initiative of the party masses, even Edward Limonov gets to know about most of our actions on the radio, from your reports.
V.Varfolomeyev - But you wouldn’t call the capture of the Health Ministry a flashmob, would you?
R.Popkov - Certainly this action had elements of flashmob. Here you are trying to present the capture of the Health Ministry as something aggressive, but the guys simply entered the studies and threw the portraits of Putin out of the windows. And leaflets. There was nothing criminal in that, the actions of OMON in that situation looked much more cruel, absolutely unmotivated violence, beatings, that’s what public’s attention should be attracted to. The authorities’ actions towards the activists of the party are certainly criminal and illegal. That’s exactly so. By the way, the last action differs from all the previous ones by the fact that in fact the Tverskoye militsia station turned out to be real hell for these guys, during all the night they were taken, questioned, beaten. I mean the methods of Gestapo prosper in Putin’s Russia, no doubt. There was even one moment, I don’t know, we’ve only read about it in books about anti-fascist resistance, when the guys were placed in a monkey cage, i.e. some kind of cage like in a zoo, in this militsia station, and a FSB officer takes them one by one for questioning. By the way, that was famous Andrei Chechenez, who had once beaten Alexandr Orlov. He takes them for questioning one by one, promising that everything will be all right, but people return beaten from his study. And the guys simply realized that they mustn’t give their people, they joined hands, about 15-20 persons, and said they wouldn’t give him anybody else. He sais - we’ll fill the cage with gas. As a metter of fact the authority beats people for administrative offences, takes their health, so the activity of our guys resembles that of western antiglobalists and the movement of Polish resistance during Yaruzelski, i.e. all these are peaceful actions of protest. No one person has ever suffered from our actions.
V.Varfolomeyev - You are speaking about the actions of the militsia and the FSB officers, but these are accusations unsupported by evidence. Maybe later your people, who were released, recorded in the first-aid posts the injuries, the consequences of the beatings as it should be?
R.Popkov - Certainly.
V.Linderman - There’s nothing unsupported by evidence, an action has already been brought against Andrei, mentioned by Roman, who had beaten your colleague, Alexandr Orlov.
V.Varfolomeyev - “Echo TV” company.
V.Linderman - Yes, he beat him after the action in the Bolshoi theater. Nevertheless, this personality goes on working in the FSB, one of the State Duma members came to him to support our guys, he simply cursed him. I mean, that’s an outrage. All our guys are surely juridically competent.
R.Popkov - By the way, two persons went to Botkinskaya hospital from the Tverskoye militsia station, these are Sergei Ilyukhin and Sergei Yezhov, they recanted their testimony and the ambulance took them there. Both bruised kidneys and head in grazes, all the back black and blue, we have all these papers. And, of course, we’ll set this affair going. I’ve personally seen all these medical documents, so we are not trying to slander anybody unjustly at all.
V.Varfolomeyev - Let me remind you that today the representatives of the NBP leaders Vladimir Linderman and Roman Popkov are on air. I’d like to return to the question why these young people are acting this way. Earlier you, Roman, said that they want to change something in our country, but I would object you by words of my colleague, Leonid Radzikhovski, a famous journalist, gave a talk on our radio station yesterday evening, and, in particular he said following words - I think limonovists don’t pursue any political objects, I think that’s just an artistic performance, nothing more. And then, the example is the capture of the Health Ministry - I don’t think that the problem of paid or free health service bothers them much. Such problems don’t bother people of their age.It’s difficult not to agree with him.
V.Linderman - On the contrary, it’s difficult to agree with his words. The fact is that yes, the NBP has used the achievements of modern art in the political activity from the moment of apearance. In mister Radzikhovski’s opinion, probably, politics must be boring, like all the functionaries from the”United Russia”, tongue-tied, such heavy heads or boring characters, heading the CPRF, for example. Politics might be bright, beautiful, why not? And the party has its object. Without going into boring and hackneyed terminology why can’t we say that we want to make Russia a wonderful country, bright, beautiful, free, so that it would give pride to its citizens, that I live in Russia. So that you could tell in every part of the world that you are from Russia and that would sound mighty. So that the enemies of the country, wanting to humiliate it, would be afraid of it and respect it, because one thing can’t be without the other one.
V.Varfolomeyev - Vladimir, I think many would be ready to share your objects, but not the methods you’re making use of. That day you could have organize a meeting, a picket in front of the Health Ministry, raise slogans, make speeches, to say all the things you are saying now. But you are considered to be extremists, maybe not without reason in many respects.
V.Linderman - The fact is that these methods appeared in this certain political situation, taking place in Russia. A lot of times the party tried to register to participate in election, struggle for votes. The last refusal was simply funny, the judge was laughing in court, two misprints were found there. Today we are refused of registration, but that’s a common situation in russia, “Liberal Russia”, the Glazyev’s party and so on are also refused. We would like to take part in normal political fight, but we are refused. Consequently in this narrow passage between usual political activity, i.e. struggle for voters on one hand, and violence, partisan fight, diversions on the other hand, in this narrow passage our methods of fight sprang up. On the one hand the bright ones attract attention of mass madia, and we can announce our political objects thanks to them. On the other hand they remain peaceful, i.e. they don’t arouse the people’s indignation by unmotivated violence, when there are accidental victims. Our so-called victims, i.e. the bombarded with eggs or the captured building, are never accidental. Out actions never touch civilians. They always touch the representatives of the authority responsible for the vile laws, poor position of the country on the international arena and so on.
V.Varfolomeyev - As for extremism, Alexei Borzenko is asking on our Internet site, the question isn’t very easy itself, how many thousand people would you shoot if you came to power?
V.Linderman - I don’t want to offend mister Borzenko, the question is idiotic as a matter of fact, it follows from this question that national-bolsheviks are sadists, they are craving power to shoot somebody. There are certain situations, for example, the situation of civil war when either you kill or you’ll be killed, there’s a situation of war when a murder can’t be called a murder or a criminal penalty, it results from the character of political relations. I never think how many people I’m going to shoot, as a national- bolshevik, I bother much more about my oun life and death, so that I would live my life not in vain and have a beautiful death. I think the MVD and FSB officers think about it, to my mind, they reason in such terms. We don’t.
V.Varfolomeyev - As for the problem of the political future. First of all, are you going to continue attempts to register, and what is your status now? In other words, you have a title, the NBP, what is your legal status?
R.Popkov - Of course, we are not going to change out title, though according to the law we don’t have a right to be called a party. There is an interregional public organization NBP, and now they are trying to deprive us even of this title, this legal cover-up, the Moscow region court has been conducting the case on the Ministry of Justice issue conserning our closure for half a year. Of course, we are going to continue trying to register. And it is clear that we are not cherishing any illusions, we realize that we are a dangerous opposition to the authority. The authority will never let us in the Olympus.
V.Varfolomeyev - Why are you dangerous? Just a group of hooligans, as many people think.
R.Popkov - Judging from the facts, the FSB officers and president administration don’t think so, because our leader was kept in prison for two years. And as a matter of fact these about 60 persons, gone through prisons, witness the fact that we are considered to be dangerous. We are considered to be dangerous, because we are treating politics as art. We are considered to be dangerous, because the youth follows us, while other opposition parties are falling to pieces, dividing, while they are slipping into marasmus, inner rows and discussions, we are maintaining our unity.
V.Varfolomeyev - Tell me in short, are you going to change the methods of your fight?
R.Popkov - I think time will determine the methods of fight. We have already changed them more than once. Maybe if the situation in the country changes, we’ll change the methods of struggle.
V.Varfolomeyev - Will you toughen it or…there will be more mayonnaise?
V.Linderman - That will depend on the political situation in the country. We are fighting for power, we are a political party. Imagine that we’ll be killed everywhere, it has already happened so, we were not killed, we were beaten, though killed too.
V.Varfolomeyev - Will you become terrorists as a result?
V.Linderman - I can’t tell you on air that I’m going to become a terrorist.
V.Varfolomeyev - It was a rhetorical question.
V.Linderman - Of course rhetorical.
V.Varfolomeyev - Thank you for participation in our program. The representatives of the leaders of the NBP, the CC member Vladimir Linderman and the leader of the Moscow department Roman Popkov have been our guests, thank you for giving a talk on our radio.