If you want to be a serious activist in contemporary Russia’s neo-Nazi movement, you do not drink, you do not smoke, and you do not do drugs. You exercise to build physical strength, and, not least, you read in order to train the mind and develop your intellect.
The Straight Edge subculture, which grew out of the US hardcore punk scene in the early 1980s, has attracted a lot of adherents on the extreme right in Russia. The Straight Edge ideals of strength and discipline appeal intensely to them.
The message goes like this: You need to maintain a healthy lifestyle and grow strong as a first step towards the ultimate goal of creating a healthy society cleansed of racial and moral weaknesses and impurities. Alongside physical exercise, as the post below admonishes, you need to “develop spiritually” by reading books, poems, and articles: “A person who doesn’t know his history and that of his forefathers will not be able to lead a life that benefits society. You can’t build the future without knowing the past! […] We must be worthy descendants of our forefathers!”
If you’re looking for recommendations on what to read in particular, the bookish Russian Nazis have lots of that, too. Julius Evola’s writings are often highlighted, so are William Pierce’s Turner Diaries and Hunter, as well as Russian books on the history of Slavic paganism. You will also be told to read Zamyatin, Orwell, Huxley, Kafka, and other authors who depict the various ills associated with the modern world.
Militant activists have penned numerous articles and books themselves. There is a large undergrowth of neo-Nazi zines produced in the 90s and 00s, which often offered tactical advice on how to proceed when making bombs or plotting other violent attacks on perceived enemies. They would also present interviews with activists at home and abroad, quasi-philosophical pieces, and, not least, chronologies of the ongoing struggle, with details of attacks carried out. The concept of propaganda by the deed, a strategy to inspire revolutionary action by (violent) example normally associated with the left, has been put to bloody use among post-Soviet Russia’s right-wing militants.
The first big neo-Nazi novel came out in 2003, entitled Skiny: Rus probuzhdaetsia (Skinheads: Rus Awakens), and appears to have inspired a lot of subsequent activism. The now-deceased author, Roman Nifontov, was an active member of the neo-Nazi scene from the late 90s.
A few years later, in 2008, Nikolai Korolev (who’s currently serving a life sentence for the 2006 Cherkizovo market bombing and other acts of right-wing violence) published a 220-page volume called The Skinhead Bible. In 2013 he released a follow-up, creatively entitled The Skinhead Bible II.
Just as I was beginning to write this post, one of the latest offerings in the genre of neo-Nazi literature, Ionost na belykh shnurkakh (Youth With White Shoelaces*) by Kirill “Riddik” Blinov (who currently serves a 25-year sentence for racist killings), hit the news. On 29 January, police detained 19 right-wing activists in several cities across Russia, an operation reportedly launched in response to an online campaign to distribute Blinov’s book. Searching a Moscow tattoo shop, police discovered boxloads of copies, amidst a lot of other literature. Russian authorities seem to be taking seriously the neo-Nazi activists’ claim that books are their weapons.
* In Russian skinhead subculture, white shoelaces are considered a sign of special status, accorded to activists who have served the cause in an exceptional way, particularly by engaging in deadly violence.