Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke is promoting his movement against Jews and non-Europeans in Russia, according to various news agencies.
During several trips to Russia over the past year and a half, Duke targeted radical nationalist and religious groups in Moscow, which he calls “the whitest capital of all Europe.”
The hardcover Russian version of his book entitled “My Awakening” is now on sale for the equivalent of $1.70 in the Russian state parliament’s bookstore located in downtown Moscow. Translated into Russian under the title “The Jewish Question Through the Eyes of an American,” the book was published by Svobodnoye Slovo, or Free Word publishing, in Moscow.
“I came to love Russian people with all my heart,” said Duke during the presentation of his book at the Moskvitch convention center last December, according to NTV, Russian independent television. “I believe in the Russian people. I believe Russia will determine the fate of the entire white race.”
Members of various patriotic movements attended the presentation.
Most of these far-right nationalist groups rarely get mainstream media attention, but their publications are widely distributed at major commuter hubs like train terminals and subway stations. All nationalist papers reviewed Duke’s new book and announced his presentation schedules.
Leonid Simonovich, leader of the union of orthodox fraternities who attended Duke’s presentation, said he was interested in developing ties with the American racist movement and establishing a communication channel via the Internet, according to NTV.
Last year, Duke founded the National Organization For European American Rights, or NOFEAR. His Web site links to extremist sites like www.compuserb.com, which listed Madeline Albright, former secretary of state, and William Cohen, former secretary of defense, among the “ten most wanted Jews for genocide on Serbs.”
Duke, former state legislator from Louisiana, was in Russia Nov. 16 when federal agents searched his home outside New Orleans, according to The Associated Press. The search warrant was based on testimony from informants that Duke took money donated by supporters and gambled it away in casinos.
Through a spokesman, Duke denied wrongdoing. No charges have been brought.
In a country where racial prejudice resulted in many tragic conflicts after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Duke’s ideas cater to extremists.
“Russia has the economy plundered by the Jewish oligarchs and organized crime figures such as Berezovsky, Tobias, and Mogilevich,” said Duke on his Web site. “Three years ago, their currency was destroyed in a scheme hatched by Berezovsky and his partners in crime, Goldman-Sachs, Inc. in the United States.”
Although evidence of an existing anti-Semitic stance may often be found in the form of graffiti in rural areas of many Russian cities, such a stance is not used as a powerful argument in political debates.
“Anti-Semitic ideas are not really influential [when used by politicians],” said Andrei Richter, head of the Moscow-based Media Law and Policy Center.
He said Duke would not be able to unify the scattered radical patriotic groups in Russia under his notion of saving the white race.
A few patriotic groups united last year to protest elimination of the nationality section in the newly issued Russian state passports, according to Postfactum news service. No legal action followed.
Alex Smirnov is a research associate at the Baptist Center for Ethics. He is a graduate of Moscow State University and Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn.